Lawmaker Advocates For Registration, Licensing Of Private Military Companies

Sen. Ned Nwoko (Delta-PDP) has advocated for the registration and licensing of Private Military Companies (PMCs) in Nigeria.

Nwoko made this proposal during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.

PMCs are enterprises that provide specialised services related to warfare and conflict, including combat operations, strategic planning, intelligence gathering, operational and logistical support, training, procurement, and maintenance.

One benefit of PMCs is their role as a valuable force multiplier for military organisations, providing expertise and manpower that may not be readily available within the military. They can assist with logistics, training, intelligence, and armed security, all critical for sophisticated military operations.

Nwoko, who serves on the Senate Committee on Defence, stated that if established, registered, and licensed, PMCs could significantly enhance the security of citizens’ lives and property without overburdening conventional security forces. They would support the military in defending the nation’s territory.

He revealed that a bill he sponsored on this matter is currently before the National Assembly. The bill proposes the creation, composition, and function of the Nigerian Private Military Companies Registration Council.

The council, according to Nwoko, would be a legally recognized entity with the authority to purchase, acquire, hold, and dispose of property. It is expected to include the National Security Adviser as Chairman, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence (serving as Secretary of the Council), and six individuals from the six geopolitical zones of the country, each with at least 15 years of relevant experience in security, military matters, and international humanitarian law or practice.

The President would appoint council members, subject to Senate confirmation. The council’s duties would include issuing operational licenses to qualified PMCs, developing a database for PMCs in Nigeria, establishing criteria for granting licenses, and developing capacity building and financial operational criteria for licensing, among other responsibilities as directed by the President.

Nwoko further explained that the PMCs would offer military and/or security services, including armed guarding, weapons systems operations, prisoner detention, and training and advising local forces. These companies would support the military, enhancing its effectiveness. PMCs can be categorised into active companies, willing to bear arms, and passive ones focusing on training and organisational issues.

He emphasised that PMCs should not be mistaken for mercenaries.

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