CLEEN Foundation organized a Civil-Military Relations Accountability Forum in Aba, Abia State in the South Eastern zone of Nigeria.
The forum was organized to enhance civil-military relations by bringing together community members and military to a roundtable to discuss strategies to help strengthen security and improve respect for human rights by military and other security personnel in the host communities.
The forum also provided a platform for citizens’ to contribute to the state efforts at strengthening internal accountability of security institutions and increase citizens’ awareness of available mechanisms for addressing security concerns and human rights abuses by security personnel.
The security challenges facing Nigeria as a country has necessitated the involvement of the military in the provision of internal security together with other law enforcement agencies. To buttress this, is the fact that presently about 30 states in Nigeria have military operational presence. Examples of these include Operation Lafiya Dole-Northeast, Operation Sharan Daji-Northwest, Operation Awatse-Southwest, Crocodile Smile-South-South, and Operation Python Dance- South East.
The involvement of the military in internal security has exposed them to regular interface with citizens who have limited understanding of military operations. Additionally, the execution of these operations have also heightened citizens’ concerns in relation to compliance with human rights standards by military personnel hence the need for accountability forums to assess their compliance level becomes most important. Recognizing that rule of law and respect for human rights are cardinal principles of democracy, and the increased focus of ordinary Nigerians, local human rights activists, and the international community on the human rights accountability efforts in Nigeria’s counter-insurgency strategy and other security issues makes the organization of periodic Civil-Military Relations Accountability Forums very strategic and timely.
The Accountability Forum forms part of the project activities under the ‘Fostering Civil-Military Relations’ Project that is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).