Civilians in non-international armed conflicts: The contemporary Nigerian experience
Humanitarian intervention was first experienced in Nigeria during the civil war1. Since the end of military rule in 1999, Nigeria has enjoyed uninterrupted civilian rule. Nigeria has also faced many challenges consisting of internal upheavals, multiple civil unrests, militancy, and insurgency. Some have degenerated into situations requiring military intervention and situations that may be termed non-international armed conflict. In the course of applying military force to quell or control some of the situations, civilians have suffered loss of property, life and limb and it would seem that the civilian population is not guaranteed of protection in such unfortunate instances. Military interventions leading to civilian casualties infringe on the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), This work re-emphasises the protection available to civilian populations in the context of non-international armed conflicts viewed through the lens of recent Nigerian experience, and makes a case for stringent adherence to IHL obligations by the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in any situation requiring its intervention within the borders of the Nigeria state.
Keywords: Civilians, Non-International, Armed Conflict, Nigerian Experience