By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that all stakeholders must join hands to “force insurgents out of steam” in Nigeria.
To do that, the Speaker said, there was the need for the use of superiority might and diplomacy so that the insurgents can be defeated squarely.
Gbajabiamila spoke at an interactive workshop on International Humanitarian Laws (IHL) organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Abuja on Thursday.
“We have gathered here today as Honourable Members and staff of the House of Representatives to acquaint ourselves with the laws of conflict.
“We do this so that as we make policy and pass legislation, as we oversee the conduct of our nation’s security services, we can make certain that the men and women who carry arms in our name do so with honour, with integrity and with the utmost respect for the sanctity of human life.
“Our nation is at war against those who wish to remake our world in service of a discredited theocracy. This war will not end on the battlefield. Insurgencies rarely do.
“It will end when through the combination of superior military might, diplomacy and steady improvements in quality of life for the people on the ground, we force the enemy to run out of steam. It will fall to some of us in this room to manage the ending of that war,” he said.
The Speaker expressed optimism that at the end of the workshop, participants would be “wiser and more capable of meeting the responsibilities of the offices” they hold.
In his remark, the head of ICRC Delegation in Nigeria, Mr Eloi Fillion, said the workshop was to bring decision-makers to jointly reflect on some of the great achievements of humanity as well as discuss some of the biggest challenges of today.
He said the Geneva Conventions of 1949 were designed for the “dirty frontlines of war” and that they embody a pragmatic balance between military necessity and human considerations.
He noted, however, that the rules have not stopped people from being tortured, killed, raped or left to die without medical treatment, saying there are “blatant violations of IHL” and “terrible failures to protect people every day” as a result of armed conflicts across the world.
“In this time of insecurity, we need to put forward that, even over seventy years after their adoption, these simple truths have not lost their relevance. We must vehemently argue that, when violations occur, they do not render the law meaningless. On the contrary, they demonstrate precisely how important it is to continuously defend the law, make the rules better known, better understood, and better respected. Violations are unacceptable, and they can be avoided,” he said..