DISCUSSING NIGERIA’S PARTICIPATION IN PEACE SUPPORT OPERATIONS

Nigeria has participated in numerous peacekeeping operations, mandated either by the United Nations or regional organisations since 1960. It is the need to sustain and further develop the capacity of the Nigerian Army and enhance the output of her peacekeepers that prompted the establishment of the Peacekeeping Wing (PKW) at the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps Centre and School on 13 September 2004. Considering the future and long term perceptions of the critical role the Nigerian Army would continue to play in contemporary peacekeeping and the need to have a Peace Support Operations Training Centre of international standard, the Peacekeeping Wing was upgraded and made an autonomous training institution of the Nigerian Army and renamed Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre (NAPKC) with effect from 9 January 2009. In doing this, due cognisance was given to the overriding need to ensure that peacekeepers are placed on the same pedestal of professional competence in accordance with UN requirements.

The Centre was to give Nigerian troops pre-induction training on Peace Support Operations (PSO).
This has proven not only worthwhile but has become a turning point in the nation’s outstanding
performance in PSO. NAPKC has trained over 53000 peace keepers to date and has expanded its scope of
training to include individual courses accredited by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The Centre also collaborates with Africa
Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) and Pacific Architecture Engineers (PAE)
to enhance pre-deployment training (PDT) of units to be inducted to mission areas. Our other partners includes the German Technical Assistance Team (GTAT), Peace Operation Training Institute (POTI) and The British Training and Monitoring Team (BTMAT). The goals of the Centre are in tandem with the Nigerian Army vision for peacekeeping which is “to inject quality Nigerian Army Peacekeepers into regional and United Nations Peace Support Missions”.
Consistent with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff which is “To transform the Nigerian Army into a
force that is better able to meet contemporary challenges”, the NAPKC is transforming its scope of training to inject ingenuity in its course programme to include special peculiarity training
required by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and member states of the African Union (AU).