he Nigeria Army, on Wednesday, completed pre-deployment training for 172 troops for peace-keeping mission in Guinea Bissau.
The troops began their pre-deployment training on March 21 at the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC), Jaji, Kaduna state.
Addressing the troops, the Chief of Operations, Army, Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, said the troops would be Nigeria’s company 2 Stabilisation Mission in the ECOWAS-support mission in Guinea Bissau.
Lagbaja, represented by Maj.-Gen. Bayode Adetoro, the Director, Peace Support Operations, said the graduation further confirmed the commitment of Nigeria to deploy quality peacekeepers as part of its contributions to the quest for global peace and security.
He explained that the pre-deployment training was aimed at refreshing and polishing troops’ knowledge and expertise in peace-support operation.
“The training was to equip you with the requisite skills required to protect yourselves, ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau equipment and the citizens of Guinea Bissau, your host nation, while carrying out the mission’s mandate,” he said.
He cautioned the troops to avoid any ugly incident that could tarnish the image of the Army and Nigeria during their stay in Guinea Bissau.
“Let me categorically state that you are to discharge your duties in consonance with the mission’s mandate at all times.
“I must also remind you that the rules of engagement in the mission give you the latitude to exhibit utmost professionalism in the discharge of your responsibilities.
“Additionally, you must respect the culture and religious sensitivity of the people of the host nation and must not involve yourselves in trafficking of illicit substance of any kind,” Lagbaja warned.
He stressed that the ECOWAS mission has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.
Earlier, the Commandant of the MLAILPKC, Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Undiandeye, said the training was intense, comprehensive, and was conducted using the Standard United Nations Core Pre-Deployment Training Materials.
He added that the troops were taken through crosscutting issues like sexual exploitation and abuse, conflict related sexual violence, conduct and discipline as well as protection of civilians amongst others.
Undiandeye noted that Nigeria and its Armed Forces had remained committed to global peace and security.
“Nigeria has since the 1960s contributed troops to different peace support operations ranging from the Congo, Yugoslavia and Lebanon, amongst others.
“As the powerhouse of the West Africa sub-region, Nigeria has committed both human and material resources to the attainment of peace in the sub-region,” he noted.
The Commandant charged the troops on discharging their duties in line with the mission’s mandate, while urging them to adhere strictly to the mission’s rules of engagement.
He also urged them to carry out their duties bearing in mind the multinational, as well as cultural and religious diversities of the operating environment which underscore the need for courtesy and respect for their hosts as well as others.
He thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, for his guidance and support to the Centre which enabled the successful completion of the pre-deployment training. (NAN)