CISLAC Calls for Structural Reforms in Defence Sector to Tackle Human Rights Abuses

NEWS DIGEST – It has become necessary for the Nigerian security sector, as a reflection of the country, to undergo progressive reforms that will protect the domestic reputation of the country, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre has said.

One of those reforms, the organization stated, is the deployment of the military in response to civil-related matters. “[This] rule of engagement has continued to widen the gap in military-civilian relations while aggravating unwary agitations that give rise to armed groups across the country.”

At a workshop on Thursday in Bauchi designed to offer solutions to various security challenges, CISLAC criticized the National Assembly’s lack of proper legislative oversight as one of many reasons why the federal government continues to use military operations and interventions without regard for due process.

According to CISLAC’s Executive director, Comrade Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the just-completed general elections have exposed widespread financial mismanagement and poor accountability in the security sector.

“The unattended opaque nature of investment by Defence institutions remains a major setback to the effort at ensuring transparency and accountability in Defence and Security spending,” he said.

In addition, CISLAC added that the department of defence and security has a very low representation of women and people with disabilities. The organization notices that men are frequently given preference during recruitment, promotion, and appointment processes.

Later in the day, in a different session, the dignitaries present at the dialogue explored potential solutions to the nation’s pervasive problem of insecurity.

The gathering came to the conclusion that, in accordance with Section 14(2) of the 1999 Constitution, the continuing reports of kidnapping, banditry, insurgency, and community disputes reflect the failings of the federal government.

The groups noted that fundamental issues which pose a danger to the nation’s internal security include the overlap of duties across multiple security agencies and the failure to properly coordinate operations between overlapping agencies.

“Internal insecurity in Nigeria is necessitated by unattended challenges including lack of critical reforms, low morale and wages, weak incentives, and endemic corruption among others eroding personnel commitment to service,” read a statement released by CISLAC.

CISLAC has requested that the Nigerian government conduct a structural, operational, and process review of the Defence sector to rid the department of corrupt staff that may hamper the country’s battle against insecurity.

The civil organization has also urged the government to strengthen its close supervision of the security industry in order to punish misuse of power and discourage unhealthy rivalry between competing security agencies.

“Adequate support to oversight institutions to compel cooperation by security agencies with oversight activities and processes, and ensure full implementation of various laws and policies guiding financial and operational activities of security agencies,” the statement continued.

According to CISLAC, these changes will build a strong resistance to influences inside the sector and lessen the frequency of abuse.

The statement, which was signed by CISLAC, Heal Disability Initiative, Green Environment Support for Peace Development Initiative, Asma’u Yahaya and Ali Usman Rambo, emphasized the crucial role that civil society organizations and the media can play in advancing reforms in the defence sector.

To prevent cases from being covered up, civil societies are urged to actively follow up on high-profile abuse and corruption allegations in the security sector.

The groups hope that the media can help strengthen advocacy for “gender-mainstreaming in the Defence sector to demonstrate respect for inclusion, social justice and democratic control.”

hoth guest post