Nigeria: February 8, 2001


American instructors training Nigerian troops for peacekeeping duties noted that the troops were not very well trained, equipped or disciplined to begin with. But the troops took well to the professional training they received, as well as the new equipment that was handed out. Nigerian peacekeeping troops took hundreds of casualties in the 1990s while on peacekeeping operations in West African nations. Often, the Nigerian peacekeepers were the only thing preventing situations from coming completely apart. But training and discipline varied greatly from unit to unit. In some cases, the Nigerian troops were little better than the bandits they were fighting. Some officers were more professional than others. Over decades of military dictatorship, many officers owed their rank more to political loyalty than professional skill. It remains to be seen if the new elected government of Nigeria can clean the political hacks out the officer ranks. 


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