The Nigerian Army on Friday completed pre-deployment training for 197 troops for a peace-keeping mission in Gambia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the troops of the Nigerian Company 8 ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia (NIGCOY 8 ECOMIG), began the pre-deployment training on 3 April.
The training was held at the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in Jaji, Kaduna State.
Addressing the contingent, the Chief of Operations, Army, Taoreed Lagbaja, reaffirmed the commitment of Nigeria to deploy quality peacekeepers as part of its contributions to international peace and security.
He said that this was in tune with the policy direction of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Lagbaja, who was represented by the Commandant of MLAILPKC, Emmanuel Undiandeye, said the training was aimed at refreshing and polishing the knowledge and expertise of the troops in peace support operations.
“Secondly, the training was to enable you to have a firm grasp of all the rudiments involved in the protection of a civilian-mandated mission, ” he said.
He explained that the tactical skills imparted to the contingent will put them in good stead to accomplish assigned tasks in fulfilment of the ECOMIG mandate.
Mr Lagbaja, a major-general, said: “I was also informed of your commendable performance during the pre-deployment training.”
“This is a testimony to your enthusiasm to the training and the upcoming deployment to the mission area.
“I implore you to remain focused and committed throughout your tour of duty in the Gambia.”
He also urged the troops to deliver excellent services and exemplary leadership to promote the image of the Armed Forces and Nigeria at large.
“I must warn you to desist from any form of untoward incidents that could tarnish the image of the Armed Forces and Nigeria at large.
“As such you must at all times conduct yourselves professionally,” he added.
Mr Lagbaja reminded the troops that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the United Nations have zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.
“Therefore, appropriate sanction will be applied against defaulters for violating such policies and directives.
“Additionally, you must endeavour to adhere to the Rules of Engagement of the Mission and respect the host nation’s cultural and religious sensitivities.
“By the powers reposed on me, I hereby affirm and confirm that the troops of Nigeria Company 8 to the ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia have successfully completed the pre-deployment training at MLAILPKC and are certified suitable for deployment to the Gambia,” Mr Lagbaja said.
Earlier, the Deputy Commandant of MLAILPKC, Sunday Makolo, said the 4-weeks training was intense, comprehensive, and conducted in line with UN core pre-deployment training manuals and curriculums.
He said that the aim of the training was to equip the contingent with the requisite skills to function effectively in the Gambia.
“The pre-deployment training focused on both tactical, as well as contemporary cross-cutting issues like sexual exploitation and abuse, conflict-related sexual violence, conduct and discipline as well as protection of civilians amongst others.
“This graduation is a reflection of the quality of human resources and training facilities in the centre.
“To the men of the Nigerian Company 8 ECOMIG, you must not forget that you are ambassadors of our great nation.
“Therefore, you must strive to bring to bear all what you have learnt at the centre to protect yourselves in implementing the mission’s mandate, ” he said.
Mr Makolo, a brigadier-general, commended the officers, instructors, facilitators and other staff of the centre for their commitment to the training.
“I must also thank the commandant for his relentless support and guidance,” he added.