Nigerians continue to perceive security forces operation as characterized by human rights violations. The 2010 Open Society Justice Initiative and the Network of Police Reform report described Nigerian police stations as “torture chambers”, while Amnesty International reports indicted Nigerian military of human rights violation.
The human rights violations manifest strongly in the state counter-insurgency strategy, for instance, in the Northeast region of Nigeria that is affected by the Boko Haram insurgents, victims continue to recount their experiences in the hands of the security agents.
As the insecurity escalates, the military is faced with the challenge of securing the state, also the dynamics of the conflicts have exposed them to the new task of providing internal security they were not originated trained to do. As they struggle to provide internal security, they are confronted with citizens interface, with the citizens accusing them of gross human right violation, with the military struggling to tell her own side of story.
The need to create a platform that will engender Civil Military Relations made The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) provide support for CLEEN to implement ‘Civil Military Relations Project’. CLEEN Foundation on the 19th day of June 2018 at Jabi Motor Park in Abuja, organized a Public Awareness Campaign on Civil Military Relations with the aim to increase public awareness on the need for positive civil military relations, and this is to change the narrative that makes civilian perceive the military as their enemy.
At the awareness campaign, CLEEN brought together, Nigerian Armed Forces, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Commission, National Human Rights Commission, Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolutions, National Orientation Agency, Nigerian Bar Association, Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, National Union of Road Transport Workers, the media and general public
At the event, Mrs. Ruth Olofin, Program Manager, CLEEN Foundation, emphasized the need for a good Civil-Military Relations, and urged the civilians to see the military as one of them, there is also the need for civilians to respect the military and also know that the military has human rights she added.
CLEEN together with many who turned out for the campaign, undertook a road-walk from Jabi motor park to Berger Roundabout in Abuja distributing handbills, stickers, wrist bands, T-shirts inscribed with two key messages “RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: FUNDAMENTAL TO CIVIL MILITARY COOPERATION’’ & POSITIVE CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS: KEY TO NATION BUILDING.
Ruth Olofin and Doyinsola Adeyemo, CLEEN Foundation