Friday, 8 September 2017

Communique Issued at the Townhall Dialogue On Civil-Military Relations in Borno

PREAMBLE

The Boko Haram insurgency in North East Nigeria has led to a tremendous level of humanitarian crises that has seen people being forced to leave their homes. Lives have been lost. Livelihoods destroyed and millions of people have been forced to leave their homes for Internally Displaced Persons camps. The Nigerian Military and other security agencies, as a result of this insurgency have been forced to intervene in what looked initially like a civil issue to be handled by the Nigeria Police Force. Seven years down the line, the Military have become entrenched in the lives of the civil population. Considerable peace has been achieved over the years due to the activities of the Nigerian Armed Forces especially, the Military and the support from the public, especially the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF). A lot still needs to be done to totally end the insurgency while there are enormous tasks ahead with regards to post insurgency interventions. To achieve results, it has become very imperative to have a viable Civil-Military Relations in conflict-affected regions of the country. Civil-military relations have been the major strategy used during and after conflicts in different cultures of the world. It is based on this premise that the CLEEN Foundation, as part of its contribution to the security architecture in Borno State, in conjunction with Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution and the National Human Rights Commission and supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, organised a one-day Town Hall dialogue to discuss issues and challenges to robust civil military relations in the region while proffering strategies to mitigate such challenges. The Town Hall dialogue was attended by representatives of the Nigerian Armed  Forces, The Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, religious leaders, civil society and the media. Papers were presented on different aspects of civil military relations by resource persons with questions and comments made by participants during the dialogue. 
KEY OBSERVATIONS
Based on the papers presented and discussions  during the dialogue, the following key observations were made:
1.      The Military and all other security agencies should be commended for their efforts in ensuring the return of relative peace to Borno state and other parts of the North East.
2.      The establishment of Armed Forces broadcast organisations (Armed Forces Radio) is commendable but a lot needs to be done in the area of sensitisation of the public on the roles and responsibilities of the Military as well civilian relations with the Military.
3.      That there are still concerns and apprehension amongst the civilian population on where and how to report issues of security concerns in their communities.
4.      That there is still challenges to establishing mutual trust and understanding between Civilians and the Military, as well as other security agencies.
5.      Military personnel and other security personnel should be seen to be role models in their attitudes and behaviour.
6.      Participants commended the synergy between the various security agencies but noted that there are still areas for improvement.
7.      Participants called for greater awareness on the existence of the human rights desks in the army headquarters and at the various divisions. 
8.      Participants called for open and robust response to all allegations of human rights abuses by the military and other security agencies as this is fundamental to cordial civil military relations.
9.      There is a greater need for  citizens to report security threats to the officially approved  channels of communication to the security agencies.
10.  Professionalism and exhibition of discipline are paramount in the work of security agents.
11.  Participants also raised concerns about the propagation of extremist views and hate speeches in the Nigerian society and their implications for safety and security.
12.  Participants also raised a lot of observations on the need for peaceful co-existence in the society.
13.  The Civilian Joint Task Force was also commended for their contribution to the relative peace in Borno state and other parts of the North-East.
Based on these and many other observations, the following recommendations were made by the participants:
1.      Members of the public should continue to provide maximum support to the Military and other security agencies in their quest to end the insurgency.
2.      The National Orientation Agency and media houses should develop and air programmes to re-orientate the minds of Nigerians towards the military. They should encourage Nigerians to accord some privileges to  military personnel and other security agencies on uniform in terms of access to public services.
3.      Training and retraining programs should be carried out for all military personnel and other security agencies including the rank and file.
4.      The services and signals of the Armed Forces Radio should be extended across the country while more programmes sensitising the public on the activities of the Military and other security agencies should be produced and  aired regularly.
5.      Members of the public should report all issues of security threats to the appropriate authorities. The security agencies should also disseminate how people can access such channels of reporting.
6.      Periodic conduct of town hall meetings was also suggested between the security agencies and civilian groups like youths, women and community leaders.
7.      There should be proactive reporting of security threats by civilians which will help de-escalate any potential conflict situation.
8.      Participants also called for increased and robust synergy between the security agencies and the civilian population.
9.      Awareness campaigns on the existence of human rights desks in the army headquarters and other security agencies should be intensified.
10.  The Nigerian  Military and other security agencies should proactively respond to all allegations of human rights violations in a transparent manner.
11.  The Military and other security agencies should always display decorum, transparency, discipline and professionalism in their conduct.
12.  The meeting also called on religious leaders to ensure that extremist ideologies are not propagated while existing ones are challenged and neutralised.
13.  Hate speeches should also be discouraged by  parents, teachers, the media and religious leaders through their preaching and comments in the public.
14.  Community leaders were also called upon to preach the importance of peaceful co-existence in the society.
15.  Peace education should be enhanced across the state while  youths should be educated on the history of violent conflicts in the country.
16.  Responding to channels of reporting security issues, the following were provided:
Nigeria Army Contact
Major Galadima 08068576696, 08178726004, 08051512477
Emergency call center number: 193
Human Rigts Desk Office Numbers: 08160134303, 08161507644
Email:
na.hrd@army.mil.ng
Armed Forces Radio: Phone number: 08026007418 Email: afnradio@gmail.com

Nigeria Police Borno State Command Contact
Control room number: 08068075581, 08023473293
Public Relations Officer: 08030925924, Email:
odionsylvester2000@gmail.com
Email: bornostatecomms@gmail.com, bornostatecomms@yahoo.com

Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Borno Contact
Phone numbers: 07084284978, 08038676052

 Done in Maidugiri, Borno State, Wednesday 6th September 2017 


Tel: 07067899368, 09035200933 Website: www.cleen.org E-mail: cleen@cleen.org
Twitter: @cleenfoundation Facebook: cleenfoundation Hashtag: #CMR_NG
 

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