assessment of the relationship between the civilian and military sector of the society

assessment of the relationship between the civilian and military sector of the society

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1.1       Background to the Study

Civil-Military relations in any country reflect the professional orientations and thinking of military officers, the decision-making process, as among defence bureaucracies and other institutional players in government. Civil-Military relations have been in existence since society created the military to look after its security needs. These relations have long been an issue of discussion evolving from the tripartite relationship of the military, the state and civil society.

Alluding to the complex nature of Civil-Military relations, but also regarding these relations as harmonious, Bilveer (2010) defines Civil-Military relations as “encompassing the whole array of interactions and relationships between the Armed Forces and different segments of society in which they co-exist and operate”.

According to Owen (2013), Civil-Military relations are concerned with interactions among the people of the state, the institution of the state and the military of the state. Studies on civil military relations often rest on the normative assumptions that civilian control of the military is preferable to military control of the state. The principal problem they contend with is to empirically explain how civilian control over the military is established and maintained (Burk, 2012).

As an area of study in political science, Civil-Military relations involve the study and discussion of a diverse range of issues including but not limited to the civilian control of the military and vice versa, military professionalism, war, civil-military operations, military institutions, and other related subjects.

Civil-Military relations emerged after the Second World War as a dominant challenge as a recurring theme in academic literature in developed and developing democracies across the world. The concern has been about finding an appropriate balance between the military and civil society in a democracy.According to Ocran as cited in Ngoma et al (2014), the norm  is that the Head of State of a country is the Commander-In-Chief of the Military. There is a view that the military is the ‘guardian of the state’, the custodian of the constitution’ and that it ‘stands guard over parliament’.

Years of military rule eroded the implementation of principles of democratic civilian control of the armed forces that Nigeria had embraced at its founding. Despite prolonged periods of military dictatorship, Nigeria has transitioned from military rule to a democratic regime. The Obasanjo government 1999-2007 outlined a plan to reform the Nigerian military and security sector and to reinstate effective democratic Civil-Military relations. Successive Nigerian administrations since Obasanjo have continued to prioritize this agenda. The primary components of the plan have included de-politicization and professionalization of the military, on the one hand, and institutionalization of executive oversight and civilian control of the military and security forces, on the other. Although the country is no longer under military rule, lingering effects from the past continue to exert a negative influence on civil management, control, and oversight of the military and security sector in today’s democratizing Nigeria.

The 1999 constitution specifically set forth the purpose of the armed forces, to “defend Nigeria from external aggression; maintain territorial integrity and secure its borders from violation on land, sea and air; suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the president, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly” (Constitution of FRN, 2009) including with regard to the performance of other functions.

The military institution is seen as the single most effective establishment capable of playing a positive role in a country’s attempt to reach a higher level of social and political progress (Johnson, 2010). One of the cardinal objects of a nation’s vital interests is the defence of its territorial integrity by its armed forces.

Since the restoration of democracy in 1999, there have been significant efforts to re-establish democratic and effective civil-military relations in Nigeria. First, in the early days of Obasanjo’s administration in 1999, he established the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission headed by late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa to investigate human right abuses that took place during the military era. Second, was the acceptance of a civilian Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces by the military. As a result, the military became open and was willing to conform to legislative oversight, as evidenced by the attendance of Military Heads at the National Assembly to answer questions regarding their operations. Civilians, including women, were appointed to key positions in the Defence sector. There were also various initiatives to professionalize and re-brand the image of the military, with the goal of regaining citizen’s confidence. In addition, under President Jonathan’s administration, former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Onyeabor Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), established the Department of Civil Military Affairs in 2011 with the goal of strengthening the capacity of the army to tackle contemporary challenges facing the country, including those relating to the threats from Boko-Haram. The department serves as an interface between the Nigerian army and civilian populace, thereby promoting effective Civil-Military relations. The importance of good relation between the military and civil populace cannot be over-emphasized (NATO Civil-Military Co-operation, 2011). Nigeria in recent times has witnessed an unprecedented level of insecurity (Boko-Haram) attacks especially in the Northern part of the country.

According to a seminar presentation in Caritas University by Dr. D.A. Omenma (H.O.D), the Boko Haram insurgents started as a militia group called ECOMOG, which have being sponsored by prominent politicians in the North-Eastern states of Borno and Yobe during the build up to the 2003 general elections. Later, other politicians in other parts of Northern Nigeria began to sponsor the group they provided them with huge sums of money, provision of training grounds on the many mountains scattered in the northern region as well as protection against arrests by the Federal Governments. (Omenma, 2012: 15). In Nigeria, Boko Haram snowballed into national menace after the 2011 general elections, the Northern Governors who had relationship with the sect began to withdraw their patronages and eventually abandoned them to their fate (The Nation 2011:13).

In the context of widening inequalities, unemployment and poverty, it is inevitable that social tensions most of which are exploited by politicians, will tend find expression in ethno-religious conflict (Ahmed, 2012).

Indeed, the origin of Boko Haram sect goes back to 2001 when a Muslim cleric, Muhammad Yusuf, succeeded in attracting large followers at his mosque in the North Eastern city of Maiduguri. This sect, turned insurgent group based predominantly in Northern Nigeria from mid-2000’s unleashed terror on Nigerians and the International Community through coordinated attacks. This has made national security threat to be a major issue for the government.

In view of the above introduction, this study therefore centers on the investigation and discussion of the origin and nature of Boko Haram conflict in Northern Nigeria, and to assess the Civil–Military relations and see if it could recommend solutions in managing the Boko-Haram crisis so that the peace and stability which the country has longed for would be achieved and there would be an end to terrorism in Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of Research Problem

A Civil-Military relation in a democracy does not only deal with issues of military interventions in politics and power conflicts. It spans across professionalism, security and defence for enhanced political stability among others (Huntington, 2013). The military’s professional identity is important to their mission accomplishment and their long term relationship with the society they serve. Thus, Civil-Military relation becomes an important issue for discourse. If the military is to serve the people, therefore, in dealing with Civil-Military relations, the military needs to educate Nigerians about the enduring challenges they face in trying to secure the nation and of strategy and changing times. The challenges of modernity and globalization have brought with it the violence witnessed through a complex web of hybrid threats. Nations must be prepared to meet these challenges as they occur.

In Nigeria, the state of insecurity at present gives serious concern to every stakeholder both home and abroad (Anyaoku, 2012). The rising terrorist attacks of Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country including Abuja has left more than ten thousand people dead and families helpless, and crippled down the economy thereby worsening standard of living of the rural populace (Agbaje, 2012).

Recently, Boko-Haram attacks in Northern Nigeria has heightened fears among the populace, destroyed lives and properties and even displaced people from their communities. Uncertainties about the causes of these threats have created a situation whereby it has been difficult to nip it at its bud. Several strategies such as counter-terrorism trainings for the military, meetings and summits by both top military officers and political leaders have been held in a bid to curb the menace but to no avail. Trillions of Naira has been spent in making sure that security is brought back to Nigeria, particularly the Northern region but with little progress achieved.

1.3       Research Questions

In view of the above assertions, this study will be guided by the following research questions.

i.                    What is the relationship between the civilian and military sector of the society?

ii.                  What is the impact of Civil-Military relations in Nigeria on the peace building process in relation Nigeria? 

iii.                What policies and strategies could be evolved to guide Civil-Military relations towards achieving National Security?

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study is to achieve the following:

i.                    To assess the relationship between the civilian and military sector of the society.

ii.                  To determine the impact of Civil-Military relations in Nigeria on the peace building process in relation Nigeria. 

iii.                To ascertain the policies and strategies that could be evolved to guide Civil-Military relations towards achieving National Security.

1.5       Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study would take a look at the Boko-Haram crisis in Northern Nigeria. It would examine the dynamics of the crisis and the relationship that exists between the military deployed and the civilian society. The study will cover the period from 2009-2015. The choice of this time frame is particularly important as it is the period that the crisis began and escalated. Investigation into Boko-Haram insurgency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, which have been the most affected would be conducted and see if effective civil-military relations could assist in solving the crisis.

In view of the limitations of this study, various factors contributed in affecting the researcher’s comprehensiveness in carrying out the study. Among these factors are continuous evolving nature of the Boko-Haram crisis, other tasks of office work engagements, and the fact that the military offensive to flush out insurgents in the region experienced its apex in the course of the research which hindered the researcher from visiting some of the troubled states. Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, the research study turned out to be successful.

1.6       Methodology

This study adopted descriptive survey research design to identify the impact of Civil-Military relations in Nigeria on the peace building process in relation Nigeria. This design is considered suitable and appropriate because Abdullahi, Ojulari and Jadas (2013) described descriptive survey research design as a research tool that seek to measure and describe attribute as they occur. It is also a systematic and unbiased investigation, which is concerned with collection of data for the purpose of describing and interpreting existing conditions prevailing, practices beliefs, attitudes and procedures. 

Both Primary and Secondary sources of data formed the basis of this study.

a.       Primary Data: Due to the spontaneous nature of the issue under investigation, the primary data were obtained through the use of interview. The views of some military and civilian staff of Nigerian Defence Academy, 1 Mechanized Division Kaduna, Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Civil Society and some scholars that have special concern on the Boko-Haram crisis would be sourced through structured questionnaire. This is to have an insight into the nature if the Boko-Haram crisis and its implication on national security. A sample of the questions is at the Appendix.

b.      Secondary Data: Secondary sources of data were generated through the review of relevant extant literature, published and unpublished materials such as publications, unpublished materials, and the internet and so on. The researcher visited libraries o have access to relevant archived materials. Libraries visited included the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji and Arewa House Kaduna.

c.       Method of Data Analysis: The data collected through primary and secondary sources were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed.

d.      Method of Data Presentation: The data were presented in a simple qualitative form. Based on the analysis of the data collated, deductions were made leading to the assessment of CMR in Nigeria and how it could lead to the resolution of the Boko-Haram crisis in Northern Nigeria.

1.7       Significance of the Study

By establishing the relationship between the military and civilian society, this study shall contribute in assisting the government in its quest to resolve the lingering problems of Boko-Haram as it affects the Northern part of Nigeria. Also judging from the fact that terrorism is currently topical globally, this study will help towards enhancing ways of handling security challenges.

Furthermore, this study will be immensely significant to the following stakeholders: Researchers, students, writers, scholars, diplomats etc. in order to broaden their existing knowledge on conflict resolution particularly on the subject matter. Its findings would assist the Nigerian State in formulating policies that would entrench great bond between the military and civilians in attempt to efficiently handle the countries security challenges.

1.8       Conceptual Clarification

- Boko Haram: Is a violent Jihadist terrorist organization that kicks against Western Education (Salihu, 2009).

- Civil-Military Relations: There have been various schools of thought worldwide on what constitutes Civil-Military relations. Various postulations became necessary as the subject helps build cordial relationship between military and civilians toward achieving nations’ security collaborations and attainments. Civil-Military relations found its relevance in Nigeria considering the unhealthy security challenges facing the country. It further found its relevance as a palliative measure towards solving ethno/religious crisis, insurgency and agitations which have take a front burner in Nigeria today. It is however evident that there is a direct relationship between Civil-Military relations and Nigeria’s National Security situation, especially in the areas where Boko Haram insurgency are taking place. Hence, the need to adopt Civil-Military relations in Nigeria is paramount towards addressing these security challenges.

- Conflict: Disharmony, antagonism or hostility in a relation, which could arise due to incompatibility of the objectives being pursued or incongruity of the ways and means adopted in pursuing the preferred objective (Mbachu, 2012).

- Insurgency: Is a resistance movement against misrule rather than a purely

Islamic group, armed with series of attacks on innoce nt lives and properties.

-Terrorism: The British Government, as far back as 1974, officially defined terrorism as “the use of violence for political ends, and includes any use of violence for the purpose of putting the public, or any section of the public in fear”.

- Violence Attack: This is an attack capable of undermining the security of the state and rendering the system powerless (Bola, 2011).

1.9       Chapter Arrangement

·         Chapter one is General Introduction.

·         Chapter contains Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

·         Chapter three dwells on the Historical Background to the Boko Haram crisis in Northern Nigeria.

·         Chapter four includes the Analysis of Data and Discussion of Findings

·         Chapter five comprises of Summary, conclusion and recommendations.

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