The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, says improved Civil-Military Cooperation must be a matter of priority and urgency for the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies in their counter insurgency operations in Nigeria.
- President Jonathan made the statement while addressing a workshop in Abuja
- The workshop was organised to facilitate the development of a doctrine for security agencies
- Counter-terrorism operations of the Nigerian military had triggered allegations of Human right abuse
- Jonathan said allegation was exaggerated
In a speech at the opening of the first ever International Workshop on Civil-Military Cooperation and Observance of Human Rights in Internal Security Operations held at the National Defence College in Abuja on Thursday, President Jonathan told participants that the workshop was crucial to the Nigerian government as it came at “a period Nigeria is confronted with the threat of terrorism”.
President Jonathan said the workshop would no doubt serve as a veritable platform for the Nigerian Armed Forces and relevant security agencies, to key into current international best practices, in this very important requirement for the conduct of successful counter terrorism operations, and other emergent military operations.
Allegations of human rights abuse
According to him, the Workshop would further facilitate the development of a doctrine that will bring the Nigerian Armed Forces, other security agencies and the civilian population even closer, in all internal security operations.
The counter-terrorism operations of the Nigerian military had triggered allegations of Human right abuse, with a rights group Amnesty International, recently accusing the military and the Boko Haram sect of Human rights abuse and the killing of civilians in their operations.
But President Jonathan said that the claims were exaggerated.
“I am glad to note that in addition to the Security Sector, we are joined today, by members of the Judiciary, Academia, representatives of governments, International Development Partners, the Media, Civil Society Organizations, as well as other critical stake holders.
“I am particularly hopeful that collective resolve will be reached here, in addressing Human Rights concerns, associated with internal security operations, in Nigeria.
“We have taken very seriously, reports from some international organisations about perceived human rights abuses by our security forces during military operations. Findings, have generally shown that these reports are, in the main, exaggerated,” he said.
Protection of Nigerians’ rights
The Nigerian President assured the participants of the government’s commitment to ensuring that the rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the Constitution were respected, in the course of the counter-terrorism operations.
He appealed to human rights community for broader cooperation, and deeper understanding of the circumstances facing Nigeria and for greater appreciation of the efforts put in place for improved civil-military relationship, as exemplified by this workshop.
President Jonathan further stressed that the government would continue to investigate and bring to a just and fair closure, any suspected or reported case of human rights abuse. he said such abuse would not go on unhindered and promised his administration’s commitment to supporting the security agencies.
“We will continue to provide the best of training and acquire appropriate equipment to enable them defend our nation and all members of humanity in our country,” he said.