The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has Thursday in Abuja appointed the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on the Army, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas as the Chairman Technical Working Group on Protection of Civilian and Civilian Harm Mitigation in Nigeria.

The appointment took place at the official launch of the Technical Working Group by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA).

Nigeria has been fighting a decade-long insurgency that has placed civilians in the middle with millions rendered homeless and hundreds of thousands losing their lives. This has raised concern on civilian protection in this midst of the crisis and other security challenges in the country.

The inauguration of the Technical Working Group has brought together stakeholders to underpin the protection of civilians and civilian harm mitigation in arms conflict as a critical element of the committee’s work.

The Technical Working Group is therefore expected to coordinate, collaborate and communicate more and design strategies that influence the frameworks, orientation, and operational guidelines of security agencies.

Delivering his address at the inauguration, Namdas urged the members of the TWG to demonstrate partnership and geniuses in their efforts.

” To address the evolution of the conflict in Nigeria and ongoing civilian protection challenges, the TWG is geared to advance strategies and practices that minimize civilian harm. Considering your strategic importance in the sector, your institution is carefully selected as a member of the TWG.

” There had been efforts to engage Nigerian government to develop protection of civilian policy/legislation that would put civilians at the heart of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations as well as other military operations across the country. This platform is indeed novel and largely innovative to actualize this mandate using all administrative channels.” Namdas said.

He stressed that the most effective way to restore security and deliberately combat violent extremism is to put the protection of civilians at the heart of Nigeria’s military operations.

” The primary objective of this working group is to bring together stakeholders from government, CSOs, and security forces (to include Police, Civil Defence, FRSC, Customs, and Immigration) to discuss protection concerns and improve civilian protection. Elevating protection of civilians as an objective in Nigeria’s approach to addressing these challenges will require changes in Nigeria’s use of its security forces, particularly training, doctrine, exercises, and operations of the security forces and its strategic influence with the citizens.” He added.

The Technical Working Group is expected to provide an opportunity for the state and non-state actors to dialogue and deliberate on strategies and best practices as well as take into account precautions in the conduct of hostilities.

According to Namdas, “No effective protection strategy can be conceived without a sound understanding of the violations/abuses that were committed: this includes, inter alia, their rationale, their direct and indirect effects, and the social and legal framework in which they took place.”

While appreciating CISLAC and OSIWA for providing the resources needed to host the inauguration, the chairman waste no time in asking for funds to be dedicated to activities of the TWG.

” Our earnest request should be that some funds should be dedicated to activities not earlier scheduled as there might be specific resolutions to work on aspects that will help galvanize the objective of this working group.” He said.