As part of strategies to contain terrorism in Africa, the police will on June 10 deploy 140 personnel to Mali in support of the ECOWAS and Africa Union-led peace initiative.
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, stated this on Friday shortly before handing over the Nigerian and Police flags to the Commissioner of Police in charge of Peacekeeping, Mr. Kayode Aderanti, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The flags are symbols of authority, which empower the troops to represent the nation and force in Mali.
The personnel drawn from the Formed Police Unit consists of specialised sections trained in riot control and counter-terrorism and, are equipped with modern crime-fighting and peacekeeping equipment.
Abubakar tasked them to take their assignment seriously and be good ambassadors of the force as well as the nation.
The IG counselled the personnel to be dedicated, committed, honest and professional; to shun all forms of vices and respect human rights while keeping the peace in Mali.
Currently, the force has seven staff officers in Mali including Deputy Commissioner of Police Subair Kamar, who is in charge of the African Mission in Mali.
The IG reminded them that the force had created outstanding record of good performance in peacekeeping missions, making the African Union Commission in recent time to commend the force peacekeepers in Somalia.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, congratulated the officers for being selected to keep the peace in Mali and also charged them to be true ambassadors of the force and nation.
Represented by Maj.-Gen. Hussain Saliu, he warned them to behave professionally as they would be closely monitored.
Nigeria’s ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the AU, Mr. Bulus Lolo, noted that peacekeeping was one of the areas where the country had excelled in its foreign policy.
Lolo said it was a privilege and honour for anyone to be called upon to serve the country in any capacity and charged them to “be peacekeepers and not peace abusers,” and to “expect the unexpected.”
He said when they found themselves in a difficult situation, they should be guided by the best of judgment.
The deployment to Mali brings to 10 the number of countries where officers and men of the Nigeria Police are currently keeping the peace.
The other countries are Cote d’ Voire, DRC, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.