With the increase in the number of military operations across the country, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is developing concrete programmes of action to heighten security awareness among civilians and foster better civil-military relations.
Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari made this known while receiving the Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Dr. Benson Olugbuo on a courtesy visit in his office.
Abari said the awareness programmes have become necessary in the light of prevailing security realities in the country and measures being taken by security agencies to address them. He said a turbulent environment has far reaching effects on not just civil-military relations but also on inter-civilian relations, hence the need for peace and tranquility in society.
With particular reference to military operations in the North East, he observed that the unconventional nature of the Boko Haram insurgency stirred up suspicion between every young person in the affected communities and the military thus straining their relationship. He however commended the military’s change of strategy to enlist civilian support, noting that it has impacted positively, not only on civil-military relations in the area but also on the success of the fight against insurgency. He said NOA was drawing on lessons from that experience to boost its civil security awareness campaign in the country.
In his remarks, the CLEEN Foundation Executive Secretary, Dr. Olugbuo called for the inclusion of Civil-Military Relations in the Civics curriculum being taught in Nigerian schools. This, he said, would help civilians understand the military’s rules of engagement and help the military respect the rights of civilians.
Olugbuo said the Foundation’s researches show that although Nigerians have issues with the nature of the military’s engagement with civilians, they still have great respect for the Nigerian armed forces. He therefore urged NOA to increase its interventions in promoting civil-military relations in the country in the interest of national security.