Saint Thomas Aquinas
The current global security consciousness, terrorist acts and threats have been worsened by unending national and regional conflicts. We are at a crossroad to ascertain the justifications of these conflicts and the role that countries play either to restore peace or to exacerbate the crises.
The main aim of this paper is to introduce the activities of Nigeria at peacekeeping, peace building and peace enforcement across and within her national borders. The research is intended to be assessed on the background of global norms. The result of the review is to examine the gaps and challenges in order to proffer subsequent recommendations for improvement.
This research has become necessary for two reasons. Firstly, the seemingly unending conflicts has led to continuing insecurity, fear, suspicion, wanton destruction of lives, properties and refugee outflow. Therefore, this research is set to pursue the basic goal of the United Nations which is ’ to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.’
Secondly, Nigeria as a subject matter, is in tandem with her enviable position and role in peacekeeping since 1960. Furthermore, apart from the fact that Nigeria is respected among the comity of nations; she is one of the largest African countries in terms of population and natural resources, commanding a huge economic value chain within and outside Africa.
One of the very active contributors to peace making and peacekeeping in Africa and the United Nations is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She began her first Peacekeeping effort in 1960 in the Congo- just the same year that she gained independence from colonial Britain. With an estimated population of 180 million people, it is country rich in multi-ethnicity, situated in West Africa. It is surrounded by Niger in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the south, Cameroon and Chad in the east and Benin in the west.
Nigerian peacekeeping operates under the regional body of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, (ECOMOG) the African Union (AU) and the larger all-encompassing body of the United Nations.
The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the first World War, and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles "to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security."
Peacekeeping is third party intervention in an area of conflict in order to return conflict to peace. This is achieved through the three basic principles of 1. Consent of the parties 2. Impartiality 3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate
Depending on the mandate received from the Security Council, the process of peacekeeping could also apply Robust peacekeeping which „involves the use of force at the tactical level with the authorization of the Security Council and consent of the host nation and/or the main parties to the conflict.
By contrast, peace enforcement does not require the consent of the main parties and may involve the use of military force at the strategic or international level, which is normally prohibited for Member States under Article 2 (4) of the Charter, unless authorized by the Security Council.
The UN charter is the foundation document of the body. Its laws which empower the UN Security Council to embark on peacekeeping rests on Chapter VI … “Pacific Settlement of Disputes”.
Chapter VII contains provisions related to “Action with Respect to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression’.
Chapter VIII of the Charter provides for the involvement of regional arrangements and agencies in the maintenance of international peace and security provided such activities are consistent with the purposes and principles outlined in Chapter I of the Charter.
As an evidence of her interest in peacekeeping, a special training center for Nigerian peacekeepers was established in 2004 at the Peacekeeping Wing (PKW) of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps Centre. In 2009 it was upgraded and made an autonomous training institution in 2009 with a new name: the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre (NAPKC). The center undertakes research and delivers training that contributes to peace support operations worldwide. NAPKC was established primarily to give Nigerian troops pre-deployment training on Peace Support Operations. To date, NAPKC has delivered over 230 courses and trained over 53,000 peacekeepers
In furtherance to this, the Peacekeeping office of the Nigeria Police was established in 2005 with a vision to „research, train and deploy for global peace support operation  and a mission „ to equip personnel with requisite skills and competencies required to meet complex peace support operations environment through the delivery of quality internationally recognized and professional training.”
Nigeria’s desire to embark in Peacekeeping is hinged on her belief and avowed concern on security issues within and outside the country because she believes that her internal security is connected with regional and global security. This fact is guided by the Constititution of the country as entrenched in Chapter 2 section 14. 2 (b) The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
The role played by Nigeria in resolving various conflicts in other Africa countries resonates across her national boundaries especially her role in the wars and conflicts of Congo 1960-1964, Namibia, Angola, Western Sahara, Cambodia, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra-Leonean war of 1991-2002, Liberian wars of 1989 – 1996; 1999-2003, Afghanistan, Cote D’Ivoire, Burundi, Haiti, Sudan, South Sudan and Guinea Bissau and the power tussle of Gambia in 2017. Nigeria has participated in over 40 UN peacekeeping operations.
Ironically, Nigeria has been faced with various internal ethnic and religious crises since 1960. Since the coup of 1966, there was the civil war of 1967, the Maitatsine crises of the 1980s, the intermittent Christian-Muslim clashes, the Mohammed coup of 1975, the Dimka coup of 1976 the Buhari coup of 1983, the Babangida coup of 1985 the crises that emanated from the annulment of the 1993 election, and the Abacha coup of 1994; other religious clashes in Aba 2000, Kano 2001 and Kaduna in 2002 among others. These were heightened by the militancy in the Niger Delta since the 1990s and the Boko haram menace in the north east of the country since 26 July 2009.
Most of the conflicts that have led to wars were mostly caused by the silence of the international community in respect of the supposed 1sovereignty’ of countries. Such procrastinations have led to the loss of lives especially against innocent people who were not the root cause of the conflicts.
A characteristic of some wars is that some global wars have been fought by proxy through financial, military and personnel supports. For example, an overall conclusion was reached that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.
What is war? War has simply been defined by the English Oxford Living dictionary as a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country. For the sake of this research, the expanded definition of war shall rest on the definitions proferred by the Human Security Report Project as quoted by Our World in Data which is as follows:
- A conflict is coded as a war when the battle-death toll reaches 1,000 or more in a given calendar year.
- An extrastate armed conflict is a conflict between a state and an armed group outside the state’s own territory. These are mostly colonial conflicts.
- An interstate armed conflict is a conflict fought between two or more states. An intrastate armed conflict (also known as a civil conflict) is a conflict between a government and a non-state group that takes place largely within the territory of the state in question.
- An intrastate armed conflict becomes an internationalized intrastate armed conflict when the government, or an armed group opposing it, receives support, in the form of troops, from one or more foreign states.
What is Just war? Can any form of war be truly justified? When the ruler of a country arbitrarily kill his people, throw them into jail, annexes the territories of neighbouring countries, acts in ways inimical to public peace, human rights and the rule of law, there comes a time for international interventions. Such interventions begins with diplomacy. If such fails, force becomes a permissable means of exercising strength. Just wars could be relative. What some people consider just wars may be interpreted as bad wars. Such persons believe that no form of war could be justified. When the Rwanda massacre went on for a long time in 1994, the international community stood aloof. An estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in one of the world’s most horrible genocides. By the time the world turned attention on Rwanda, it was already too late. Was the silence of the international community justified? Imagine how many lives could have been saved if the intervention came earlier! If the intervention had come earlier, it could have been an appropriate example of a Just war if it ended up up saving lives. Everyone has a right to life.
Former Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson led the team that assessed the Rwandan genocide. His team included Han Sung-Joo the former South Korean Foreign Minister and Maj. Gen. Rufus Modupe Kupolati of Nigeria. Carlsson later summed up their findings by saying that "Our conclusion is there is one overriding failure which explains why the UN could not stop or prevent the genocide, and that is a lack of resources and a lack of will - a lack of will to take on the commitment necessary to prevent the genocide," When such delays occur, some persons that run the affairs of the United Nations should be held accountable. Even if a country is not a member of the UN, any infringement against the lives of others must not be ignored. Rwanda became a member of the United Nations on 18 September 1962. Article 3 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations clearly states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.The UN report that assessed the genocide in Rwanda clearly faulted the United Nations in several key areas leading up to that date, including its failure to act on a now-famous cable sent by the force commander, Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire on Jan. 11, 1994 warning of the risk of genocide. The cable was received by Annan and wasn't shared with the Security Council and didn't receive the follow-up such an important piece of evidence deserved, the report said. In addition, the United Nations and Security Council virtually ignored a groundbreaking assessment by the UN human rights investigator for Rwanda who raised the possibility in August 1993 that a genocide might occur.
It was after the genocide that Kofi Annan the then Secretary General of the United Nations expressed „deep remorse” for the delay of the United Nations in acting timeously in the Rwandan crises.
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