A Goal Worthy of Nigeria

By: Fred Robarts

Ahmed Musa has Nigeria’s full attention, following the exciting win over Iceland. But the World Cup is not the only field on which Nigeria has a chance to shine in 2018. While the Super Eagles take on the likes of Argentina and Croatia, there are Nigerian government officials, community leaders, and civil society groups pursuing a different type of goal: the protection of civilians who are trapped in conflict.

Unlike the question of which teams to support in Russia, the need to minimize harm to civilians is easy to agree upon. As the world has seen, the impact when harm does occur can be devastating. While there are no red or yellow cards involved, international law is clear that those who live in areas where conflict erupts have established rights and require protection.

Just like football, effective civilian protection requires four key elements: teamwork; training; smart strategy; and action. Nigeria has what it takes to reach that goal – but now must follow through.

Nigeria has the teamwork. Protection of civilians (POC) requires involvement of the government, military, other armed actors, civil society, and civilians themselves. As evidenced by the workshop our organizations are co-hosting on 28 June, Nigeria’s POC team members are working together to address the needs of civilians caught in conflict.