Organised Workshop On Civil-Military Relations
The huge successes recorded by the Present administration in the areas of security challenges, need to be further consolidated and sustained, and this can only be achieved in an atmosphere of mutual respect, friendliness, mutual trust, hard work and dedication by both the Civilian and Military components.
This remark was made by the honourable Minister of Defence, Mohammad Mansur Dan-Ali, in a keynote address delivered at the opening ceremony of a 2-day retreat on Civil-Military Relations, organized by the ministry, at NIPSS, Jos, on 18-19 may, 2017.
Dan-AIi further stated that it is noteworthy to mention that Ministry of Defence has two components: The Civil and Military. The Civil Component of the MOD is headed by the Permanent Secretary (PS) who is responsible for the managerial support and policy initiation for the ministry. He also provides the secretariat for the Armed Forces Council, the Army Council, Navy Board and the Air Force Council among other functions. Additionally, he is the Chief Accounting Officer of the Ministry and responsible for liaison, between departments, processing the requirements of the Services and the administration of military pensions.
The Military Component, on the other hand, is made up of the Armed Forces comprising the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) and the 3 Services of Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force. The Defence Headquarters is responsible for deployment, employment, sustenance and recovery of forces deployed externally or within the country. The Chief of Defence Staff is the Principal Military adviser to the government and the professional head of the Armed Forces. The control of the Armed Forces, joint operations and training rests with the CDS who also coordinates the 3 Services.
This Retreat was designed to fashion out ways of achieving harmonious and cordial working relationship between the leadership of civilian and military components of the Ministry to enhance cordial working relationship of the duo.
Additionally, this Retreat is expected to address amongst others, the undefined hierarchical seniority in channels of communications and correspondences, and also to instil discipline on civilians-military working environment. Other issues addressed are lack of transparency and accountability, poor interpretation and application of the provisions of Public Service Rules in military units and formations.
Dan-Ali said, ''furthermore, poor or non-compliance with internal rules and regulations in the various Commands by the civilian staff and lack of clear schedule for accounting personnel posted from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation'', need to be discussed.
Emphasising more on the importance of the retreat, the Minister thanked the Executive Governor of Plateau state, His Excellency, Right Honourable, Simon Bako Lalong, for finding time to attend the opening ceremony despite his tight schedules, for his hospitality, and for supporting the Armed Forces of Nigeria, deployed in Plateau state. He also urged the participants to also address the poor synergy in budget planning and preparation, and lack of synergy in programs co-ordination and implementation.
Earlier in his speech, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Amb. Danjuma Sheni said that work shop is part of the Ministry's reform efforts, aimed at improving and deepening the good relations among its civilian and military personnel as well as wider society. On the other hand, Amb. Danjuma said that, the conduct of the military in discharging its function at times raises doubts on the 'good civil-military' relations, giving room for negative perception and uncomplimentary remarks of the military by a selection of the civilian population.
According to the Permanent Secretary, this implies that the relationship between the civilian and the military is not satisfactory; and all these necessitated the establishment of Civil-Military Relations (CMR) at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in the year 2010 and replicated in the three Services. The role of this CMR outfit is, among others, to correct the errors of the past and bridge the existing gaps the civil populace in order to foster peaceful co-existence.
In his own remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff noted that we must see Civil –Military Relations as ''balance of power between civilian and military branches… which has to with supremacy and guidance of the civilian populace over the military''
He further stated that all should consider the options that will make democracy work in line with our peculiar national realities and threats and that the forces of globalization make today's armed forces operate in an environment of interconnecting political, socio-economic and cultural associations.
More goodwill messages were received from Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker House of Representative, Mr. Dogara.
By Ituke Patience