By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
In an effort to further develop officers’ abilities to making effective and legally compliant decisions in dynamic combat environments, the U.S. and Nigerian military officers spent three days working on ways to improve civilian protection during military operations in Nigeria.
The U.S. Embassy and the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) engaged 19 officers from all three Nigerian military branches from June 7 through 9 through the conduct of an institutional capacity building (ICB), with a focus on ensuring applicable law and policy and protection of civilians are integrated into planning and execution of operations.
This event, called the “Joint Operational Leadership Workshop,” was in furtherance of the Nigerian Defence Headquarters’ efforts at improving civil-military coordination during military operations.
The effort includes increasing the role of legal advisors in operational decision-making and ensuring emphasis on human rights and the protection of civilians during military operations in Nigeria.
Throughout the ICB engagement, DIILS advisors shared U.S. lessons learned and worked with Nigerian legal advisors and commanders to develop draft pre-deployment mission briefings.
The briefings focused on rules of engagement with detailed mission objectives, applicable laws, and proposed civilian harm mitigation and response plans.
This is the fourth DIILS engagement with leaders and legal advisors from the Armed Forces of Nigeria since September 2021 and is part of DIILS’ ongoing institutional capacity building program in Nigeria and looks forward to more programs in the future through such engagements.