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Forum lists causes, panacea for civil, military clashes in South-East

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CLEEN Foundation, Dr. Benson Olugbuo. Photo/Nigeriarights

Participants at the two-day accountability forum organised by Cleen Foundation at Aba, Abia State, on civil-military relations in Nigeria have identified the causes of civil/military skirmishes and listed remedies for their prevention in the South-East region.

Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, Dr. Benson Olugbuo, said the forum, whose participants were drawn from military and paramilitary agencies, human rights organisations, town unions, traditional rulers, among others, was part of the project activities for fostering civil military relations with the objective to strengthen civil-military relations through sustained dialogues and improved understanding between the military and civilians to improve accountability, security and respect for human rights in Nigeria”.

According to the participants’ observations, there are reports of extortion and use of force against civilians mostly at military mounted roadblocks while intending humanitarian services of the military are rejected by community because they are perceived as security threat.

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Also, the military were being accused of releasing suspected criminals handed over to them and abusing women and girls in the midst of high level of mutual disrespect between the military and the civilians, which often results in violation of human rights of civilians.

The participants, therefore, recommended that the directorate of military intelligence should re-prioritise intelligence gathering on the continued secessionist agitations in the South-East 48 years after the civil war to help in the overall strategy of managing the conflict.

The military personnel were also asked to avoid the use of force in all civil engagements and military operations in the region, end impunity and dehumanisation of innocent citizens with conscious efforts to redress violation of rights to restore public confidence, among others.

Meanwhile, Cleen Foundation has organised special capacity building workshop for police officers ahead of the general elections in Kano.

The training exercise is anchored on strengthening election security, public safety, security and accessible justice during and after the polls.

Olugbuo, who spoke with journalists at the opening of the training session yesterday, represented by the Foundation’s Assistant Programme Manager, Mr. Oluwale Ojawale, stressed that the objective was hinged on strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy and demonstration programmes ahead of the 2019 general elections.


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