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Senator Nwoko makes case for registration and licensing of private military companies

Senator Nwoko makes case for registration and licensing of private military companies

Prominent Nigerian lawmaker, Senator Ned Nwoko, PDP, representing Delta North senatorial district, has called for the registration and licensing of Private Military Companies (PMCs) in the country.

Nwoko made the call while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Friday.

PMCs are businesses that offer specialized services related to war and conflict, including combat operations, strategic planning, intelligence collection, operational and logistical support, training, procurement, and maintenance.

One of the advantages of the PMCs is that they provide a valuable force multiplier for military organisations, offering expertise and manpower that may not be available within the military ranks.

They can support logistics, training, intelligence, and armed security, which are crucial for advanced military operations.

Nwoko, a member of the Senate Committee on Defense, explained that the PMCs, if established, registered, and licensed, would provide adequate security for the protection of the lives and property of citizens in the country by not overstretching the efforts of conventional security operatives.

He said that this was because they would complement the activities of the military in the defense of the nation’s territory.

He said that already a Bill sponsored by him on the subject matter was before the National Assembly.

The Bill seeks for among others, the establishment, composition and function of the Nigerian Private Military Companies Registration Council.

According to him, the council shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, and will also have power to sue and be sued in its corporate name.

“The council will also be capable of purchasing, acquiring, holding and disposing of movable and immovable property.

“The council shall consist of a National Security Adviser, who will be the Chairman, Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector-General of the Police, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

He said the council also envisaged “the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Defence (Who shall serve as Secretary of the Council), and six persons one each from the six geopolitical zone in the country, who shall all have at least 15 years cognate experience and knowledge in security, military matters and international humanitarian law or practice”.

He added that the president would be saddled with the responsibility of appointing and constituting members of the council.

“The appointment and constitution of members of the council will, however, be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

“The functions of the council will, among others and subject to the approval of the president, include granting operational licence to qualified companies to operate as Private Military Companies.

The council will also “develop a data base for Private Military Companies in Nigeria, develop criteria for the grant of licence (s) to them, renew and revoke licence (s) of the companies, review from time to time the qualifications and criteria for granting the licence”.

“The council is also to develop criteria for the grant and use of weapons by the companies, develop capacity building criteria for personnel, develop a financial operational capacity for the grant of licence to them and carry out any other function as may be directed by the president.

The lawmaker said that the companies would be expected to provide military and/or security services that include armed guarding and protection of persons and objects.

He said they would also help with the maintenance and operations of weapons systems, prisoner detention as well as advice to training of local forces and security personnel.

“They will conventionally undertake to provide services to back up the military to enhance effectiveness.

“They can be divided into two categories: active Private Military Companies willing to carry arms and passive Private Military Companies that focus on training and organisational issues.

“The Private Military Companies are not to be construed as mercenaries,” he said.