Foundation organises forum to strengthen civil-military relations

CLEEN foundation has organised a forum in the Southeast to strengthen civil-military relations through sustained dialogues and improved understanding between the military and civilians to improve accountability, security and respect for human rights in Nigeria. 

This will also provide opportunities for the civil populace to raise their security, human rights, and accountability concerns with the representatives from the military and para-military agencies in the zone.

The Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, Prof Benson Olugbuo, said the forum held recently in Abia state, will inspire a renewed vigour to improve current efforts at strengthening internal accountability of security institutions and increase citizens’ awareness of existing redress mechanisms.  

According to him, the forum is also meant to dialogue between state’s security actors and civilians are all part of the framework for better civil-military relations that enhance trust, accountability, respect for human rights and the sustenance of our democracy. 

According to him, it is worthy of note that Military’s presence in more than 30 states of the federation is active through various internal security operations in response to the growing internal insecurities that we are faced with as a nation. 

The Accountability Forum on Civil Military Relations is part of the project activities for the ‘Fostering Civil Military Relations’ Project and funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). 

“FromOperation Lafiya Dole in the Northeast to Operation Sharan Daji, in the Northwest, Operation Awatse in the Southwest, Crocodile Smile in the South-South, to the famous Operation Python Dance in the South East 1, 2 and 3 (birthed to check robberies, kidnapping, cultism and secessionist agitation)Abubakar, 2017), it should be noted that the military is almost a permanent feature of our daily lives as civilians.

“These operations have come their own challenges in relations to human rights concerns hence the need for accountability forums for assessing military’s response to these complaints. 

“Accountability remains at the core of our democracy. As a result, enhancing the framework for effective oversight of the security agencies through improving the feedback process to citizens will improve the professionalism of security actors.

“The increased focus by Nigerians and the international community to spotlight the accountability mechanisms by security agencies for addressing citizens’ complaints are part of measures to instil public confidence and improve the doctrine of civilian control over the Armed Forces especially. 

“Existing internal accountability systems for taking complaints of civilians by the Army include the Human Rights Desk set up in 2016 within the Directorate of Civil Military Affairs inthe Army and the Call Centre to receive complaints against Army personnel. 

“The Air Force and the Navy also have within themselves systems for receiving complaints from the public on the conduct of their officers. Within the Nigerian Police is the Public Complaints Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) set up in 2015 to receive complaints from the public and other existing platforms. 

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