The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/Transparency International in Nigeria (TI-Nigeria), has advocated for more accountability in the nation’s defense and security sectors in a bid to attain desired reforms.
According to the groups, CISLAC and TI, this would enhance the synergy and transparency among security agencies in the nation, thereby leading to robust engagements.
This was one of the recommendations from the one-day workshop organized by the groups on the theme “Reforming the Nigerian Defence and Security Sector through Strengthening Mechanisms Fundamental for Effective Oversight Functions”.
The workshop aimed to initiate a national discourse on defence and security oversight, equipping stakeholders with tools for effective understanding, interrogation, and conduct of oversight activities. It also sought to elicit commitments from relevant institutions towards reforming the defence and security sector.
Another recommendation from the strategic meeting was the need to encourage more women participation in defense and security sectors in the country to allow for gender sensitivity.
Experts also averred that there is a dire need for security agencies to seek commitment from stakeholders to engage effectively in improving transparency and accountability within the sector.
“Call on the military to reverse the trend of destabilization and insecurity, prioritizing Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Emphasize the necessity of external institutions overseeing the defence and security sector in line with democratic principles. Effective oversight will promote efficiency, professionalism, and ultimately enhance security in the country,” the communique read.
It was also observed that collaborative efforts are required to combat corruption and ensure transparency and accountability within the defence and security sector as the military must fulfill its role in protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity through diplomatic and deterrence measures.
“Safeguard the security and safety of state officials and citizens through the seven pillars of human security, including food, economic, health, environmental, personal, community, and political security”
“Adopt the African Union’s definition of the security sector, encompassing uniformed and non-uniformed personnel, civilians, and civil and oversight institutions. Develop an effective framework for overseeing security votes, which often serve as slush funds,” were also captured as recommendations.
Meanwhile, the summit equally encouraged Nigerians to hold public institutions, the political class, and the defence and security sector accountable.
Experts observed that the opaque and classified nature of the sector, justified by “national security reasons hinders effective oversight, stressing that Nigeria’s peace, security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity are threatened by persistent violent conflicts arising from traditional and non-traditional security threats.
According to the communique, despite substantial public resources invested in the defence and security sector since the return of democratic governance in 1999, the impact of these investments remains questionable, with ongoing threats to peace and security.