Musa Isah Salmanu is a serving Squadron Leader in the Nigerian Air Force, with an MA in Conflict Security and Development from King’s College London and an MSc in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria-Nigeria. He is an African Peace and Security Fellow at the African Leadership Center and the Conflict, Security and Development Group, King’s College London. He is presently deployed as a military observer in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
My interest in nonviolent struggle was first sparked “…by the conviction that the ability to exercise our rights to freedom of expression and association is an important step towards achieving a viable and progressive society. I’ve been personally involved in nonviolent action, when as a high school student I worked with other students to organize and challenge a tuition increment by the government, a move we viewed as anti-poor. I’ve lived or worked in a conflict environment, and have learned that the traditional notion of seeing security personnel as pro-establishment and anti-popular movements is erroneous. There is thus the need for security forces to be carried on board and to be more informed about the logic, principles, and ideals behind nonviolent conflict. Presently in the Eastern part of the DR Congo, I have witnessed firsthand how the denial of basic rights and the curtailing of civil liberty can bring about violent resistance and anarchy. What I hope to take away from the Fletcher Summer Institute is a better understanding of the modes and reasons for actions involving nonviolent conflict as this will enable me to deal with situations in a more professional way. This I believe will engender the spirit of mutual understanding between the practitioners of nonviolence and the security agents sent to maintain law and order. Furthermore, I will be better equipped to explain these issues to my colleagues and thereby beginning a process of change in perception and action.”