CLEEN Foundation will today launch the second phase of the Fostering Civil Military Relations (FCMR) Project in Nigeria in Abuja. The project is implemented in collaboration with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR). The objective of the CMR project is to strengthen civil-military relations by fostering sustained dialogue and improved understanding between the civil society and the Armed Forces. This is aimed at improving accountability, security, national cohesion and respect for human rights throughout Nigeria.
The CMR project was borne out of our past challenges bordering on tensions between civilians and the military occasioned by over three decades of military rule and the current insecurities in various parts of the country. This has given rise to active deployment of the military to many states and geopolitical zones of the country to contain different security challenges. The use of the Armed Forces in virtually every internal operations including elections, e.t.c. has seen a change of role for the military operating within the framework of a constitutional democracy. Some military engagements have created an atmosphere of mistrust and fear on the part of the civilians towards the military necessitating many Nigerians to see the military more as occupying forces than as providers of their security. This has unfortunately made the work of securing lives and property difficult for the military who are supposed to also depend on citizens’ support for intelligence gathering in containing the numerous security challenges confronting the nation.
In today’s democratic dispensation, the culture and orientation of the Armed Forces in relation to civilians needs to change significantly. There is need for trust between civilians and the Armed Forces. We are at a critical period in our nation’s history where the need to win hearts and minds of the people has never been so significant. The CMR project by CLEEN Foundation seeks therefore to create avenues for sustained dialogues between the civilians and the security agencies while working at addressing the numerous challenges in interpersonal relationship of both parties.
CLEEN Foundation believes that the CMR Road Map produced in Phase one is a strategic document that will address most of the issues we face while offering broader opportunities to improve the existing relationship between civilians and the military. These include accountability and transparency, lack of effective communication strategies, lack of knowledge on CMR, duration of internal operations and many others are among the issues contained in the road map for further engagement. Phase two of this project will work strategically with the Military, the National Assembly, Police and other civil security agencies at different levels to advocate for more accountable Armed Forces that respect the rights of the people, prioritizes safety and security and is subject to civilian oversight.