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Civil security relations in a democratising polity   the nigerian case.3

Civil security relations in a democratising polity the nigerian case.3






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    Civil security relations in a democratising polity   the nigerian case.3 Civil security relations in a democratising polity the nigerian case.3 Document Transcript

    • I. Legacies of Nigeria’s Military/authoritarian past When the Nigerian military first intervened in politics in January 1966, their actionwas acclaimed as a nation-building/transformation project aimed at eradicatingcorruption and reordering the State. Six months after, the Nigerian army had becomethe catalyst for national disintegration as it broke up into ethnic and regional factionsand exacerbated pre-existing primordial cleavages, which had earlier undermined itsprofessionalism, eventually leading to the three-year civil war. The civil war washowever significant in helping the military regain a level of legitimacy after the warended. Strengthened by the favourable aftermath of the civil war, the ruling militaryelite headed by General Yakubu Gowon utilised the legitimacy provided by thefavourable ‘resolution’ of the civil war to project the military as the vanguard of thenation-building project. Consequently, the civil war which albeit fragmented themilitary as an institution now provided it with the best opportunity to redeem itsimage, albeit not necessarily on account of its sterling performance in the prosecutionof the war.While the civil war per se is not the focus of this paper, it is important to use the civilwar to illustrate why policy choices taken at critical points of transition in a country’spolitical transition matter. The action and inaction of the government in the aftermathof the civil war also highlights the degree to which it influenced the actions of themilitary regime, especially its claim to a pride of place in a nation-building project.Political-Military Doctrine and Military Professionalism after the Civil-War. Although state military power was potentially enhanced by the post civil war"no victor, no vanquished" reconciliation policy, the Gowon administration failed toimprove service professionalism in any significant way. Although military plannerssought to improve service co-ordination and came up with suggestions fordemobilising and mechanising a military which was now spending 90% of its budgeton salaries for the 250,000 strong force (from a pre-war strength of 10,000), therewere no doctrinal principles that guided defence management. Indeed, as GeneralGowon’s official biographer noted, ‘as Gowon settled to issues of state governance 7
    • after the war, his contacts with the military gradually decreased as his relationshipwith the civilian bureaucracy grew’3. More than any other factor, the failure to seizethe opportunity provided at the end of the civil war to re-organise the militaryinstitution lay the basis for the progressive decline of the entire security structure andthe rupturing of civil-military relations in the latter years. In the end, it was theundermining of the nation-building project and the exacerbation of its centrifugalfissures that earned the military near complete discredit of the civil populace. Within the military hierarchy, sectional loyalties replaced its enviable‘modernising’ characteristics and this was used to advance the ruling elites prebendalproclivities. Although the military consistently maintained a professional façade andan accommodational strategy that kept it in power for those three decades, thecollegial nature of that strategy assumed a far more segmental edge after Nigeria’ssecond civilian rule was aborted. (1983) From this period onwards, professionalcamaraderie and institutional cohesion seemed relatively less important in the allianceused to sustain the military in power. On the one hand, it was possible for successivemilitary regimes to retain power with some measure of authority in areas where thepersonal projects of the ruling elite coincided with the institution’s corporate interests.On the other hand, especially in areas where the rulers made no attempt to respectinstitutional interest, military rulers hung unto power on the strength of their coercivecapabilities and co-optation strategies which depended on alternative power centresoutside the military - in the civilian bureaucracy, in intelligence units, business sectorand intellectual circles, all of which helped in the fracturing and de-institutionalisationof the military structure. To varying degrees, successive military regimes adopted thisstrategy – from General Yakubu Gowon (1966-1975) to the recently departed GeneralAbdulsalami Abubakar (1998-9), however the regimes of Generals IbrahimBabangida(1985-1993) and Sani Abacha (1993-1998) represented two extremes in thecontinuum. Most observers of the Nigerian military in its thirty years of involvement inpolitics agree that the institution was riven by a variety of corporate, ethnic andpersonal grievances developed over time in the prolonged years of the military ingovernment. Some of these grievances were by-products of Nigeria’s highlyfactionalised politics, others self generated by the various military cabals ingovernment. (Ihonvbere, 1997; Adejumobi, 1999) Although the negative impact of 8
    • the above on professionalism and the operational effectiveness of the military hadbecome noticeable – especially in the aftermath of the civil war – the euphoria offederal victory and the immediate pressures of rehabilitation, reconciliation andreconstruction of the political terrain provided a false sense of security and fosteredorganisational inertia. Military planners and battle commanders were uncertain that thewar was won by effective organisation of the military4, although honest enough to admitthat peacetime deterrence will be harder to achieve if renewed attention was not paid toprofessional/organisational issues around quick departure from politics, civil-militaryrelations (given the tension already generated by the presence of a high number ofdischarged soldiers in civil society), mission/role, doctrine, force posture, force levels,combat operational command, resource allocation and weapon procurement5. In spite of this recognition, Nigerias immediate post war defence organisationdid not depart markedly from what existed in pre-war circumstances, mainly because thepreference for incremental, rather than radical change was overwhelming in policymaking during the transition form war to peace. Indeed, a wide gap existed betweendefence organisation and strategic purpose, in terms of the relationship between themission derived from threat assessment and force design, posture, weapons procurementprocedures, resource allocation and combat operational command. Although a fewcosmetic attempts were made in restructuring the defence organisation (Fayemi, 1994),subordinating the service viewpoint became the main problem in the promotion of thedefence view. Service interests, service needs and service power continued to dominatethe Nigerian military structure, frustrating all efforts to establish a rational system ofstrategic planning, force development, resource allocation and collective military co-ordination throughout the period of military rule. The limited attempt made towardscentral coordination during the civilian rule between 1979 – 1984 was hobbled by thecombination of civilian inexperience and military’s continued inter-servicerivalries.(Abubakar, 1985)Institutional Decomposition & Organisational Dysfunction – 1970 – 1999) The implications of military involvement in politics however went beyonddefective defence organisation and management. One aspect that deserves aparticular examination is the impact of military coups on corporate professionalismand institutional decomposition. By their very nature, coups are high-risk ventures, 9
    • which in their success or abortion almost always result in the loss of perpetrators ortheir targets, or both. The persistence of coups and the decimation of the officer corpshad a negative impact on the profession and invariably, national security. Forexample, the 1966 coups saw the loss of at least two thirds of the officer corps; theabortive 1976 coups led to the execution of 116 military men, police officers andcivilians; the 1986 alleged coup resulted in the deaths of some of the countrys bestpilots, and this in part led to the near total decimation of the air-force under GeneralBabangida, a situation which further resulted in the avoidable deaths of 150 militaryofficers in a defective C-130 Transport plane crash in 1991. The April 1990 coup ledto the deaths of at least fifty military officers. Altogether, no fewer than 400 officerslost their lives in or as a result of coup detats since 1970. In addition to the lossoccasioned via executions was the scale and intensity of premature retirements,unexpected dismissals and rank inflation that resulted from abortive or successfulcoups. Ordinarily, retirements and promotions in the military establishment is aroutine thing. Yet despite the surface plausibility of “routine exercise”, “naturalattrition” or “declining productivity”, that accompanied the dismissals and promotionsof this period, the overwhelming consensus was one of an overtly politicallymotivated exercise.6 By the time General Abacha died in June 1998, the military institution hadsuffered seriously from this blatant disregard of its structure and procedures and nofewer than 300 members of the officer corps had lost their commission in the courseof these haphazard retirements and dismissals during General Abacha’s five yeartenure. The flip side of the above situation was the excessively rapid promotions thataccompanied them which tended to create false expectations through rank inflationand this had other implications for the countrys security as commanders keptchanging and not enough time was given for familiarization in command and staffposts, the overall consequences of which was acute disorientation, institutionaldecomposition and organizational dysfunction among the rank and file. At anotherlevel, the political careerism resulting from successful coups also engenderedresentment, rivalry and lack of cohesion amongst the officer corps. Thus,organizational dysfunction in the Nigerian military organization resulted primarilyfrom this political involvement. Both played a mutually reinforcing role in theirimpact on professionalism and institutional cohesion as well as the image of themilitary with the civilian population. In the end, the political military failed to govern 10
    • effectively, and in the process lost its institutional and collegial coherence in thepolitics of personal patronage that ensued. The most pertinent implication of this decomposition is the de-institutionalisation of the military exemplified by the move from its collegial andinstitutional agenda to the personalisation of political and military power, a variety ofmeasures were utilised. In the early days of military rule, extensive consultation andregular feedbacks within the military constituency was the rule rather than theexception and the institutions established for the decision-making processes did notfunction as mere rubber stamps for the whims and caprices of the military junta’shead. Although the sheer force of personality and charisma of the leader influencedthe way his personal agenda cohered with the institutional project (General MurtalaMohammed was the best example of this), the institutional agenda prevailed for muchof the period preceding the Babangida regime in 1985. Right from the way he choseto be addressed as ‘President’ hitherto restricted to elected leaders, rather than the lowkey and traditional ‘Head of State’ to the regime’s political economy project, itbecame evident early on that the institutional project had lost out to personal whim. This breakdown in institutional cohesion and espirit de corps in the context ofthe personalised nature of rule, especially under Generals Babangida and Abacha alsohad another strategy ingrained in it. Unlike in the past when it was anathema forserving officers to stake a claim to permanent political participation, many began toraise the stakes for constitutionalising military involvement in politics in aninstitutional sense. Various institutional designs were discussed, implemented anddiscarded for furthering this political project, the most prominent being theestablishment of an Armed Forces Consultative Council(a military legislature ofsorts), comprising of officers from the rank of Colonels and above as a GeneralAssembly of military officers that fed into the ruling Armed Forces Ruling Council-the pre-eminent decision making body. Another design was that of establishing a military party. Military officers andcivilian intellectuals were assigned the task of studying a variety of institutionalisedmilitary political party projects. Prominent models that attracted the regime’s attentionincluded the Nasserist/Baathist models in Egypt, Syria and Iraq as well as thefoundational regimes in Latin America and South East Asia.7 Although it was 11
    • General Babangida who put in motion the idea of constructing a military party, it washis military successor, General Abacha who eventually implemented the blueprint andthrough the brazen creation of artificial political parties. At the time of his death, allthe five parties in the so-called democratic transition project had "unanimously"adopted General Abacha as the presidential candidate. Although there was strongopposition to this phoney democratisation project in civil society, it is no exaggerationthat General Abacha had the presidency within sights even if his ascension might haveresulted in a more violent period in the country. At the street level, the manner of rule also delegitimised any credibility thatmilitary rule might have gained with the Nigerian population in the early years. TheBabangida regime dented the residual faith in the military institution in the face of thepoverty-grinding structural adjustment programme and the regime’s annulment of the1993 elections. In a country where market reforms have been unleashed on thepopulation by military fiat, and the regime in power had institutionalised rent-seekingas a legitimate instrument of governance, these essentially economic trends werereproduced at the political level in the manner in which the state functioned in itsrelations with civil society, creating a psyche of militarism and promoting the viewthat the country was up for grabs by the highest bidder. The seeds of latter-daymilitarism in civil society were largely sown during this period and the subsequentmilitary government headed by General Abacha. One of the most deleterious consequences of the de-institutionalisation of themilitary was the institution’s loss of monopoly over the means of coercion andmanagement of violence in the Nigerian state. One critical factor this loss could betraced to is the gradual and quite surreptitious disengagement of other securityagencies that were hitherto subsumed within the military hierarchy – especially as themilitary moved to a more personalised form of rule. For example, the rise ininfluence of military intelligence and associated bodies became directly proportionalto the loss of influence by the ‘constitutional’ military as a corporate institution andthe Defence Ministry as the bureaucratic institution responsible for accountability,leading to the development of an alternative power-centre around thesecurity/intelligence networks and used by successive rulers to undermine the militaryinstitution in order to retain political power. What suffered most in the process wasthe weakening of accountability and absence of transparent security sector 12
    • governance. As now evident from the public hearings of the Human Rights ViolationsInvestigations Commission, these extra-military intelligence units became a law untothemselves and ‘agents of insecurity’7 Another legacy of this thirty year involvement in politics is what we havereferred to elsewhere as the creation of Nigerias "bureaucratic-economic militariat"(Fayemi, 1999), which could be traced to the central role of the military in the controland management of Nigerias post civil war oil wealth, especially after thepromulgation of the Indigenisation Decrees of 1972 and 1977.8 If one traced thepersonal, political and financial links of business individuals associated with themilitary prior to their exit from government and after the return of the civilians in1979, the emerging trend of a network comprising the military, the civilianbureaucracy and the business elite became immediately apparent.9 Although thisstarted largely as a pursuit of personal wealth as an increasing number of retiredsenior military officers ... combine chairmanships/directorships of their own privatebusinesses, with part-time appointments to key governmental posts and parastatalsrelating to agriculture, commerce, and industry, in addition to interlockingdirectorships of many foreign companies incorporated in Nigeria.10 In no time though,this pursuit of individual wealth set the tone for a conscious institutional programmeof wielding political influence and this further worsened the decomposition of themilitary institution, leaving its officers at the whim and caprices of the personal rulerand his patronage.11Wider implications in the Nigerian society The policies adopted to combat the economic difficulties that accompanied the1980s oil glut also suited the strategy of personalisation of rule. In fact, it wouldappear that structural adjustment policies couldn’t have been implemented without ameasure of personal rule that undermined consensus and consultation within the widersociety. As the country became sucked into the vortex of structural adjustmentprogramme under General Babangida, the elevation of finance over industrial capitalrepresented the most significant feature of the period. Short term monetarist policiesof exchange rate devaluation, removal of subsidies, sale of state enterprises, freeing ofprices and generalised deflationary policies took precedence over structural reform ofthat debilitating economy which was the favoured national consensus for addressing 13
    • the problem at the time. Deregulation ensured that the financial sector became theonly growth sector with interest rates determined by speculators and the militarycontrolling a large share of finance capital. At the same time, agriculture,manufacturing and industry experienced severe distress due to low capacityutilisation. By 1993 when Babangida left office, Nigeria was among the 20 poorestcountries in the world (The World Bank, 1994). The situation worsened under theAbacha regime; GNP grew only by 2.8 percent in 1994, inflation ran at over 60percent just as the country experienced exponential unemployment growth rate andthe Nigerian naira virtually collapsed – with all of these sowing the seeds ofincreasing violence in civil society. Indeed, in the larger society, privatisation exacerbated the prebendal politicswith its attendant pressure on ethnic relations as many who lost out in the scheme ofthings – especially from resource laden regions of the country, in the Niger Delta, forexample, concluded that the overwhelming power of the centre was responsible fortheir worsening economic fate. But if these tendencies were simply limited to thegovernment, it would be less disturbing. By institutionalising favouritism andcorruption as legitimate instruments of governance, the military regime headed byGeneral Babangida also succeeded in breeding a myriad of anti-democratic practicesreproduced regularly in the world view of the ordinary Nigerian, either in the form ofa common belief that everyone had a price, or in the disappearance of loyalty to theState as militarism became embedded in the psyche of the average individual. Under his successor, the Nigerian economy became a personal fiefdom. Thediminution of any official pretence of a collegial facade which military rulers alwaysprojected was total by the time General Abacha died in June 1998. Unlike GeneralBabangida who parcelled out the State to friends and mentors within the military andpolitical society with a view to consolidating his political base, General Abacha keptthe spoils of office for himself and his family, a coterie of his security apparatus –mostly from his ethnic base, thus leading many to see a link between his economicand political project and that of his ethnic base amongst the Hausa-Fulani-Kanuripolitical elite. The context of his plundering of the national wealth in which thepresumed winner of the 1993 election and several other political and civil societyleaders were still being held in detention further fuelled the perception that the agendawas to use a complete control of the economy to ensure a firm grip on the political 14
    • terrain. The fact that he made a conscious effort of ignoring the military institution12,which ordinarily ought to have provided the cover for his political project,strengthened the notion that he had the aim of destroying the military as an institution,exacerbate ethnic tensions and shut out the international community from the countryin other to consolidate the state decomposition project. In themselves, these manifold legacies of military politics constitute majorchallenges that need to be grappled with in improving civil-security relations, butperhaps what is more problematic is their impact on state legitimacy – especially inthe context of political transition to the extent that security sector restructuring isdependent on overall state restructuring. The context within which this has takenplace in Nigeria’s democratising polity is worthy of elaboration.II. State Legitimacy, Political Reform and Impact on Civil-Security RelationsThe pacted nature of Nigeria’s 1999 transition and the faustian bargains with the departingmilitary which produced a post-transition political configuration which looked more likea re-packaged space for controlled clientelistic politics than a fundamental restructuringof power dented the belief that a political reform project was in place. The fact thatAfrica’s experience of pacted transitions have not necessarily led to consolidateddemocracies nor enhanced state legitimacy, especially in places where the ethos,language and character of public discourse have been completely militarised or incountries where the nation-building project remains unfinished was repeatedlyrecalled by those who felt democratic consolidation will require more of nationalrestructuring than electoral democracy.While scholars of democratic transition in countries emerging from prolongedauthoritarian past have stressed the virtues of sequencing and argued that any openingfor democracy can, at best, be a means to an end, an instrumental response to a multi-faceted crisis, hence there is merit in occupying, rather than boycotting, an emergingspace, no matter how limited, (Geddes, 1998), a significant number of critics ofNigeria’s embrace of military transition in 1999 cautioned against misconstruing re-packaged space for ‘entrenching militarism’ as a new space for democratic endeavour.These critics also argued that unless the fundamental issue of the constitutionalarrangements and structure of Nigeria’s federalism was subjected to an open and 15
    • transparent discussions amongst stakeholders, state legitimacy would always remainin doubt amongst disaffected communities within the nation state.State legitimacy by its very nature derives from a combination of objective andsubjective realities in the lives of the average citizen. Although popular acceptance ofthe government helps, legitimacy can also emerge from an incremental, rather than anabsolute acceptance of a ruling government from the outset. In the case of the civiliangovernment in Nigeria, there is evidence to suggest that confidence in the governmentincreased incrementally in the first year in office (Afrobarometer, 2000), but the samesurvey also revealed that this dipped in 2001 following repeated perception on the partof the populace that the government has not done enough to enhance state legitimacy.More often than not, legitimacy is mostly enhanced in situations where the state hasthe capacity to provide efficient and well functioning institutions and infrastructuresof government – legally backed and socially coherent – that together establish andmaintain an enabling environment in which human security and human developmenttakes place.Whilst many Nigerians were happy to see the back of the military, the fact that thepolitical transition was a product of a militarily imposed constitution hardly helpedmatters in a country where militarism and dissatisfaction with military rule havecombined to raise the level of tension and communal conflicts. Indeed, the hostility tothe old military State encouraged an outright rejection of the 1999 militaryconstitution. Instead, various constituencies clamoured for a new constitution that ispeople driven and process led – aimed at reconstituting the Nigerian State alongequitable, transparent, socially responsible and just lines in the post military era. Atevery level in the Nigerian State, the idea has taken root that for the State to gainlegitimacy; it must be refashioned to reflect the realities of their multifacetedsocieties.Although the new government recognised the merit of the arguments about a defectivefederal structure arising out of an imposed constitution, it also saw the clamour as achallenge to its own legitimacy; hence it refused to consider calls for a nationalconference to debate and agree a new constitution. Instead, it established a technicalcommittee to review the constitution and submit recommendations to the President tobe tabled before the Parliament. Although the committee reported accurately the depth 16
    • of disaffection in its report to the president, it recommendations largely stuck to thestatus-quo of centralised authority with no recognition for the various communities’clamour for power de-concentration. Against the background of conflicts in almostevery section of the country and campaign in civil society for a more inclusiveconstitution making process that is independent of the state machinery; the governmentwent ahead to foreclose freedom of association at the level of political participation,imposing extra conditions for political party formation in a recent Electoral Act. All ofthese measures have combined to further erode regime and state legitimacy and, asunjustifiable as communal violence is amongst the larger population, government’sactions is seen as directly linked to communal violence.The unsettled nation-building project has continued to put overwhelming pressure oncivil-security relations as the government resorts at the slightest opportunity to the useof security agencies, especially the army, to curb violent opposition to state violence.Whilst majority of Nigerians continue to deplore violence as a means of resolvingpolitical conflict(Afrobarometer, 2001), more than two thirds of the population stillconsider the Nigerian constitution defective and the current structure unsatisfactory.Caught in this context between the wider population and the political leadership hasbeen the security forces used in curbing political opposition, and gaining further denton an already uncomplimentary image among the wider population.Fundamental therefore to the improvement of civil-security relations is the agreement ona constitutional document that is not merely a legal instrument with no standing with thepeople - one that is seen as a tool for bridge-building between the ordinary citizen andthe state. Yet in order to enhance state legitimacy grounded in human rights and goodgovernance, an organic link is needed between the constitution as a rule of lawinstrument primarily concerned with restraining government excesses, and theconstitution as a legitimation of power structures and relations based on a broad socialconsensus in a diverse society such as Nigeria. This, observers believe, will enhance stateby restoring trust in the State whilst arresting desertion from it.To date, it seems the lack of clarity and decisiveness in the political reform project bythe political leadership, both in terms of its capacity to listen to a wide variety ofviews in society and in terms of managing precarious and delicate relationshipsbetween political actors and the wider population that represents the crux of theproblem. At its base has been the fundamental issue of proper governance in the 17
    • country generally, and the security sector in particular and how civilian and militaryleaders handle policy differences between them in their relationship with the widerpopulation. It is also about the extent to which partisan politics sets the agenda forsecurity sector reform and the place of professional autonomy in the civilian controlof the military. Equally central is the limits of objective civilian control that is notdriven by democratic governance. Within the context of civil security relations, onecan identify a number of separate and sometimes intertwined areas in which clarityand consensus on the part of political and military leaders will significantly improvecivil-security relations. These include: a) Role and Mission of the military and othersecurity actors based on a shared understanding of the threat environment; b)government’s commitment to military professionalism; c) professional autonomy overmilitary matters; and d) role of international actors in military reform programme.III. Key issues at stake in civil-security relationsa) Role and Mission of the Military A military mission gives an indication of the threat a nation must deal withand its location in relation to that threat. Is it internal, external or both? A‘missionless’ military poses a great danger in relation to its primary role as a defenderof the nation’s territorial integrity and it is really the responsibility of the civilian,political leadership to define the role of the military after due consultation with allstakeholders in society, including the military. Granted this is not always adetermination based on an ‘objective’ assessment of the threat environment, but giventhe stated commitment of the new administration to a professional military, themilitary had hoped that the exercise in search of military mission in the immediateaftermath of a discredited era would be subjected to a measure of professionalassessment and confidence building. Given the pacted nature of the political transition, which produced an ex-military General with significant support from the military constituency, the civilsociety saw the government initially as an extension of military rule by other means.The president’s initial moves however surprised many and he was able to turn thelimited expectation of change and the perceived lack of room for manoeuvre to anadvantage. The appointment of service chiefs on the day he came into office - gave a 18
    • strong impression of a government committed to military professionalism anddetermined to ensure civilian supremacy. Yet, there was no clear articulation of thenew administration’s agenda with regards to the mission of the military, beyond thegeneral statement on the need for a professional military. Instead, it appeared that thepolitical leadership came prepared with its own pre-conceived notions about what todo with a military and there was a strong hint that it felt the solution lay in reducingthe size of the military without any objective assessment of the threat environmentand the capability of the institution. Although it later balked at this original intention to reduce the size of themilitary and the president even publicly disagreed with his Defence Minister that sucha decision was taken, the military leadership still felt that various actions taken weredriven by a desire to ‘tame’ the institution. In spite of these initial misgivings, themilitary leadership embraced the new administration’s declared commitment toprofessionalism enthusiastically. This was partly due to the quality of the militaryleadership and the recognition on their part that reforms were not only desirable, butalso essential following years of decay. But the continued lack of clarity over themission of the military was soon tested when the army was ordered into the NigerDelta town of Choba and Odi in Rivers State barely five months after the governmentcame into office. Whilst many, including the army chief, believe that the militarymission should be restricted to an external, combat role such as peace-keeping(perhaps influenced by his celebrated role as the Field Commander of ECOMOG inLiberia) as a means of strengthening civil-military relations and re-orienting themilitary towards a more professional outlook, security chiefs like the NationalSecurity Adviser, insist that internal security operations could not be ignored since theconstitution is clear on the need for the military to act in aid to civil authorities, “interms of suppressing insurrection and …to restore order when called upon to do so bythe President”(Section 217 c of the 1999 Constitution). For many of the officers keen on redeeming the battered image of theirprofession, a focus on the external with a clearly defined role and mission inpeacekeeping is critical to removing the military from politically tainted projectsinternally. The involvement of the military in Odi, Bayelsa State in November 1999brought this into clear relief and these officers argued that if the military must getinvolved in internal security operations, proper criteria would need to be drawn up for 19
    • evaluating their involvement in such non-combat operations. The spate of civildisturbances and the seeming inability of the police to handle these problems left thepresident with little or no alternative when requested by states in crisis to send troopsto suppress insurrection. This lack of clarity was exacerbated by the most recent crisisin Benue State in which the whole village of Zaki-Biam was flattened and several ofits inhabitants killed during reprisal attacks by soldiers who had lost colleagues incommunal strife in the Middle Belt of Nigeria. To underscore the seriousness of the crisis, the Chief of Army StaffConference(COAS) held in Kaduna in November 2001 had its focus on ‘the role ofthe army in internal operations.’ As though to foreclose the robust debate expected atthe conference of all army officers, the president declared the conference opened bysaying that his government will continue to use the military as it deemed fit, both ininternal and external operations. Although the conference still had a full and frankdiscussion of the issues with many officers insisting that the military code withregards to internal operations must be effectively implemented, if they must continueto join such operations, others still felt that the solution lies in enhancing the capacityof the police and other civilian enforcement agencies. As discussed below, the current capacity of the civil policing institutionsunderscores why the government feels it is irresponsible to restrict the military topurely external threats in a situation where the threat environment indicates thatinternal threats are larger than the external threats that the nation faces. Yet, there isno doubt that the nature of governmental response to the various regional andcommunal crises may very well be responsible for fuelling the belief in the efficacy offorce in conflict management, rather than emphasising the place of proper governancein the security sector.13 Although this is the most pertinent issue that has brought the question ofmilitary mission to the fore, the lack of clarity on military mission has generated moredebate inside and outside the military in terms of the developmental role of theinstitution in peacetime. There are strong advocates on both sides – those who believethat the only way the military could justify the expenditure consumed would be toutilise its developmental role in peacetime. On the other side of the debate are thosewho strongly believe that involving the military in anything other than its primary 20
    • duty of defending the realm is a recipe for unstable civil-military relations. Theproblem with the debate on military mission lay in the inability or reluctance of thegovernment to institute a strategic defence review exercise that is wide-ranging andinclusive which seeks to analyse the mission of the military within the context of thepolitical and threat environment. Although the Defence ministry has since undertakena defence review to guide the country’s defence policy with a view to clarifyingmilitary role and mission, the ownership of the process remains questionable and theissue of military mission remains unclear.14 (b) Commitment to Military professionalism The lack of clarity about the role and mission of the military has affected thedirection of the re-professionalisation agenda. Although the government hasstrenuously avoided the use of military restructuring, preferring the more neutralreorientation and re-professionalisation of the military, the thrust of its programmefrom inception betrayed a certain direction. As evident from the speech made at theNational War College on September 10, 1999, the Vice President, Atiku Abubakarpromised a "comprehensive transformation of the Armed Forces into an institutionable to prove its worth". According to him, this transformation will include: • Continuation of rationalisation, downsizing, and right-sizing to allow the military shed its "dead-woods" as well as discard obsolete equipment. • Re-equipping the services and upgrading soldiers welfare, albeit within limits of budgetary allocation; • Reversing the harm inflicted on military-civilian relations by years of military rule through measures to subordinate the military to the democratically constituted authority; • Building, rehabilitating and strengthening the relationship between the Nigerian military and the rest of the world, especially African countries, following years of diplomatic isolation and sanctions. 21
    • Although the word "demobilisation" was avoided, it was clear thateuphemisms like "down-sizing" and "right-sizing" meant precisely that and there wasno doubt that years of military involvement in politics had impacted negatively onmilitary professionalism. Indeed - the Defence Minister, Lt.General TY Danjuma wasless diplomatic and actually stated that military be pruned by at least 30,000 men fromcurrent strength.(Daily Times, July 29, 1999), although the President was morediplomatic when he said the government was yet to make up its mind on questions ofdemobilisation and that the military was always shedding "dead wood", hence therewas nothing significant about demobilisation. Again, because the desire fordemobilisation and or rationalisation was not based on any informed analysis, themilitary was able to argue for maintenance of current force strength. Indeed, byDecember 2000, the Defence Minister had turned full circle and acknowledged thatthe government had decided against demobilisation because of the ‘multifariouscommitments of the military…the Armed Forces even have commitments for themaintenance of law and order in this country.’15 It would appear that this shift in the official position has been informed partlyby the perennial concerns over recruitment and representativeness in the armed forces,hence the wariness in government circles to confront it openly. The strong even ifunsubstantiated perception of a disproportionate recruitment of Northerners into theNigerian military on the one hand set against the view that ‘Northern’ officers werebeing victimised under the current dispensation was one the government had torespond to. Indeed, the erstwhile retirement of "political" officers by the newgovernment was clearly perceived in affected circles as a response to the demand to"right-size" the perceived dominance of the military institution by Northerners.Although, none of this could stand up to rigorous independent analysis, in a poisonedpolitical atmosphere, it was easy for unsubstantiated claims of marginalisation to gainpolitical currency. Yet the question of an appropriate size for the military, especially at a time ofdeclining national resources, must be seen in an institutionally open and transparentmanner and through a process of confidence building and conflict management basedon objective threat assessment. For example, if the military mission is primarilycoastal - protection of offshore economic interests, and external - peacekeeping duties,the question must be asked: is the personnel currently emphasised in the armed forces 22
    • order of battle suitable for the types of missions the military will be called to respondto? Are the manpower levels cost-effective, and most importantly, does theinstitutional recruitment process procure individuals that are wholly dedicated to theirmilitary duties, in a reliable and efficient manner? Put more graphically, if anobjective threat assessment reveals that internal threats are the dominant threats to thecountry, should the armed forces be the answer to this or a properly equipped, welltrained, civil policing arrangement. If the questions of demobilisation can be resolved along these lines, central tothe issue of military recruitment in terms of military professionalism are then threekey questions: Should the Nigerian armed forces in a democratic dispensation be anequal opportunities institution? Should it be a combat effective, battle ready forcerecruited from the most able in the most rigorous and competitive manner? Should themanner of recruitment matter - if the training is standardised and geared towardsbringing out the best in every recruit? Although the above are the rational questions towhich answers must be found, there is no evidence to suggest that you cannot have anequal opportunities military that is professionally competent and up to the task ofdefending the territorial integrity of the nation whilst satisfying the ethno-religiousbalance and the demands for representation necessary in a diverse democratisingpolity. The fact that the government had not shown enough political direction inaddressing these questions earned it criticisms from the military. Critical to the re-professionalisation of the armed forces as far as the military was concerned is theability of the State to provide efficient and well functioning institutions andinfrastructures and an enabling environment for their constitutional tasks to beaccomplished. The former Chief of Army Staff, General Victor Malu aptly capturedthe feeling of the military constituency in a an unusually scathing interview: “Having come out of very many years of neglect because of our mismanagement, we expected that the civilian government was going to address issues…Unfortunately, from June 1999 to date, we haven’t got anything meaningful to assist us in the process of professionalisation. Our training institutions have not improved, the training aids with which we conduct the training to reprofessionalise have not been provided; the situation 23
    • in the barracks has not changed; as a matter of fact, it has deteriorated…we did not get anything done last year by way of capital projects and we thought these were the things we were supposed to do if we are going to improve on our well being to keep busy in the act of re-professionalising…” While General Malu’s views above reflect the feeling of despondency bothwithin the military hierarchy and the rank and file, it is hardly fair to blame thecivilian government for the years of neglect; even less so to expect the President andhis team to change this anomaly in two and a half years in office. What is at issue isthe lack of shared understanding about the problem and the lack of ownership of there-professionalisation process even by the elected representatives of the people, not tomention the military professionals to be affected by it. The feeling is rife within themilitary as it is in civil society that two years of civilian governance ought to havesignificantly improved their conditions. Unlike in civil society however, where thesethings are expressed daily in the public domain, they have simmered underneath thesurface in the military, partly due to the nature of the institution but mainly due to themilitary’s credibility deficit with the Nigerian people who blame all soldiers for themess the country is in. Linked to military professionalism concerns is the worry about professionalautonomy over military matters. The military leadership is of the view that thepolitical leadership must respect professional autonomy in spite of the temptation towant to display a messianic knowledge on military matters. In their view, while it isappropriate for their political masters to set the framework for issues such as size,shape, organisation, force structure, weapons procurement and conditions of serviceon the one hand, it is inappropriate for the presidency or the Ministry of Defence toalso want to take operational control over these strategic issues. To the militaryleaders, even if the final decision lies with the political leadership, success can onlycome in a climate of sustained dialogue and interaction between the civilian, politicalleadership and the military hierarchy. Unfortunately, for much of the last two years,the political leadership in the Ministry has not paid sustained and adequate attention tothe issues of professionalisation. Even the decision to appoint service ministers forthe Army, navy and the air-force has undermined the platform of the Chief of DefenceStaff meant to coordinate the activities of the services – already diminished byGeneral Malu’s seeming disrespect for the occupant. It has actively promoted inter- 24
    • service rivalries as each Minister pushes the case of his or her service rather thanenhance a common understanding of the role and mission of the armed forces.Equally, blatant disagreement between the military leaders and the political leadersover roles and responsibilities has affected the unity of purpose expected of theseactors. While the mistaken notion that civilians have no business in militaryoperational matters is rife in the military, and the civilian bureaucracy in the Ministryof Defence is seen to be largely deficient, it is also true that the military generallyrespects civilians who they are convinced will make the effort to understand theinstitution and their needs. As General Malu deprecatingly observed, “Just becauseyou’re in the Ministry of Defence doesn’t mean you know exactly how the militaryoperates”.16 The irony of course is that military officers do not often make theconnection that the lack of knowledgeable civilians in the defence ministry is theeffect of the deliberate policy of populating the Ministry with soldiers when themilitary was in power. Even, middle ranking positions, which should have been heldby civilians, were turned into staff offices for undeployable but politically connectedofficers who refused to go to the field. Indeed, throughout the period the military wasin power, not only were civilians working in the MoD employed independently by thevarious services, (hardly the feature in other ministries where they were centrallyrecruited) at least 90% of the civilian staff belonged to the junior grade. Even the lessthan 10% in professional grade played no crucial role in defence policy deliberations,thus creating a vacuum in the knowledge base of civilians about the military. Having acknowledged the fact that military involvement in politics hasundermined military professionalism, it also ought to be stated that respecting theprofessional autonomy of the military in a civilian dispensation should not meanabdication of responsibility on the part of the civilian, political leadership if civilmilitary relations is to thrive. This is the paradox of objective civilian control. Whileit allows the military to concentrate on military matters and minimise its involvementin political issues, the logic of it also delimits civilian control over military matters.Hence, when layers of civilian bureaucracy are imposed on the military, it seems clearthat this is bound to generate tensions no matter how well intentioned this might be. What has become clear in the civilian leadership attempt to re-professionalise 25
    • the military is that measures taken by government still appeared to have focussed onthe dominant ‘western’ model of civil-military relations, which assumes a levelplaying field in which ‘autonomous military professionalism’ can be predicated on‘objective civilian control’, one that encourages an ‘independent military sphere’ thatdoes not ‘interfere in political matters’, but not a political sphere that respectsmilitary’s professional autonomy. In reality, this perspective treats civilian control asan event, a fact of political life, not a process that has to be negotiated within acontinuum, especially in a country emerging from prolonged authoritarian rule. Byviewing civilian control as a set of technical and administrative arrangements thatautomatically flow from the post military transition, the government and itsfunctionaries ignores complex political processes, which must address the root causesof militarism in society, beyond the formal removal of the military from politicalpower or the retirement of politically tainted officers. Therefore, there is a need to redefine the notion of the a-political military - anotion that has been central to the discourse of the dominant civil military relationsliterature. In Nigeria where the military has become entrenched in all facets of civicand economic life and where politics has just featured a reconfiguration rather than atransformation of power as argued above, anchoring the need for an objective civiliancontrol to the notion of an a-political military underestimates the seriousness of theissues at stake. While formal mechanisms for control are not in themselves wrong, thereality underpinning Nigerias crisis of governance in the last two and half years ofcivilian rule explains why subordination of the armed forces to civil control can onlybe achieved when civil control is seen as part of complex democratic struggle thatgoes beyond elections and beyond subordination to the presidency, but also otheroversight institutions. (Williams, 1998; Fayemi, 1998). These processes areexpressions of institutional relationships that are inherently political, subjective, andpsychological.13 and it is only when the political and psychological issues arising outof military involvement in politics are grasped that objective control mechanisms cantake its place in the democratic governance of the military. One innovative way ofintegrating both objective control mechanisms and subjective political andpsychological issues into a vision of change that is transformatory is the use to whichthe constitution is put in the quest for governance in the security sector. The fact thatmany of these steps are taken with no discussion as to the precise nature of securitythat the citizens desire also explains the increased level of dislillusionment with the 26
    • seeming inability of the civilian government to address the festering security threatswithin the political environment, still fuelled by the perception of the military as anunrepresentative ‘agency of insecurity’. It might seem odd, but communities nowstrongly believe that the best way to promote their interests is to either campaign forthe regionalisation of the armed forces or get as many of their own into the officercorps as a mechanism for promoting their world view.17(c) The emergence of the ethnic-regional factor in the armed forces In discussing the emergence of the ethnic-regional factor in the Nigeriansecurity structure, it is important to start by underscoring the fact thatrepresentativeness was not overly critical in the establishment and recruitmentprocess into the colonial army. Hence, a division of labour emerged in which the rankand file soldiers came from so-called martial race, mostly from northern minorityethnic groups, whilst the officer corps in which the forces needed fairly well educatedmen, was dominated by southern ethnic groups.18 This early pattern of recruitmentwas replicated in the post-independence armed forces. Clearly, the political elite ofthe immediate post-independence era was very sensitive to the fact that two-thirds ofthe officers by 1962 were from the South (and mainly Ibo), hence the 1962 quotapolicy was aimed at redressing the imbalance already dominant in the officer ranks.19Events surrounding the political crisis that culminated in the civil war in 1967exacerbated the ethnic-regional feature of the Nigerian military, even at a time when itwas the best example of a national institution in the unfinished nation-buildingproject. In particular, the loss of at least two thirds of the officer corps from the Eastcontributed largely to the secessionist plans of Lt Colonel Ojukwu, especially after theassassination of General Ironsi, the Supreme Commander of the Nigerian ArmedForces at the time. The end of the civil war in 1970 offered the opportunity to redress perceivedimbalance and the subsequent introduction of ‘federal character’ in recruitment thatguaranteed equality of opportunity into military institutions helped in this regard.However, the involvement of the military in politics continued to strengthen theunitary characteristics of Nigeria’s federal structure and seriously weakened the verybasis of Nigeria’s federalism. From the creation of twelve states out of the erstwhilefour regions in 1967as a way strengthening the federal centre in the wake of the civil 27
    • war, by the time the military left government in 1999, the country had thirty-six states– mostly weak and inevitably dependent on the strong centre for its survival – thusdefeating the agenda of autonomy that the states were also meant to serve. This led tothe growing campaign for the deconcentration of power at the centre as the politics ofidentity gained more legitimacy in the wake of a failed citizenship and nationalistproject. The fact that the power-wielders at the Centre also lacked legitimacycontributed to the perception of the military as a fake national institution used topromote particular ethnic, religious and political interests. The fact that there had beenno clear resolution of the national question made the perception of ethnic/regionaltension more palpable. Indeed, while the military rulers continued to project anationalist outlook, the alliance used in sustaining the military in power lookedincreasingly regional or even ethnic to the casual observer. This failure to resolve the nationality question in an inclusive manner isevident in the rise of militant non-state actors and their varied responses acrosscountry to conflicts over identity, nationality, self-determination and autonomy.(SeeTable 1) The introduction of Sharia in many of the Northern states (the recent killingsin Jos over the ‘native’ and ‘settler’ disputes), the rising tide of ethno-nationalism (theOPC and Egbesu Boys uprisings), and arguments over the control of state and federalresources (particularly in the Niger Delta) are all examples of the troubled nation-building project with its attendant impact on civil-military relations. This increasingprivatisation of violence in the country represents one of the main challenges to thereform of the military institution and the eventual transformation of the securitystructure. While most Nigerians remain committed to the principles of a federal union,it is clear that the nation-state as it is constituted remains a source of violent conflict.The failure of the various institutional mechanisms adopted to manage diversity anddifference – federal character principle, quota system, rotational presidency andpolitical zoning, to mention just a few – is an indication of a lack of social contractbetween the governors and the people with a view to devising politically legitimateand inclusive mechanisms that are consensus-driven. Many Nigerians now questionthe country’s future, especially if left in the hands of a centralised State. Thechallenge identified by the variety of conflicts across the country, especially since theexit of the military, is however not a negation of the need for institutional processes toaddress this drift from nationalism to balkanisation, but a call for processes that arebottom-up and people driven, rather than those simply imposed by military fiat in the 28
    • quest to prove ‘strong leadership’. Yet even as one acknowledges the clear perception that the national questionremains unresolved thus fuelling a regional-ethnic military outlook, it is important tomake a distinction between the character of the military in government and themilitary as an institution. While the military in government clearly looked ‘regional’and ‘ethnic’, the military organisation continued to show evidence of even-handedness in recruitment as an institution. However, it is the perception that thenational military is not there to serve the interests of all Nigerians that underscores theprevalence of private armies and militias, mostly formed along ethnic and regionallines in defence of particular interests. It is to this last legacy of military rule, andperhaps the most worrying due to the growth in societal and structural violence and itsimpact on civil-military relations that we now turn.(d) Non-State actors, Societal militarisation and violence From the foregoing analysis, years of military rule imposed enormous costs onthe Nigerian people. But perhaps the most enduring of all the legacies bequeathed isthe level of militarism and societal violence that has become rife in the country. Inspite of the various steps embarked upon by the civilian government since it assumedpower, the intensity of conflict in the country in the last two years underscore whymilitary restructuring can only take its proper place within the context ofinstitutionalised national restructuring. (See Table 1 above) Whilst this paper cautions against the treatment of military disengagement as asolution to societal violence, it is important to note that military disengagement frompolitics represents an important first step towards democratic control, even if it doesnot equate with or immediately translate to civilian, democratic control. From theevidence available in Nigeria, formal military disengagement has widened the spacewithin which concrete democratic reform and security sector restructuring is possibleand sustainable but it has also thrown up various centrifugal fissures, reopened oldwounds hitherto festering under the surface and generated new forms of conflicts inthe country. Some of the conflicts have antecedents in old native-settler animosities,but many are resource-driven, spurred by perceptions of unequal distribution ofgovernment resources. Equally, incidents of aggression, impatience, and competition 29
    • arise in domestic violence and other family disputes, over petrol queues, in theconduct of motorists, and in the behaviour of the armed forces and police in dealingwith ordinary people.20 While the immediate causes of increased violence and crimereside in a perception of inequality in society, at root however is the loss of a cultureof compromise and accommodation in the resolution and management of conflicts.This point cannot be overemphasised: Nigerians lost their culture of dialogue in aperiod when militarization and the primacy of force had become state policy and itwill require a return to consensus based, rather than the current adversarial characterof politics, to regain that culture of dialogue. Even so, the context within which politics takes place also affects thelikelihood of a dialogue and consensus driven process. In a country where thepolitical leadership automatically forecloses certain issues as ‘non-negotiable’ or inNigeria’s local parlance – as ‘no-go areas’, it becomes difficult for those who wantthose options to be discussed, negotiated and bargained for, to regard imposedconstitutional principles as legitimate – especially where these principles are notderived from agreed societal values and norms, but simply imposed by those whohave the means to gain access to political power at the centre. Having broken free ofyears of repression and control under military rule, it is no surprise therefore thatconstituencies and communities have taken to heart the lesson of military rule – theuse of force as the bargaining chip for forcing negotiations of foreclosed agenda.Without seeking to justify these responses, it is important to understand the contextwithin which they occur. Yet for the country to attain stable civil-military relations, acritical task in consolidating Nigerias fragile democracy and rebuilding stable civil-military relations in the polity is reclaiming the militarised mind, which has been fedby a deep-seated feeling of social exclusion under military rule. Given the prevailingpolitical culture - bred by three decades of militarism and authoritarian control, thecurrent political transition only represents a reconfiguration of the political, economicand military elite, rather than an opening up of the political system and broadening ofparticipation. Indeed, what we have witnessed is the creation of "shadow military andsecurity hierarchy” in a certain sense. The greatest challenge in addressing the scourge of political militarismtherefore is addressing the psychology of militarism that has become reified in thecontext of Nigeria’s politics of exclusion. Herein lie the paradox of democratisation 30
    • and demilitarisation not just in Nigeria, but the rest of post-cold war Africa. Howattainable is a complete overhaul of politics from its military roots if the feeling ofexclusion is still prevalent and there are no institutional mechanisms in theconstitution to address the segmental edge that diversity and difference seem to begaining in the larger society. Whilst many believe that a variety of measures will haveto be utilised in dealing with the problem, a key approach that is gaining prominencein civil society is using the constitution not just as a rule of law document but as asocial compact between the rulers and the ruled – aimed at promoting inclusion in abody politic that has become so atomised and, in which the symbols, values, and ethosof the military are replicated in large sections of the civil-society.IV. Constitutionalising civil-security relations and security sector reform If the objective of creating a stable civil-security relations is to be achieved,particular attention must be paid to the principle of accountability of the military tothe people and their elected representatives. The location of the military in terms ofits accountability to the executive, the legislature and the wider society must beclarified in constitutional terms and promoted by the executive and legislativebranches of government. This is important for a number of reasons. First,accountability, transparency and openness have become fundamental constitutionaltenets and the Obasanjo administration has pushed accountability to the forefront ofits reform agenda. Second, as a national institution, the military relies on the publicfor support and sustenance in order to fulfil its constitutional mandate and given itsrecent history, the population remains sceptical of its commitment to accountabilityand transparency.21 Third, the notion that security matters reside exclusively in therealm of military constituency is one that is increasingly challenged by the broadenedand inclusive meaning of security in wider society. Hence, the view that issuesrelating to the armed forces and security services must be subjected to publicdiscourse is becoming not just acceptable but regarded as inevitable. Therefore, inpromoting accountability, it is now generally accepted that the public must have a sayas critical stakeholders in the shape and direction of security sector reform, includingon issues relating to democratic governance in the sector, its role and mission andorganisational coherence. Groups in civil society have therefore taken uponthemselves the need to broaden their knowledge of the security sector in order tocontribute to debates on conflict prevention, police and military reforms, criminal 31
    • justice system and international peacekeeping. One critical area in which civil society has taken this up is in terms ofconstitutionalising civil-security sector relations. Previous Nigerians constitutionshave tended to be unclear and simplistic about the armed forces and its role inSociety. Although Section 217(1) of the 1999 constitution stipulates the role andbroad functions of the Armed Forces: namely, defending Nigeria from externalaggression, maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders fromviolations on land, sea or air; acting in aid of civil authorities to help keep publicorder and internal security as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly;and performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the NationalAssembly, there was no attempt to reflect on the problems that arose from prolongedmilitary rule in the intervening period and what implications this might have on civil-security sector relations. While it is arguable that this broad depiction of the roles ofthe security forces gives the political authority enough flexibility to define what itnecessary at relevant periods, this generalised nature of the role and broad functionshas also been a problem. This has often been the case when civilians frequently lackknowledge and understanding of military affairs, and the apportioning of civilian andmilitary responsibilities often depend on the military itself, or on a small coterie ofelected civilian officials close to the President even during civil rule. In the case ofNigeria, this has led to a further lack of accountability and presidential control, ratherthan democratic governance of the security sector.Legislative Oversight & Democratic Governance of the Security Sector Given the burden of Nigeria’s authoritarian past and the loss of credibility bythe military, those knowledgeable about security issues in civil society felt electedcivilians should play a key role in military restructuring and redefinition of roles andmissions. This led to some conflicts between a section of the populace who contendthat legislative oversight should be central to democratic governance of the securitysector and others strongly of the opinion that presidential control is more effective. Aside from the fact that this has generated a frosty relationship between thelegislative and executive branches of government, the defence, police, security andintelligence committees of the two houses of parliament, have largely been irrelevant 32
    • as far as policy making and implementation on security matters are concerned, in spiteof the wide legislative powers at their disposal. Not only are they often unaware ofdevelopments in the security sector – perhaps due to lack of interest, but often becausethey have no independent means of investigating military proposals from theexecutive branch.22 There has been widespread agitation in civil society about theneed to constitutionalise in a comprehensive manner the role of the military and othersecurity actors in internal security issues, clarity in the use of emergency powers vis-à-vis the citizens’ non-derogable rights, the place of international human rights law inthe practice and professionalism of the military as well as on issues pertaining to therepresentativeness of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies. The currentreview of Nigerias constitution has provided an opportunity in civil society to re-examine the constitutional dimension of military matters and a clarification of the roleof the executive, the legislative branch, the military institution and other securityactors and the oversight functions in the wider society in ensuring a stable civil-military relations. On the issue that has become the most critical to the Nigerian public – thequest for an anti-coup strategy – they believe the current Nigerian constitution doeslittle justice to it. In the view of civil society observers, the most worrying clause inthe 1999 constitution is the subordination of the constitution to Section 315 (5)c of the1999 constitution, which states that the National Security Act (a body of principles,policies and procedures on the operation of the security agencies) remains in law andcannot be overridden by the constitution unless the legislature can muster two-thirdsof its membership to override it both at the national as well as state assemblies.Opponents are of the view that for an Act that came into being via a military decree tostill have this imposed legitimacy makes a mockery of the democratisation processand exposes the country to the whims and caprices of security agencies which operatelargely in the dark.23 Although Section 1(2) of the 1999 constitution stipulates that "The FederalRepublic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of personstake control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordancewith the provisions of this Constitution, the concern in civil society remains that astrict legal interpretation of Section 315 on the National Security Act indicates that theAct can override the constitution, in which case an interpretation of the above clause 33
    • could very well be that anyone who successfully removes a constitutional governmentvia the provisions of the National Security Act is acting in a constitutional, or at leastin a legal manner. Finally, beyond the focus on an anti-coup strategy – which is understandablebecause of the country’s history, the civil society has argued that attempts to redefinethe role and mission of the security forces most see security in a wider context andreflect a perspective that sees security and stability as the flip side of development.There is evidence to suggest that the current administration understands the link24 butthis thinking must be translated into policy.V. Demilitarising Public Order and the Role of Civilian Policing Given the threats posed by internal security problems since the newgovernment assumed office, the role of policing has been a subject of widespreaddebate in the country, especially against the backdrop of opposition to the use ofmilitary power in “aid of civil authority", the rise of "ethnic militias" in certainsections of the civil society, and the public perception of police inefficiency andcollusion with ‘agents of crime and insecurity’. On the one hand, the statutory dutiesand responsibilities of the Nigeria Police Force are clearly spelt out in Section 4 of thePolice Act of 1956 as follows:” prevention and detection of crime; apprehension ofoffenders; preservation of law and order; protection of life and property; dueenforcement of all laws and regulations which they are directly charged; andperformance of such military duties within and without Nigeria as may be required ofthem under the authority of the Police Act.” With 37 State Commands, 106 AreaCommands, 925 Police Divisions, 2,190 Police Stations throughout the country and120,000 police officers, the force clearly an acute manpower shortage. Whilst the UNstipulates a police-citizens ratio of 1:400, the ratio is currently 1:1,000 in Nigeria.Added to the gross personnel shortage is inadequate accommodation andtransportation, poor communication network; poorly funded training institutions; andinsufficient crime intelligence gathering capacity.25 There is no doubt that the Nigerian Police Force has witnessed a seriousdeterioration in the quality of the service it provides the average citizens undermilitary rule. Yet, the only period it enjoyed attention from government and occupied 34
    • a pride of place in the scheme of things during the civilian administration of 1979-1983, the police management became embroiled in partisan politics. Besides thepoliticisation of the police in the second republic however, the Nigeria Police Force’reputation for brutality, corruption and arbitrariness created poor community relations.Consequently, while the civil populace is usually opposed to military involvement ininternal security matters, doubts persist about the efficacy of the police force inconfronting public order issues in the post-military transition period. On its part, the new government has sought to reassure the public in its attemptto:1. Restructure and demilitarise responsibility for internal security by giving police sole responsibility for maintaining internal security and public order;2. Strengthen the efficiency of the police force by reforming its doctrines, codify procedures, improve training and standards especially to prevent human rights abuse recurrence, increase the resources available to it, reduce the dead woods in its rank, expand its role in intelligence and security information gathering and injecting new blood into the force,3. Increasing the size of the police and pay of its operatives thus improving its estimation in the eyes of the public. In spite of the governments declared commitment to the above, there isevidence to suggest that it still has serious doubts about excluding the militarycompletely from internal security issues - given the recurrence of situations where thepolice have found it difficult to cope with incidences of internal dissension. Althoughthe President announced the withdrawal of the military from joint security patrolswith the police on coming to office - a feature used to intimidate and abuse ordinaryNigerians in the previous dispensation, public clamour regarding the rise in crime andthe inability of the police to cope, especially in the urban areas pressured thegovernment to sanction a return of these joint patrols in places like Lagos, Abuja,Kaduna and Port Harcourt. Even if it were to receive the most appropriate supportfrom the government, correcting the flaws of the past in law enforcement can onlytake place within a particular political, socio-economic and historical context. The 35
    • evidence of the first two years in office is that the current ad-hoc police reforms havenot addressed the post-military internal security conditions in the country. This isunderstandable even if not excusable for a number of reasons:• First, the serious economic problems that has led to massive unemployment, including the highest graduate unemployment in the continent requires an integrated strategy, not an exclusive focus on law and order;• Second, the nature of the political problems in the country which is directly linked to the rise of ethnic militias and the campaign for State/regional police accountable to State Governors has to be responded to by innovative mechanisms aimed at addressing diversity and difference;• Third, the proliferation of arms in the country (sometimes of more superior quality than the weapons carried by the Police) requires a combination of local and regional response;• The continuing tension between the military and other security agencies in terms of role clarification encouraged by the rampant crime rates which has overwhelmed the capacity of the reforming police force remains a challenge for government; and,• Five, the belief that use of force and violence gets quick results as a conflict management mechanism has affected consensus driven resolutions of problems. The above factors definitely pose immense challenges to any successfulreform of the civilian police sector in the internal security reform agenda and inensuring an improved civil-security sector relationship. The quest for engaging civilpolicing for democratic governance is central to the issue of exorcising militarismfrom the body politic as it is relevant to the issue of returning security to thecommunity, ensuring democratic accountability and revisiting the structures offederalism in the country. The question as to whether to decentralise the policeorganisation, structure and operations has been particularly central to this discourse incivil society given the problems that have attended the centralised control of thepolice force and the use it had been put under previous regimes. To create a service 36
    • culture, and not a regimented force arrangement, accountability must be central topublic order and the police cannot be trusted within the community if it retains astructure that is only accountable to the centre and not the communities they seek toserve. Although concerns have been expressed about the negative use to whichdecentralised policing could be put, given the nature of the inter-ethnic squabbles andcommunity clashes that are prevalent in the country today, the view is held stronglythat policing ought to be a community service, not a federal force. There is also theadditional recognition in civil society that no matter how well the police conducts itsaffairs, reform should be pursued in a holistic manner. The problems of policingcannot be seen in isolation of the criminal justice system since the police is animplementing agent of the criminal justice system. Sadly, reforms to the judicialsystem have been much slower than reforms to the military and the police, but untilthere is a comprehensive approach to access to justice and law enforcement, even theresolution of the resource deficit will not bring change.26 Emboldened by citizens’ campaign for security, many states are responding tothe clamour for local police by employing the services of ill-disguised ethnic militiasfor internal security duties. In Anambra, Rivers, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, and Lagos States,"Bakassi Boys" and Odua Peoples Congress operatives are now actively involved instate sanctioned vigilante activities and even gained legitimacy by their unwaveringcommitment to defending the community against armed robbers. As a result of theseevident problems of performance and credibility that the Federal Police nowencounters vis-à-vis the seeming effective, albeit illegitimate presence of privatisedsecurity arrangements, there is an intense debate with strong arguments on both sidesfor the use and abuse of private security arrangements. In spite of the recognition ofthe potential relevance of community involvement in policing on the part ofgovernment and civil society, what seems responsible for the reluctance ongovernment’s part is that a decentralised arrangement which empowers the localcommunity and the state governments goes to the very heart of the debate aboutnational restructuring and the nature of political reform and governance in the publicsector. Although exacerbated by three decades of militarism and authoritarian controlin Nigeria, the structural problems did not arise out of military rule. All over thecountry, the cries of marginalisation that now rent the air from every community is thedirect result of the strongly held belief that politicians are self-seeking anddisinterested in any fundamental reform of the political system. 37
    • VI. International and Regional Dimensions of Civil-Security Reforms Although we have concentrated largely on the domestic causes andimplications of the crisis within the civil-security sector, it would be wrong to assumethat the crisis of civil-security relations or its resolutions can simply be premised onisolating the domestic arena from the international, especially given the context withinwhich current security reforms is taking place in Nigeria. Conceptually and in reality,the Nigerian security sector is responding to the changing nature of securityunderstanding within the global context. In civil society and within government, thereis a growing clamour for broadening the definition of security in the public sectorreform agenda. This broader conception seeks to articulate security in a manner thataddresses the failure of the state to provide basic physical security and livelihood.While the government recognises the need to strike the right balance and understandthe dangers that might accompany too broad a conception of security which altogetherdismisses the legitimate need for the military, developing a consensus in societyaround the need for increased public expenditure on the military within the context ofthe broader definition of security continues to pose problem. Indeed, civil society stillreposes little confidence in the military and tends to see it as an unproductiveconsumer of resources dedicated to regime security rather than public security – hencethe often carte blanche demand for the reduction of military expenditure. There are two aspects of the international dimension that requires attention.First is the place of international assistance for security sector reform and second isthe place of Nigeria in securing a stable sub-regional polity that is responsive to theyearnings of the population. While security sector reform is seen largely as an internal project that has to beundertaken by the State in consultation with critical stakeholders, that there is a rolefor international community is hardly a matter for debate. What is often contested isthe nature of that involvement in the security sector. In the administration’s view,there is a need to ‘build, rehabilitate and strengthen the relationship between theNigerian military and the rest of the world, especially African countries, followingyears of diplomatic isolation and sanctions.”(Atiku Abubakar, 1999) 38
    • In seeking to understand how the government conducted the task ofrelationship building, rehabilitation and strengthening with foreign partners, it isimportant to state that the Nigerian military had very little to do with the arrangementseven though the institution was not new to military assistance programmes. Indeed,as a colonial product, the post-independence military benefited immensely fromexternal support. For example, the British helped set up the Army and the Navy, theGermans set up the air force and the premier training institution, Nigerian DefenceAcademy was established with the assistance of the Indians. It was also not known ifthe elected government conducted any objective assessments of what the needs wereand countries that could best deliver the assistance packages before approachinginterested parties. While it would appear that there were various options open to theadministration on coming to power, the government decided to engage the services ofa foreign private concern of retired military officers known to be closely connected tothe government of the United States in the re-professionalisation programme, after avisit to the United States by President Obasanjo, with little or no consultation with thelegislature or the military. The organization recruited for the exercise, MilitaryProfessionals Resources Incorporated (MPRI), describes itself as a "professionalservices company that provides private sector leader development and training andmilitary-related contracting and consulting in the US and international defensemarkets"(www.mpri.com). It has been involved in military training, weaponsprocurement and advisory services in Croatia, Saudi Arabia and Angola beforewinning the US government supported contract in Nigeria. In 1999, MPRI undertook on behalf of the US Department of Defense andUSAID Office of Transition Initiatives an 8 - person, 120-day assessment missionaimed at developing "an action plan to integrate a reformed military establishmentinto a new civilian context”. In the course of the assessment mission in the country, italso ran a series of workshops on civil military relations for senior military officers,civilians and various armed formations across the country. On completing the initialassessment, MPRI signed a new contract "The Transition-Civil Military Program forNigeria" which focuses on three key areas - a) Military reform; b) Creation anddevelopment of new civilian institutions for civil-military affairs; and, (c) Support forde-militarisation of society. 39
    • No doubt, all of the above constitute areas in which support can be rendered tothe Nigerian military, the fact that government failed to secure wider acceptance forMPRI’s presence at a time that the local media was awash with rumours of a secretmilitary pact with America, created an environment of suspicion. Although it wasclear that the military advisers had the support of the Defence Minister, the NationalSecurity Adviser and the President, the relationship with the military leadership wassoured from the beginning. Apart from the undisguised opposition of the militaryprofessionals, especially its leadership to MPRI’s involvement, MPRI’s belief thatmodels of civil military relations from a different social-cultural context can betransferred into another context wholesale was seen to be more problematic. Since thisis a pattern that Nigerians have become familiar with in other fields of governmentsince the inception of the administration – the seeming dependency on foreigners forassistance even where local expertise will do - what had simmered underneath sinceMPRI came on the scene - surfaced in a public criticism in July 2001 when the Armychief, Victor Malu openly called for the need to “protect our nation” against foreignencroachment. Whilst it must be stated that not all the sections of the military wereopposed to MPRI, this opposition to MPRI’s involvement struck the right chord withthe country’s human rights and civil society sectors and many of its leaders such asprominent human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi and academic Attahiru Jega, notknown for their endorsement of anything coming from the military openly ralliedbehind the call. General Malu went to great lengths in his denunciation of foreigninvolvement in the security sector and many believed that his public espousal of hisdisagreement was not unconnected to his rallying call that: We are a sovereign nation and we should protect our national interest. I don’t think it’s the duty of any foreign country to tell us what our defence policy or what our strategic policy or those things that can only be determined by Nigerians should be… …Part of the misunderstanding we had with the Americans coming to train us was that they wanted to train us in the rudimentary art of soldiering. We objected to that because we are an army of well-trained soldiers and seasoned officers that lack logistics…27 40
    • Although MPRI is still in Nigeria trying to complete its current contract whilstseeking possible renewal, it is now evident that the government is respondingpositively to the demands within the military and civil society to diversifyinvolvement of external players in the security sector reform programme. Already,the British Defence Advisory Team came into the picture in 2000 when it sent amilitary adviser to the Defence Ministry to assist with a range of issues around theimprovement of the Defence Ministry. It would appear that this low key approach hasearned the British government the respect of the military and Defence ministryhierarchy leading to suggestions that the assistance programme might be expanded ata time that MPRI’s involvement looks increasingly in the balance. Yet, while MPRI’scontinued involvement may not be assured, the same cannot be said of the bi-lateralarrangement responsible for Operation Focus Relief – the training program for somebattalions involved in the peacekeeping work in Sierra Leone. Indeed, the contract forthis training programme has recently been renewed. While it is not without its ownproblems, it has not received the kind of opposition that MPRI’s involvement hasgenerated. This may well be as a result that it is a more focused programme dealingwith specific aspects of military professionalisation in which there is agreement onunmet needs, or more specifically because it is bi-lateral and subjected to betteraccountability structures on both sides. More significantly, the clamour to involveAfrican security forces with a record of transformation has also been endorsed bothwithin the military and political circles and a military pact has been recently signedwith the South African National Defence Force on exchanges, training assistance andlogistics support, even though this is outside the on going bi-national commissionarrangements which has yet to receive parliamentary assent in Nigeria.(The Guardian,November 16, 2001). There are pertinent policy relevant lessons that can be learned from MPRI’sinvolvement in the re-professionalisation programme of the Nigerian armed forces –in terms of how external players should respond to request for assistance. The firstlesson for countries desirous of providing assistance for security sector reform is thatassistance should be based on a careful consideration of unmet need and based onconsensus of critical stakeholders. Second, it is equally important that partnershipsbetween donors and national governments exist on an equal footing if it is to produceexpected results. Approaches that allow supporters to assist in the military reformprocess without seeking to drive the process and without placing more premium on 41
    • credit and profit ought to be the pivot of such relationships. This will inevitablyrequire a determination to seek engagement over a long term, greater transparency anda more open and sustained dialogue with government, parliament, civil society andthe security actors (not just the president and the defence minister as has been the casein this particular case) whilst treating security sector reform as a complementary,rather than a separate part of the whole development and institutional reform process.Third, while clear-sighted personal leadership is central to any reform agenda, it isimportant not to misconstrue presidential endorsement for institutional support. Fourth, reform in the security sector must be seen as an integral part overoverall public sector reform within a national restructuring programme which mustsee security and stability as mutually reinforcing elements alongside equity andconsensus driven concerns for the social and political transformation of Nigeriassordid past. International involvement in other aspects of the security sector andadministration of justice reforms ought to embrace this client determined andinclusive approach in order to elicit broader support. Regional Dimension: Beyond military assistance though, the politics ofglobalisation and the sub-nationalism of local politics which has been exacerbated bythe politics of ethnicity, seemed to have encouraged the Nigerian state toward aregionalist project in its security sector transformation programme which has notgenerated negative response from the populace. Given the intertwined nature of manyof the conflicts in the region, the government takes as departure point the fact that anyprospect for demilitarisation can only occur as part of a concerted effort by theECOWAS Community. Consequently, the Nigerian government has been pivotal tothe renewed vigour experienced by the regional body, ECOWAS seeing regionalsecurity as one response to national and sub-national problems. For example, theNigerian government links the proliferation of weapons that has fuelled the latentinternal conflicts in the country, in part to the flow of small arms within the region,not unconnected to the various wars in the Mano River Union and the Senegambiaareas. Hence, the commitment, which hitherto has been predicated on the largeness ofheart, is now being tied to unresolved political issues at home, rather than when theconcentration on regional issues merely provided an escape route to avoid dealingwith the crisis generated internally. 42
    • The government’s commitment to integration of the economy and pursuit ofthe dual-track monetary policy arrangement also emphasises the Government’srecognition of regional economic integration as the ultimate solution to regional peaceand security. As an effective antidote to globalisation and ethnicisation – there is nowa firm recognition that regionalism must permeate the nation-state and its citizens in amore deep-rooted manner. Although there is a section of the populace that believesthat charity ought to begin at home and Nigeria’s resources should be spent onimproving the living conditions of Nigerians, there is a growing awareness in civilsociety that Nigeria has gained credibility across the continent and internationallyfrom its peacekeeping work and focussing the attention of its military onpeacekeeping activities might actually constitute a major mechanism for improvingcivil-military relations, if this leads to a reduction in military involvement in localactivities that often dent the institution’s credibility with the populace.To a large extent, the government’s continued focus on peacekeeping would seemalso tied to this twin-strategy of using opportunities presented abroad to address someof the problems faced at home. In this regard, peacekeeping has been the mainmechanism offers the key opportunity for maintaining professionalism in the militaryin the three decades of military involvement in politics and it now seems that thegovernment is interested in institutionalising this role and carving a niche for themilitary and other security outfits in preventive diplomacy and peace-keeping.Conclusion: What future for Civil-Security relations From the foregoing analysis, the challenges and trajectories of civil-militaryrelations and security sector reform in a country emerging from prolongedauthoritarian rule are quite different from what obtains in settled polities. We haveanalysed the emergent issues within a historico-political context without ignoring thedomestic-international dimensions to civil-security relations in the democratisingpolity. The paper has also integrated objective and subjective civil controlmechanisms in the analysis of the place of the military in a democratisingenvironment. Whilst the paper contends that the government has shown some commitmentto improving civil-security relations, it has concentrated largely on military reform in 43
    • the two years that it has been in office. Yet, the deep-seated legacies of thirty years ofmilitary rule has left indelible effects on military professionalism as well as on thepsyche of Nigerians, ensuring that militarism and militarisation still pose a majorproblem for the Nigerian state beyond the military. In concentrating on the issues raised in the main body of the paper andsuggesting the structural mechanisms highlighted above for de-emphasising the placeof force in the resolution of conflicts in the polity, our focus is on recognising thatsecurity sector transformation is part of overall national restructuring and it is for thisreason that the single most important need at present is a clear articulation of anational restructuring agenda within which a security sector review exercise whichtakes into account the place of all actors and oversight institutions, can occur. There are however clear lessons that can be drawn from the Nigerianexperience both in terms of strengthening the institutional capacity for strategising forchange, and also in terms of ensuring relative autonomy for security actors in testingnew ideas and enhancing institutional learning. These lessons are that:1. Security sector reform process must be based on clear and measurable benchmarks and which puts the citizen at the centre through a broader definition of security beyond its military dimension. This conceptual clarity is central to policy coherence.2. Security sector reform is a deeply political issue, not a technical one. In essence, for the transformation of the security sector to work, it must not be pursued in isolation, but rather form part of a more comprehensive restructuring agenda aimed at improving governance and promoting democratisation.3. Policy instruments must recognise the need to reconcile economic and social development and enhance the input of non-state actors – in policy formulation to enhance social capital rather than regime entrenchment.4. Recognition of the legitimate security needs of nation-states must be factored into the human security approach.5. Policy instruments must recognise the link between globalisation and conflict, rather than assuming that the effect of introducing global market principles is always going to be positive in societies emerging from prolonged military rule.6. Policy instruments must locate the security agenda within the democracy and development framework and reflect the link between politics and economics, and between security and opportunities. 44
    • 7. Democratic, not just civilian, control of military and security establishments in democratising polities is necessary.8. The civil-security sector reform is a process, whose results will not necessarily be immediate; hence the need for a long-term view by interested stakeholders and civil- security relations activists.9. International support for security sector reform must be based on clear need as determined by the state and its constituent stakeholders and reform in the security sector must not be seen in isolation of other public sector assistance.10. Regionalism constitutes a means of undergirding state reconstruction and legitimacy, rather than an impediment. 45
    • End Notes1 A recent survey reveals that seventy per-cent of the Nigerian populace still maintain a low level oftolerance for the military in society. Whilst this is down from a previous survey in January/February2000, which puts it at eighty three percent, what is significant is the fact that although Nigerians aredeeply unhappy about the performance of civilian leaders, this has not resulted in an open embrace ofthe military as it happened in the past. If anything, bad performance is still regarded as a legacy ofprolonged military rule. See Peter Lewis, Michael Bratton, Etanibi Alemika & Zeric Smith, “Down toEarth: Changes in Attitudes toward Democracy and Markets in Nigeria”, Unpublished AfrobarometerSurvey on Nigeria, November , 2001.2 The use of civil-security sector in this paper is both a theoretical and practical distinction, derivedfrom the conviction that an exclusive focus on ‘civil-military relations’ privileges the military andignores wider dimension of civil-security sector relations, reforms and challenges in states emergingfrom authoritarian rule in which other players exist within the security structure. Hence, except inplaces where specific reference is to civil-military relations, the paper focuses on the security sector intotality.3 J.Isawa Elaigwu, Gowon-Soldier-Statesman, (Lagos, John West Publishers, 1986)4 J.J.Oluleye, Military Leadership in Nigeria, 1966 - 79, (Ibadan: University Press Limited, 1986)5 O.Obasanjo: Not My Will: An Autobiography of a Former Head of State, (Ibadan: Ibadan UniversityPress, 1990).6 Personal conversation with Lt.General (Rtd) Salihu Ibrahim (Former Chief of Army Staff) in Lagos.1999.7 There is a plethora of primary documents now covering this period. Among many others, see TheNews Magazine, “The Trial of Abacha’s Killer gang – We were paid to kill Kudirat - Excerpts fromSgt.Rogers Mshelia’s Confession Notes”, October 4, 1999; The Week Magazine, “Gwarzo confesses toYar’adua’s murder”, October 4, 1999; Tell Magazine, “Bamaiyi’s Plan to Kill IBB – Exclusiveinterview with General Oladipo Diya”, October 4, 1999; “I would have tried Abacha – Exclusiveinterview with General Obasanjo” Tell Magazine, November 8, 1999 and “Ishaya Bamaiyi: FromGrace to Chains”, The Week Magazine, December 6, 1999. Also, a lot of the petitions submitted to theHuman Rights Violation Investigations Commission cover the state sponsored assassinations that tookplace under General Abacha.8 See J.’Kayode Fayemi, “Military Hegemony and the Transition Program in Nigeria”, Issue: Journalof Opinion, African Studies Association, 1999, New Jersey, USA.9 See J.’Kayode Fayemi, ‘The Military in Business in Nigeria,’ in The Project on the Military as anEconomic Actor (Bonn: Bonn International Conversion Center, 2000) to be published in 2002 as aPalgrave title. Also available at www.bicc.de10 ibid.11 J.Bayo Adekanye, The Retired Military Phenomenon, (Ibadan: Heinemann, 1999)12 Even in the allocation of the Petroleum Task Force funds to the military, there was no evidence oftransparent use of the resources.13 The fact that President Obasanjo saw nothing wrong in the military reprisals in Plateau State andcould declare on national television that the people got what they deserved, appeared, perhapsinadvertently, to justify the manner in which the military officers took the laws into their hands.14 The General Enahoro led Defence Review committee produced a draft of their report in August 2001and the President released the official document on the ‘Grand Strategy for National Security’ at thePresidential Retreat on National Security’, the document read more like a wish list than a clear guide onwhat to expect. What is worse – the document contradicts itself in very many ways in the attempt toovercome the struggle between privileging state and regime security over national and human security.See Olusegun Obasanjo, Grand Strategy for National Security (2001: The Presidency, Abuja)15 See Pan African News Agency, ‘Nigeria shelves plans to trim Military’, December 24, 2000. 46
    • 16 Tempo Magazine, July 8, 2001.17 Indeed, in the recent crisis in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, many from the Tiv community held the viewthat the military was able to conduct reprisal attacks against them because the DefenceMinister(General Danjuma) hailed from the opposing Jukun ethnic group and also because their ownson had lost out as Chief of Army Staff. It is not important whether this is correct and this writer is ofthe view that it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, the reality however is that this is a widely held view whichhas poisoned relations amongst various communities and damaged civil-military relations.18 Prior to the first military coup in 1966, two thirds of the officers were Ibo in origin.19 On the issue of recruitment, see J.’Kayode Fayemi, “The Politics of Military Recruitment in Nigeria:A critical appraisal,” Tempo Magazine, August 27, 1997,pp.4-5.20 See Biko Agozino & Unyirem Idem, Democratising a Militarised Civil Society in Nigeria, CDDOccasional Paper 5, (London:CDD, 2000) for a recent survey of the psyche of militarism.21 The barely concealed contempt with which the erstwhile military leadership, especially the trio ofGenerals Buhari, Babangida and Abubakar had disregarded the summons to appear before the HumanRights Violations Investigations Commission (Oputa Panel), is often cited in civil society and themedia as an example of this disregard for the rule of law, transparency and accountability to the people.22 Presidential aides however insist that the President has tried to encourage the leadership of thelegislature to show interest in security issues to no avail and has ‘gotten fed up with trying to do this’.Confidential source.23 See report of the Citizens’ Forum for Constitutional Reform on ‘Constitutionalising Security SectorReform in Nigeria. (www.cfcr.net)24 See Olusegun Obasanjo, Grand Strategy for National Security (2001: The Presidency, Abuja)25 Interview with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Musiliu Smith, August 11, 200126 David Jemibewon, The Nigeria Police in Transition: Problems, Prospects and Options for Reform(Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 2001). This is a forthright account of the first Police Affairs Minister underPresident Obasanjo. There is recognition that the criminal justice system reforms should be linked tothis according to the late Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Chief Bola Ige. Personal interviewwith Chief Bola Ige, Abuja, September 2001.27 See Tempo Magazine, July 8, 2001 47