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Army rescinds persona non grata declaration on three UNICEF staff

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Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas

’ECOWAS free movement protocol not responsible for insecurity’
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Rogers Nicholas has rescinded the persona non grata declaration on three UNICEF staff at the weekend.

The affected persons: Priscillia Hoveyda, Maher Farea and Milen Kidane were declared persona non grata, following various allegations against the Army of raping 20 girls in Borno camps.

Nicholas rescinded the declaration at the weekend, while commissioning four-cell detention complex at Giwa barrack, Maiduguri.

He said after due consultations with the executives of UNICEF, the persona non grata has been withdrawn forthwith.

“The affected staffs are at liberty now to go about their duties in the Northeast,” said Nicholas.

According to him, any allegations against troops must follow proper professional procedures.

While commissioning the detention centre yesterday, he said: “The building and equipping of this detention centre by our engineers; are in accordance with best international standards of treating and accommodating detained Boko Haram suspects.’’

Meanwhile, Africa’s representative in the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU), and member House of Representatives, Mr. Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe has faulted the notion held in certain quarters that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services was responsible for the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in country.

Speaking with The Guardian in Abuja, he argued that there was nothing wrong with the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons from among member states if security personnel were on top of their game.

Igbokwe who is a member of the Switzerland based IPU standing committee on peace and international security called on the authorities to strengthen security along the country’s borders with neighbouring Niger, Chad, Benin, and Cameroun.

The lawmaker representing Ahiazi/Mbaise/Ezinihitte federal constituency of Imo State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) spoke against the backdrop of claims by President Muhammadu Buhari that remnants of those who fought on the side of the late Libyan Leader, Muamar Gaddafi were responsible for the spate of killings and maiming of the citizenry.

Igbokwe who lamented the unfortunate development urged the authorities to emulate the American government by fencing the country’s borders with the whopping sum of $1 billion set aside to procure military hardware and fighter jets to wage war against the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency group.

“There is nothing wrong about the protocol on free movement. It doesn’t call for abdication of your security responsibility or reneging on it. The protocol of free movement is only about that you don’t need a visa to get into the other country but it does not preclude you from presenting yourself to the immigration officer or security personnel at the point of entry.


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