Justice Ibrahim Tanko, Acting CJN

Troops must adhere to laws during operations, CJN tells military

NEWS DIGEST–The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammed, has said that the troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces must adhere to laws of armed conflict whenever they are carrying out military operations across the country.

The acting CJN said there was increasing criticism of military operations at both local and international levels, which brought the need for the military to always act within the laws during operations.

Justice Muhammed stated this on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address at the 2019 edition of the Law of Armed Conflict retreat for NAF legal officers.

The event took place at the Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Abuja.

The acting CJN said the armed forces were established to serve and be accountable to the Nigerian people, stressing that they must adhere to the rules of engagement in line with international best practices.

He said, “For me, nothing is more important than acting within the ambit of the laws in whichever roles you find yourself. As such, our troops must always adhere to the laws of armed conflict during military operations.

“The military is very critical to the success of any democracy. After all, of what use will our great wealth be, if not well defended? Let me state here that Nigeria appreciates the sacrifices of the military in keeping the country united. The sacrifices will never go in vain.

“More recently, your role in moving logistics and electoral personnel did not go unnoticed. Such support increases public trust which is key to the success of the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the country.”

“If we juxtapose this with the increasing focus and criticism of military operations at both local and international levels, the need to act within the laws during military operations therefore becomes undeniably imperative.”

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the retreat was to bring stakeholders, NAF legal officers and fighter pilots together to enhance their operations for better service delivery.