Molly Kilete, Abuja
The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, has called on the military to focus more on inter-agency cooperation to enable it to perform its constitutional role of protecting and defending the nation within the ambit of the law.
He said it was only through inter-agency cooperation that the collective objective of protecting and defending the populace could be achieved.
Mohammed also urged the military to adhere strictly to the laws of armed conflict during military operations, saying the armed forces was established to serve and be accountable to the Nigerian people.
The acting CJN, gave the charge at the opening of the 2019 Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Law of Armed Conflict Retreat, in Abuja.
Mohammed, while noting that the military was very crucial to the success of any democracy, commended it for the sacrifices it has made to keep the country united and paid glowing tribute to those who have lost their lives in fighting to keep their nation one.
The CJN, who called on Nigerians to support the military in the ongoing fight against terrorism, said the military cannot function effectively without public support.
“I want to reiterate that considering the asymmetric nature of the type of war we are now engage in, the military cannot function effectively without public support
“If we juxtapose this with the increasing focus and criticism of military operations at both local and international level, the need to act within the laws during military operations therefore becomes undeniably imperative.”
The CJN, who commended NAF, for the retreat and the dignitaries invited for the occasion, said: “It drives home the point that it is only through cross-agency collaboration that our collective objective of protecting and defending the populace within the ambit of the law could be achieved.”
In his address on the occasion, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, said
the 4-day legal retreat was aimed at at providing NAF legal officers with the opportunity to meet and interact with their colleagues within and outside the service and equip field commanders with current and emerging legal trends as well as issues associated with human rights in the conduct of internal security operations.
“This year’s edition is particularly unique because we have invited not only our legal advisers, field commanders, academicians, the diplomatic community as well as the judiciary under the same roof but also the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria as the special guest of honour.
“As you may have well observed, the 21st century environment is fast changing and we are increasingly involved in quelling one form of threat or the other. More so, the demand for probity and accountability for our actions or inactions is on the rise.
“It is also meant to equip field commanders with current and emerging legal trends as well as issues associated with human rights in the conduct of internal security operations.
“Retreats on LOAC have become recurring activities in NAF calendar of events because of our realisation that the success of any institution depends largely on the understanding and application of the laws under which it is established.”