The Nigerian Army has been showered praises for showcasing a high level of human rights compliance in its various operations across the country this year.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) made the revelation in a special report appraising the performance of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in 2020.
In the report signed by the special rapporteur, Dr. Abubakar Gana, on Wednesday, the army also scored lofty points for its successful search and rescue operations, which was rated above previous years.
The report also rubbished the allegations of human rights abuses against the army, noting that the establishment of a human rights desk and credible leadership provided by the army’s hierarchy made the difference this year.
The report observed that the army’s various internal security operations were successful and appreciated by all Nigerians.
The troops also improved in professionalism, commitment and proactiveness in their line of duty with improved accountability and transparency, according to the report.
To consolidate on these gains in the incoming year, the CESJET, however, recommended that troops cultivate a more robust relationship with the media community towards ensuring that prominence is not given to the propaganda of terrorist and militant groups in the country.
The centre also urged the army to imbibe the habit of controlling the narrative in the public space to keep the populace abreast of its operations and the motives behind its involvement in internal security operations in the country.
Read the full report below
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency in fulfilment of its strategic mandate of ensuring social justice, equity and transparency in Nigeria, assessed the performance of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the year 2020.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency relied on the events that shaped the operations of the Armed Forces in the war against insurgency in North-East Nigeria and its role in Internal Security Operations across the country.
Extensive research was undertaken with the overarching objective of assessing the Nigerian Armed Forces’ operations in 2020. Emphasis was placed on primary sources of data, which includes but not limited to interviews, on the spot assessment visits to the theatre of operations in North-East Nigeria, the convocation of town hall meetings with stakeholders where the Nigerian Armed Forces are in operation, review of the operational manual in terms of clearance operations, rescue operations and other actions surrounding its constitutional mandate of preserving the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
The Centre for Social Justice in the cause of the appraisal of the Nigerian Armed Forces’ operational effectiveness in 2020 identified a couple of issues that were of importance in the assessment of the operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Human Rights Compliance:
Human rights compliance by the Nigerian Armed Forces has dominated the discourse in recent times. It has been alleged that the Nigerian Armed Forces have been engaged in gross human rights violations in its various operations around the country.
The year 2020 indeed presented a renewed commitment by the Nigerian Armed Forces to preserve human rights in the country. From available findings, the human rights record of the Nigerian Armed Forces was quite impressed with the various innovations introduced and implemented throughout the year. The Nigerian Army led the pack with the establishment of a human rights desk in all its units and formations to address issues of human rights violations by officers and soldiers.
This is indeed a masterstroke in the sense that it indeed kept officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in check in the discharge of their duties and significantly reduced incidences of human rights abuses and brutality that has become the focus of the recent protests across the country.
In the year 2020, cases of human rights violations by the Nigerian Armed Forces were at its lowest ebb compared to previous years that recorded high human rights violations cases. This was achieved through the provision of credible leadership provided by the hierarchy of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the conduct of officers and soldiers in the line of duty.
It was also observed that the Directorate of Civil-Military was very proactive in the year 2020. To a large extent, it contributed to a robust relationship between the Nigerian Military and the civil populace.
Rescue of Abducted Persons:
The year 2020 was indeed eventful from all available findings, and it recorded a high number of search and rescue operations by the Nigerian Armed Forces. The number of persons rescued from captivity in 2020 indeed exceeded previous years.
The number of women and children rescued from Boko Haram captivity signalled a commitment by the Nigerian Armed Forces in the discharge of its responsibilities.
It was also observed that the Nigerian Armed Forces foiled the series of kidnap cases through its involvement in Internal Security Operations. This is also on the heels that the various internal security operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces have been very successful and commended wide and far.
One such instance is Operation Sahel Sanity introduced to combat armed banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnappings. Operation Sahel Sanity was also extended to parts of North Central Nigeria. Its operations were also successful in addressing incidences of high way kidnappings.
In the year 2020, the Nigerian Army also launched Operation Crocodile Smile in South-East Nigeria and Cross River State to address ritual killings, kidnappings and other forms of criminalities in the region.
The Entrenchment of Professionalism:
The year 2020 also witnessed the introduction of professionalism in the operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces that saw an increased level of commitment and proactiveness in the conduct of officers and soldiers in the line of duty. This much was evident in the successes recorded in the prosecution of the war against insurgency in North-East Nigeria and the activities of militant groups across the country.
It was also observed that the welfare of officers and soldiers witnessed a massive improvement. This contributed to a large extent the renewed commitment towards addressing the myriads of security challenges in the country which was quite impressive and a giant leap from previous years.
Improvement in Accountability and Transparency:
It was observed that in 2020 there was an improvement in accountability and transparency in the operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces. This was primarily responsible for the feats achieved in the year and a departure from the norm where there was so much secrecy in defence spending.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency after extensive scrutiny of the operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces in 2020, concludes that the Nigerian Armed Forces’ performance was outstanding and commendable in all ramification.
We consequently wish to state that there was a significant improvement in the Nigerian Armed Forces’ operations using all available indices. The year 2020 can thus be regarded as a year that witnessed substantial improvements in all areas of its operations. This is true, commendable.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency gives the Nigerian Armed Forces an excellent grade in its conduct in 2020. We consequently commend the leadership of the various security agencies in the country for a job well done.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency resulting from the forgoing makes the following recommendations towards ensuring that the successes of the year 2020 are sustained and surpassed in the coming year.
The Nigerian Armed Forces must cultivate a more robust relationship with the media community towards ensuring that prominence is not given to the propaganda of terrorist and militant groups in the country.
The Nigerian Armed Forces must imbibe the habit of controlling the narrative in the public space to keep the populace abreast of its operations and the motives behind its involvement in internal security operations in the country.
The Nigerian Armed Forces must continue to rise in defence in democracy in Nigeria at all times.