Some security experts have recommended a paradigm shift in civilian-military relations from the traditional approach where security is more state focused to a new security paradigm that is more focused on humans.
Their recommendation was contained in communique issued at the end of the Maiden Lecture of the Support Our Troops (SOT) Foundation held recently with the theme “Improving National Security through Citizens’ Involvement in Military Affairs”
Other recommendations contained in the communique was the need for civilian involvement in military affairs in order to improve national security and civilian support especially in the areas of intelligence to enhance military activities.
It was acknowledged that there was a level of distrust not just between the military and civil society but also the military and government.
The participants recommended that to improve civilian-military relationships, the civil society should have an input in drawing up vital documents such as the National Security Strategy. Civilians, on their part, were advised to encourage the military and not just criticize and condemn.
The founder of SOT, Mrs. Funmi Ogbue, in her opening speech said the theme of the public lecture, was chosen against the backdrop of the enduring unrest in the Northeast and, indeed, the whole country.
The Coordinator, Peace Support Operation, Maj. Gen. Adamu Jidda, who represented the Minister of Defence, in his remarks, noted that civilian cooperation with the military had greatly helped in countering the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists. He said information obtained from civilians during warfare had the tendency of improving military response to threats.
In his goodwill message, the Director of Administration, Naval Headquarters Abuja, Rear Admiral Jatau Luka, who represented the Chief of Naval Staff, commended SOT’s initiative to organise a public lecture geared at encouraging civilian support for the military. He said the theme of the lecture came at time when the military required the support of the civil society.
As a way forward and to promote civil-military relations based on trust and goodwill, the keynote speaker who is also Managing Director, Beacon Consulting Limited, and Head of the Security and Intelligence team at office of the Senate President Dr. Kabir Adamu, proposed the adoption of the New Security Paradigm which, he explained, moves away from the militaristic focus of the Realist Paradigm, for example, and talks instead of broad security, caring security, and new critical security that includes human security.
He defined human security as the absence of threat to human life, lifestyle and culture through the fulfilment of basic needs which gives prominence to the security needs of the common man and woman.
Other guests at the event included the Chief of Naval Staff who was represented by Rear Admiral Jatau Lukka, and a former Director of Defense Information, (Rtd) Major General Chris Olukolade