Armed Forces In Peace Support Operations Challenges And Prospects Of The Nigerian Army Personnel

Project and Seminar Material Under Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

Armed Forces In Peace Support Operations Challenges And Prospects Of The Nigerian Army Personnel


This study was carried out to examine the challenges and prospects of the Nigeria Army (NA) Personnel in Peace Support Operation (PSO). Nigeria being a member of United Nations (UN) has been involved in conflict resolution in the sub-region, region and global arena. Hence the NA has participated in many peacekeeping and PSOs since independence in 1960. Despite her contributions and acknowledgement by the international community, her participation has been fraught with problems especially in the areas of manpower, training and logistics. The study therefore, examined the causes of these inadequacies in order to recommend the best way to make PSOs more effective in the NA. The main objectives of the study is therefore, to identify what constitutes PSOs, examine the NA in PSOs, identify the challenges affecting the NA personnel in PSO, and also examine the prospects for the NA participation in future PSOs. The study relied on secondary sources of data. Secondary data were sourced from published and unpublished materials such as books and relevant papers presented at various fora. The study adopted both the descriptive and analytical methods of conducting research. The study adopted both qualitative and analytical methods of data analysis. It identified specific problems which included; inadequate manpower, training and logistics. Others are inadequate information management, language barrier and poor funding. The research found out that the conduct of PSOs has not been effective due to lack of inadequate logistics, training and doctrine. The study suggested way forward for NA personnel effective participation in future PSOs to include, education, training and computerization. It was recommended that Nigeria should continue to play the leading role of maintaining peace and security in West African sub-region, Africa and the world. Nigerian Government should provide adequate funds for the NA for procurement and maintenance of equipment and personnel. Lastly the DHQ should establish mission radio stations to enhance conduct of information warfare.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The challenges to establish and maintain law, order, peace and security have preoccupied humanity since political communities emerged on the surface of earth. (Stedman, 1991). These have been occasioned by the manifestation of conflict as part of the feature of human relations. (Stedman, 1991).

The need for peace and security has been addressed with the creation of the state as a political community. The state has carried out this task through government and its institutions to keep in check the prosperity of man to express whatever disagreement there is through violence. This is done for the most part, through the restraining power of the law and sometimes through the use of force (Stedman, 1991).

At the level of relations among state where the same need for peace and security which has challenged them internally is found, the approach has been different State have had to employ common mechanism to deal with the problem of conflict. A most enduring framework is that of collective security which is expressed through Peace Supports Operation (PSO), (United Nations, 50 years of United Nations: Notes for Speakers (New York United Nations, 1995).

Dramatic events of the 1990s and the subsequent collapse of the Warsaw Pact heralded profound changes in the international security arena. With the collapse of Soviet Union, many nations’ armed forces have had to shift their institutional emphasis from fighting to maintaining stability and to prevent fighting. With it also comes the need for leaders and soldiers to participate extensively in operation designed to deter wars, resolve conflicts, promote peace and support civil authorities in respond to crisis (Azazi, 2009). Nigeria as a member of United Nations (UN) has been one of the leading countries that participated in PSOs in the world at large and Africa continent in particular. This is in attainment of one of her foreign policy objectives (United Nations, 1995).

The Nigerian Army (NA) has participated in UN peacekeeping missions where it was the third largest troop contributor after Bangladesh and India. Due to its adherence to and contributions for UN peace mission, Nigeria was voted into the UN security council.

The election of Nigeria to African Union Peace and Security Council and her being made its first chairman in 2004, is a confirmation of her accomplishments and leadership roles. This is a confirmation of her achievement due to her involvement in all conflict resolution processes since the days of Organisations of African Union (OAU) (Akinrinade 2004).

Nigerian Army personnel have operated with distinction in Africa within the framework of ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), a fact that is well known and accepted not only in the sub-region but in Africa and the world at large (Vogt, 1993). The Ivorian experience contrasts with those of Liberia and Sierra-Leone where Nigerian troops led peace operations which were very effective in restoring security and stability to the 2 countries.

Despite the above brilliant contributions of the Nigerian Army to PSOs and its acknowledgement by the international community, its participation has been faced with a lot of problems especially in the area of manpower, training, and logistic. For its contributions to Peace Supports Operations to be more effective, these problems need to be addressed.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It is an established fact that Nigerian Armed forces has been in the fore front of preventing and resolving conflicts. This is done through Peace Supports Operation s globally, regionally and sub-regional since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

Experience from ECOMOG operations in Liberia and Sierra –Leone as well as the United Nation Assistance Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and reports of other operations like United Nations Operations in Congo (ONUC) and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), it is evident that the problems of manpower, training and logistics are the major bane confronting Nigerian Army personnel in Peace Supports Operations.

Based on the foregoing, this study shall seek to proffer answers to the following:

  1. What is the relationship between Peace Supports Operation and the Nigerian Army?
  2. What are the challenges encountered by the Nigerian Army personnel in Peace Supports Operation?
  3. What are the prospects of Nigerian Army personnel in Peace Supports Operation?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to assess the problems and prospects of the Nigerian Army personnel in Peace support operations by seeking to:

  1. Examine the relationship between Peace Supports Operation and the Nigerian Army.
  2. Ascertain the challenges of Nigerian Army personnel in Peace Supports Operation s.
  3. Examine the prospects of Nigerian Army personnel in Peace Supports Operations

1.4 Research Assumption

There has been a conventional notion that Nigeria’s participation in Peace Supports Operations has given her political and economic hegemony in West Africa sub-region and Africa at large.

Despite logistics and manpower problems faced by the Nigerian Army personnel in Peace Supports Operations, it has been able to restore, stabilize and maintain peace globally, regionally and sub-regional through her involvement in Peace Supports Operations.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will attempt to come up with a comprehensive analysis of Nigerian Army in Peace Supports Operations.

It would help to further contribute to the existing knowledge on Nigerian Army in Peace Supports Operations. Its findings would assist policy makers at the defence and services headquarters, security organisations such as Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and State Security Service (SSS) in building their intelligence database. It will assist the National Assembly in the formulation of national security policy.

The study will serve as a veritable material for students and researchers who may want to carry out further research on the challenges and prospects of Nigerian Army personnel in Peace Supports Operations.

1.6 Definition of Terms

Peace Making

The art of settling disputes or conflicts through mediation arbitration and reconciliation.
Peace Enforcement The use of force against one or more parties to a conflict in a war situation by a multinational force. It embraces conflict suppression.

Peace Building

A positive, continuous cooperative human endeavour to build bridges between conflicting nations and groups.
Peace Keeping The prevention, containment, moderation, and termination of hostilities, through the medium of peaceful third party intervention organized and directed internationally using multinational forces of soldiers and civilians to restore and maintain order.

Preventive Action

Actions taken to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflict and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur.


All organized groups, regular and irregular, national and tribal, that use violence for political and social ends.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The participation of the Nigerian Army in Peace support operations in Africa has helped to ensure peace among nations within the continent. This research work shall reflect other scholarly work on the prospects and challenges of Nigerian Army personnel in Peace support operations. It shall take into cognisance the role of Nigerian Army personnel in peace support operations from 1990 to date as it relates to the security of Africa. This work shall use primary and secondary sources of materials.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

This research work will be hindered by some limitations. The key ones will be the use of secondary data to analyse the concept of peace support operations. Although the data to be used will be derived from reputable individuals and organizations, the authenticity of their findings might not be insulated from bias.

The concept of Peace support operations is intangible. Hence, the empirical testing of the concepts may be relatively impossible. However, this shall not affect the quality of research carried out and the outcomes of the findings.

Chapter Five

Recommendations and Conclusions

5.1 Conclusion

Since gaining independence in the 1960’s, Nigeria’s interest and commitment to world peace has put her in the forefront of troop contributing countries in support of global, regional and sub-regional Peace Support Operations (PSOs). Nigeria has participated in PSOs under the authority and mandates of the UN, AU (former OAU) and ECOWAS. Its armed forces have deployed to peacekeeping operations as either a single service, principally the Nigerian Army, or jointly with the Nigerian Air Force and/or the Nigerian Navy. Obviously, it has been the Nigerian Army that has borne the brunt of Nigeria’s involvement inPSOs. The areas of deployment for Nigeria’s Armed Forces in PSOs have had a wide geographic scope, ranging from the Congo, to Liberia, to Sudan and most recently in Mali.

Nigeria’s long-time and continuing involvements in PSOs have allowed its Armed Forces to keep pace with the rapidly evolving nature of peacekeeping since 1989 as well as with the corresponding doctrinal and operational changes.

Nigeria’s active participation in PSOs has seen it accrue both benefits as well as losses. The socio-economic as well as the political benefits of Nigeria’s participation in PSOs weigh heavily each time Nigeria considers whether or not to participate in a PSO. Included in those considerations are both the potential positive as well as negative financial and social effects on the country and its citizenry. Some analysts are of the view that Nigeria has not taken full advantage of its active participation in the numerous peacekeeping operations around the world and feel that Nigeria is not getting commensurate economic, military and political remuneration for its participation. In the political arena, Nigeria has been using its very active participation in peacekeeping as one of the ways to translate her inspirational quest for African leadership into reality. Without doubt, Nigeria’s generous contributions to PSOs have contributed to boosting the country’s military and diplomatic status within the international system.

Financially, Nigeria’s participation in peacekeeping could be a potential source of revenue for the Nigerian government. This is so because as a troop contributing country to a UN-led PSO she is entitled to a variety of reimbursements. Therefore, from a national standpoint, there could be a potential for Nigeria to generate revenues from UN financial reimbursements for both Nigerian military and formed police units and their associated equipment that are all leased to UN PSOs. Such reimbursements could be profitable if the receipts of UN monetary amounts are above and beyond what it costs Nigeria to deploy those forces and their associated equipment. Any “profits” generated could be used to develop infrastructure, modernize the Armed Forces and also to enhance the quality of life of service personnel.

Again, on the “plus” side, Nigeria’s participation in PSOs provides an avenue for exposing its Armed Forces to modern “Military Operations Other than War” and to modern military equipment and hardware. Learning from such “exposure” could potentially be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria’s military operations in current internal security challenges.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned benefits (and other potential benefits) Nigeria’s participation in PSOs has not been without challenges at the operational level. These range from manpower, training, doctrine, and logistics, to administration, language barriers and funding. (Not all of these will be addressed in this summary.) In regards to the manpower challenges, the Nigerian Army should standardize its manpower generation process for units preparing to deploy to PSOs. This could be achieved if all postings and the “marrying-up” of units for deployment is accomplished at least six months prior to a scheduled deployment. This would also serve to lay the foundation for building unit cohesion and espirit de corps, qualities that are necessary for high performing units. There are lingering problems of doctrinal development and training of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for peacekeeping. It would be helpful if the Nigerian Armed Forces developed and published a suitable doctrine for Peace Support Operations. This would impact positively on all aspects of preparation for PSOs.

Finally, the Nigerian government and military should review and make the necessary adjustments to address all shortcomings that have already been identified in the administrative and logistical support to units deployed to PSOs.

5.2 Recommendations

It is therefore recommended that the United Nations and Nigerian government should

  1. Ensure that air safety must never be compromised during any of its missions involving the use of army assets, no matter the situation.
  2. Ensure the provision of mobile air and land traffic control and navigation AID equipment operations. Join hands with host countries to construct standard airfields for common use of both.
  3. Ensure that any army van to be chartered must have complete manufacturers’ modifications and the aircraft complies with the airworthiness requirements of the country of registration and is safe and airworthy and will be so maintained during the charter agreement.

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