ABUJA—The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, and United States government have commenced a process of initiating a strategy to strengthen civil-military relations.
Speaking at a three-day seminar to enthrone the process in Abuja, Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, said the seminar, with the theme “Civil-military in a democracy: Synergizing all potentials for enhanced national security,” was put together to boost public confidence and relations with civil society, following military involvement in internal security.
The defence chief, who was represented by Chief of Defence Communications, Air Vice Marshal S.O. Smith, said: “The military seeks cooperation from civilians in all their operations. The modus operandi often brings about friction but the military will do its best to improve the relations.”
He added that the seminar would devise a plan to bring civilians and the military nearer in all operations and remove suspicion.
“The challenge is to develop civil-military model relative to Nigeria. This seminar will in the end bring out a strong model,” he said.
Director of Civil-Military Relations, Major General Mohammed Ibrahim, agreed that there were misconceptions on military operations.
He said: “We are going to use this forum to clear the misconceptions and assure people that the military is theirs and working to protect them,” he said.
Director General of National Orientation Agency, Mike Omeri, said recent and unfolding realities revealed an increasing need for robust civil-military relations in combating threats to the territorial integrity of the nation.
“As profound and skilful as our military intelligence is, it could be greatly impaired if the civilian populace do not cooperate with it,” he said.
He urged the directorate of civil-military relations to set up a centre for proactive management of information specific to Joint Task Force operations around the country.
Coming at a time thousands of military personnel are deployed to different parts of the country for internal security management, observers see the timing of the seminar apt, as it will ensure there is no gap in communication flow.
It would be recalled that more troops were deployed to states in the North-East region to suppress insurgents, following the proclamation of a state of emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan last Tuesday.