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 (www.challengeforum.vet).
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).
NA 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 NA 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 PSOs 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 PSOs 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 NA personnel in PSOs.
Based on the foregoing, this study shall seek to proffer answers to the following:
a. What is the relationship between PSO and the NA?
b. What are the challenges encountered by the NA personnel in PSOs?
c. What are the prospects of NA personnel in PSOs?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to assess the problems and prospects of the NA personnel in PSOs by seeking to:
a. Examine the relationship between PSO and the NA.
b. Ascertain the challenges of NA personnel in PSOs.
c. Examine the prospects of NA personnel in PSOs.
1.4 RESEARCH ASSUMPTION
There has been a conventional notion that Nigeria’s participation in PSOs has given her political and economic hegemony in West Africa sub-region and Africa at large.
Despite logistics and manpower problems faced by the NA personnel in PSOs, it has been able to restore, stabilize and maintain peace globally, regionally and sub-regional through her involvement in PSOs.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will attempt to come up with a comprehensive analysis of NA in PSOs. It would help to further contribute to the existing knowledge on NA in PSOs. 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 NA personnel in PSOs.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The participation of the NA in PSOs 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 NA personnel in PSOs. It shall take into cognisance the role of NA personnel in PSOs from 1990 to date as it relates to the security of Africa. This work shall use primary and secondary sources of materials.
1.7 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 PSO. Although the data to be used will be derived from reputable individuals and organisations, the authenticity of their findings might not be insulated from bias.
The concept of PSO 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.