The Nigerian police officers are leaving Somalia following their role in role in securing peace in the country.
The officers who were commended by the African Union were awarded medals and certificates at a ceremony held in Mogadishu on Friday.
Speaking at the ceremony, AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) Police Commissioner, Brig. Gen. Anand Pillay, hailed the officers for their efforts in aiding Somalia hold a successful electoral process that culminated in the election of a new President and members of parliament.
“You came here at the time when you were needed most, especially to support the Somalis in the parliamentary and presidential elections, which you all have supported well,” Pillay noted.
He added that the officers were at the centre of activities and plans that ensured Somalia had a successful election and eventual inauguration of a new president.
He was, however, saddened that the contingent was bowing out at a time when their services were needed most, especially during the transition period and also after the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2372, which called for the scaling up of the size of AMISOM Police.
“The transition means that there will be a scaling down of AMISOM uniformed personnel and we will be required to start handing over the security responsibilities to the Somali National Security Forces,” Pillay noted.
The UN Security Council, under the resolution 2372, decided the downsizing of uniformed personnel, the first ever, will include a minimum of 1,040 AMISOM police personnel and five police units.
Pillay also thanked the Nigerian government for deploying the officers, saying the move has helped AMISOM execute its mandate.
“From the African Union, we also like to thank you for making yourselves available to serve in AMISOM and we thank Nigeria for making the commitment and the contribution to the mission in Somalia,” he noted.
Nigeria is one of the six police contributing countries (PCCs) to AMISOM. Others are Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia.