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Insecurity: Nigerian govt urged to engage private military contractors

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Stakeholders in the security sector have affirmed calls on the federal government to engage mercenaries in addressing the challenge of insecurity in Nigeria,

The experts joined the call at the Montreux Document (MD) and International Code of Conduct (ICoC) Roundtable organized by the AFRILAW foundation in Abuja.

The Montreux Document is an intergovernmental charter that promotes respect for human rights law when private military and security companies are involved in armed conflicts.

The Deputy Ambassador, Swiss Embassy, Lucas Schiffierie said Nigeria can improve its security situation if it domesticates the MD and ICoC documents.

Schiffierie, who was represented by Babatunde Ajala, Senior Political and Economic Officer, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, noted that MD is currently supported by 57 countries and 3 international organisations.

He said the charter could enhance the national process for strengthening Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) in Nigeria.

Bernt-Michael Gelpke, first secretary, German Embassy, urged Nigeria to be open to dialogue on the Montreux Document.

Gelpke stressed that it was logical to think about how to improve governance of private security, given the importance of the role it is playing in many countries.

“Improved governance will lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness of the security sector as a whole, this is something we should all strive for.

“Private security is playing an important part of the overall complex security situation and it’s important to work on improving governance of the very complex security situation Nigeria is being faced”, he said.

AFRILAW CEO, Chinwike Okereke, revealed that 1,500 private security outfits in the country have more than 500,000 personnel.

Okereke insisted that the precarious situation had overburdened security agencies and advised the government to incorporate private firms.

“Nigerians have an increasing number of violent crimes. We all know that public security actors have been overwhelmed and that has brought to the fore the importance of including private actors to provide security”, he said.

Chris Adigwu, National Secretary, Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSN), reiterated that repositioning the firms will help manage the alarming situation.

Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Abdullahi Muhammadu, represented by DCC Tijani Usman, advocated for more support for private security companies.

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