Provision of assistance to civilian authority in times of emergency, upholding human rights principles and practise as well as being subordinate to civil authority are some often overlooked mandates of the military.
This was contained in a lecture presented by Dr Freedom Onuoha during a virtual accountability forum on “Civil-Military relations during the covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria”, organised by the CLEEN Foundation in Abuja recently.
Dr Freedom Onuoha who is a security sector consultant and a senior lecturer with the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka lamented that with the Covid-19 pandermic, has come the struggle to enforce compliance with the lockdown measures and this has resulted in serious violations of human rights.
These violations he identified to include assault and extra judicial killings by security; rise in extortionate policing as against right-based policing; with the military implicated in the cases of human rights violations.
Dr Onuoha maintained that the Civil-Military Relations (CMR) has been deeply impacted and the resultant dissonance could have adverse consequences for the nation’s security.
He therefore recommended regular and wider consultation with civil society; the strengthening of mechanisms for follow-up on human rights violations as well as an after Action Review to inform a Strategic Policy Group as part of measures that can deepen Civil-Military Relations in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of the CLEEN Foundation, Dr Benson Olugbuo, who spoke earlier while appreciating that a lot of top ranking military men are well trained and highly professional notedthat professionalism is lacking in the military men on the roads that interract with Nigerians on a daily basis thus painting a contradiction.
He also observed that the military seemed to have shifted from its primary assignment of protecting and maintaining the territorial intergrity of the nation and instead seems to take on the Nigeria police forces primary assignment of promoting law and order within the civilian space.
Dr Olugbuo advised that the military be held accountable for their actions and be made to carry out their duties in accordance to the laws that govern a democracy.