The CLEEN Foundation has organised a two-day stakeholder dialogue in Abuja today on Civil Military Relation in Nigeria. The dialogue which had representatives of top security operatives, military and paramilitary in Nigeria such as Civil Defence Corp, Nigerian Army and other stakeholders in security sector in attendance is aimed at fostering Civil Military Relations in Nigeria through the working documents that would be collated after the dialogue for enhanced national security. While delivering his welcome address at the forum, Benson Olugbuo, Acting Excecutive Director, CLEEN foundation who realized that Civil-military conflict is a global phenomenon and it is not peculiar to Nigeria only said “this is a crucial moment for everyone in this country to get on board and be part of the efforts toward enhancing public safety and national security. Therefore, there is need to engage one another in a profitable and wholesome dialogue such as this. CLEEN Foundation has since its inception in 1998, taken promotion of public safety, security and accessible justice as its major priorities, he alluded.
Dr Oshita O. Oshita, Director General, Institute For Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) while presenting his paper at the forum identified effective communication and communicative understanding as two important steps towards ensuring good Civil-military relations in Nigeria. He further emphasized that there is also need for high level human right dialogue, in order to enhance smooth Civil-military relations in country, thus, identifying respect for human rights and public safety among others as the key indicators for good civil-military in anywhere in the world. Oshita while x-raying the historical development and general overview of Civil-Military relations in Nigeria posited that Nigeria military evolved from the vestiges of the colonial army which was an instrument for the exploitation of the people. He identified trust and confidence which has to do with enlightenment and engagement of the civil/open society, military community relationship with civilians, media projections of the military as well as accountability and transparency as major issues in Civil-military relations in Nigeria.
Mr David Ojelabi, a top Civil Defence Corps Officer, who spoke extensively at the dialogue laid more emphasis on building institutional capacity for civil-military relation citing conflict management unit formed by Civil Defence Corps as typical example. He said institutional capacity would help in curtailing frequent clashes between civil society and military or paramilitary. “However, there is need for every member of Civil/open society to understand their roles at ensuring peace and violent free society and make it their duty to constructively perform these roles” he alluded.