WRAPA attends Workshop aimed at Enhancing Civil-Military Relations between the Nigerian Army and the Civil Society.
The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), was in attendance at a workshop titled: Enhanced Civil-Military Relations between the Nigerian Army and the Civil Society, organized by the Nigerian Army through its Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), establishment.
The Armed Forces of Nigeria was established and saddled with the constitutional responsibility to protect the Nigerian sovereignty against external aggression, safeguard and maintain the territorial integrity as well as secure her borders in addition to suppressing insurrection. These are noble and sacrificial responsibilities, which ought to attract certain immunities and privileges as a way of appreciating the men and women who voluntarily joined the Armed Forces to lay down their lives for our collective national security, unity and survival. However, the Nigerian Military perceives that their reputation is always undermined by negative actions/reactions from the Civil Society which underscores an inherent public resentment towards them and their personnel, in direct contract to respect, immunities and privileges that should be granted the Armed Forces. The Nigerian Army also understands that the Civil Society has been misguided in more recent times by their actions through poor media reportage. Thus there is an existence of mutual suspicion between the Military and Civil Society which has caused collateral damage and further collapsed the Civil-Military relation and all benefits that come with it. Hence the reason for this workshop.
This workshop was held with an aim to strengthen the civil-military relations between the Nigerian Military and Civil Society. In attendance were 100 participants; 50 from the Military and 50 from the civil society of which the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, US Army, NIPSS, CISLAC, Cleen Foundation, Action Aid and NARC were all represented.
The essence of this workshop was to create a platform for mutual understanding between organized civil society and the NA establishment, to initiate a process of sustained campaign to positively project the Nigerian Army as the state instrument to defend the civil populace against external aggression, maintain territorial integrity and suppress insurrection, to project the civil ownership of the NA and its subordination to the democratically elected government who must in turn protect them from undue harassment and intimidation from misguided elements of the society like is done in the world over including the USA, UK, France and others, to articulate various activities within the NA that may have added value to the country’s scientific and technological development, to undertake a comparative analysis of the Civil-Military relations in the USA and UK, to establish a formal civil society network for the civil military relations in collaboration with the AHQ DCMA, reiterating the fact that anti-military sentiments might endanger national security and the country’s territorial integrity.
The workshop lasted 3 days, from 20th June 2018 – 22nd June 2018. It featured lectures and presentations from resource persons as well as interactive sessions between the participants. The interactive sessions brought many issues to light which included the issues of; military abuse of power, maltreatment of civilians, poor media reportage of the Nigerian military and its activities, unseen/unappreciated efforts of the military in humanitarian assistance, the need for training and re-training of the military rank and file, the misconception of the Civil Society and its mode of operation, the need for better communication and media engagement of the military among other topics.
At the end of the workshop, all participants had an improved public perception of the roles of the Nigerian Army and an enhanced understanding of the need for national support for the Nigerian Army to be able to defend the country against external aggression and domestic insurrection. All participating organizations were awakened to establish knowledge pool on how best to promote civil-military relations on sustainable basis. The Nigerian Military also improved their understanding of the mode of operation and work of the CSO in nation building and development.
The Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), will be informed by the communique developed from this workshop in convening another session which would feature the media arm of Nigeria as a component of the civil society and a key actor in fostering the civil-military relations. The Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) in collaboration with participating organizations will also effectively take steps towards the establishment of the Civil Society Network on National Security.