Reps back bill to set out regulatory framework for peacekeeping operations

Members of the House of Representatives, on Thursday, backed the Nigerian Peace Keeping (Support and Participation) Bill, 2018, which set out a regulatory framework for peacekeeping operations for the Nigerian troops.

Chambers of the Nigerian House of Representatives.

Moving the motion, Oke, who represents Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency, said the bill would strengthen )the Nigerian experience in future peacekeeping operations, define the boundaries and set out regulatory framework for the purpose.

Since its independence, Nigeria has been a front line state and a contributor to United Nations (UN) and non-UN peacekeeping initiatives.

It is worthy of note that in 1960, Nigeria deployed the first set of police officers in Africa. It is estimated that Nigeria has spent over 8 billion dollars in peacekeeping missions it has provided within ECOWAS.

The legendary feats of our gallant armed forces remains evident in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone where we poured human and material resources to bring peace to those troubled states at that time.

It is however surprising that in spite of the fact that we have been a major contributor to UN and non-UN peacekeeping missions, Nigeria does not have a regulatory framework that guides the deployment and withdrawal of Nigerian troops and security personnel from conflict zones, he said.

The lawmaker remarked that it was also disheartening that the Nigerian laws do not contain a single provision on the subject matter.

According to him, the practice in other jurisdictions is different because there is a clear legal framework in place that clearly outlines the steps that should be taken when such a decision is to be taken and clearly spells out the rules that guides its operations.

For example in Japan, they have an act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and other Operations 1992.

Also, the Republic of Korea passed the Law on Participation in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations 2009, he said.

Oke said the bill, if signed into law, would provide for statutory regulation of peace keeping operations by members of the Nigeria Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other security organisations.

If Nigeria has adequate manpower to deploy for peace keeping operations, Nigeria will not only earn foreign exchange it will also situate us in the committee of nations as one of the global on medium power nations. These are my concerns, he said.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Lasun Yusuf, and Rep. Nnenna Ukeje (PDP-Abia), who contributed on the floor, threw their weight behind the bill. When the question was put on a voice vote by Dogara, the lawmakers unanimously supported the motion.

The speaker then referred the bill to the House Committee on Defence for further legislative action.

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