Conflict resolution: ‘Military must abide by rules of engagement’

Ameh Ejekwonyilo

To check the challenges confronting the Nigerian Armed Forces in the discharge of their duties, the Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies (NIALS) yesterday presented to the public the Rules of Engagement Handbook for the Nigerian military.
Speaking at the public presentation of the 58-page book, the Director
General of the institute, Prof. Epiphany Azinge, said the book “takes into consideration the peculiarities of the environment and challenges confronting the nation’s Armed Forces in the discharge of their constitutional and statutory responsibilities.”

He said: “As a fall-out of policy dialogue and NIALS belief in legal pragmatism, the Institute has taken the audacious initiative to create a Rules of Engagement Handbook for the Nigerian military. This is to cure the apparent lacuna in the country’s scope of military functions that has been void of a standard document to regulate its operations on land, sea and air, even cyberspace and beyond.”
According to him, the handbook will provide standard rules of engagement for the military, and that it does not supersede the directives by competent military authority for its military operations.

Also speaking, one of the book reviewers and a research fellow at the
institute, Dr. Ibe Ifekandu, said the issue of military rules, engagement was beyond document to the point of changing the mindset of the military in carrying out its operations.
According to her, the military sometimes sees itself as a police force
in the discharge of its duty.
“The rule of law for them is tantamount to the rules of engagement which prohibits a lot of military excessive actions during war situation,” she said.

In his review, another research fellow at the institute, Dr. Wiseman
Ogbochioma, while examining how the rules complied with international
laws, said “Rules 61 and 62 deal with prohibiting the military from
the use of biochemical weapons.”

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