Friday, 24 July 2015

Communiqué issued at the end of the two-day summit on security and governance in North East, Nigeria

Being text of a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day Summit on Security and Governance in the North East of Nigeria held on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th June, 2015 at the Maidugu Guest Palace, Gombe, Gombe State. It was organised by the CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) with support from the Ford Foundation.

The Summit was organized to facilitate discourse on the nexus between governance and insecurity in the North East. It is a follow-up activity to the finalization of a research on governance and security conducted in the six (6) states of the North East. The Summit provided a platform to extensively discuss the findings of the study along thematic lines, develop strategies for implementing the findings, agree on immediate priority areas and identify key partners to drive the initiatives forward in the North East.

The summit had in attendance about 70 participants, drawn from the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), National Boundary Commission (NBC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Unity and Peace Corps (NUPC), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ICPR), Victim Support Fund (VSF), Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), National Union of Journalists  (NUJ), the media, civil society groups and universities in the region, notably University of Maiduguri, Adamawa State University and Taraba State University. The opening session was chaired by Alhaji Lamido Abubakar (Durbin Gombe), representing the Emir of Gombe.

After very robust discussions and deliberations historical and contemporary security and governance challenges in the North East, including the on-going counter- insurgency initiatives, the participants observed that:
The security challenges in the North East are the consequences of failure of governance at different tiers of government;

Existing conflict early warning and response mechanisms have been weakened by poor inter-agency coordination and tensions in civil military relations that generally alienate the populace from government security institutions;
Although insurgency presents the most challenging threat to national and human security, the North East region has also been affected by communal violence, religious violence and violence conflict over land and water use. The insurgent groups have taken advantage of existing divisions, rivalries and conflicts among groups to unleash violence on communities in the region.

The ineffective response to the insurgency has stemmed from the fact that the Nigeria government initially under-estimated the capabilities of the insurgent group and overstated the capacity of the Nigerian armed forces and security institutions.

The counter insurgency initiative have suffered from poor equipment and poor intelligence management system of the Nigerian military as well as the military’s poor understanding of Nigeria’s geography ;

The default position of deployment of the military for internal security operations have kept the military continually engaged in internal law enforcement thereby contributing to the weakening of the law enforcement capacity of the police;

The porous state of Nigerian borders has provided a conducive climate for transnational crime such as unhindered proliferation of smalls arms and light weapons and trafficking in persons and drug that have made Nigeria’s border areas notably the Lake Chad Basin insecure but safe havens for insurgent groups and internal criminal networks;

Mutual suspicions and conflicting interests among member states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission have affected the operations of the Multinational Task Force (MNTF);

Recent efforts to counter-insurgent such as the procurement of more weapons for the armed forces, addressing of issue of discipline and loyalty, strengthening of cooperative frameworks among contributing states to the MNTF and relocation of the military command centre to Maiduguri have recovery of towns and communities held by insurgents. This has forced the insurgents to revert to terrorist tactics of suicide bombing increasingly carried out of women and girls.

The newly inaugurated administration of President Muhammadu Buhari enjoys enough goodwill both nationally and globally which is expected to boost the counter-insurgency effort.

There in need for close security cooperation at the regional level between affected countries within the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the ECCAS and ECOWAS;

Politicisation and opaqueness of the operation of the military makes it difficult to understand their efforts and provide support from the communities;

There is need for periodic progress report in order to understand the successes and failures of the various security agencies in the fight against the insurgency;

The Ministry of Defense should carry out its constitutional duties to procure weapons for the security agencies to prevent unilateral procurement by the agencies;

The advancements made in the 6 weeks to the election show that we have the capacity to deal with the insurgency, if we back it up with political will;
Community policing will assist greatly in feeding information into the national peace architecture and fostering community policing would make it difficult for groups like Boko Haram to grow unnoticed and unchallenged.
Following these observations, the participants resolved and recommended as follows:

Security
There is need to step up efforts to resolve all lingering incidents of violent conflict through proactive implementation of recommendations of panels of enquiries, addressing of grievances of disaffected groups and effective community policing;

There is need to improve equipment, morale and discipline in the military in order to sustain the gains in the counter-insurgency initiatives in the weeks preceding the 2015 elections;

There is need to strengthen coordination and collaboration among the different security institutions and between security institutions and the civil society;

The Mobile section of the Nigeria Police Force should be strengthened through better training, equipment and deployment to reduce frequency of deployment of the military for internal security operations;
Government and security institutions should be adopt measures including training, monitoring and application of sanctions to ensure adoption and observance of rules of engagement and respect for human rights and dignity by security personnel deployed for security operations;

There is need to effectively implement the national peace and security architecture designed to ensure early warning and effective response at federal, state, local council and community levels. The proposed National Peace Commission can be used to coordinate the functioning of the peace architecture based on existing peace and security structures;

The commendable effort to relocate the command centre to Maiduguri should be enhanced by the appointment of a war commander to lead operations and collaborate with the MNTF based in Ndjamena, Chad;

Government and the military should initiate concrete plans for demobilization and disarmament of the CJTF. There should involve creation of a database of CJTF members and roll out of plans for provision of vocational training and job placement of CJTF members and their possible enlisting into security agencies.

Traditional institutions that play crucial roles in conflict resolution at the local level should be strengthened to gain trust of stakeholders and complement the roles of other agencies and institutions.

Governance
Governance and service delivery should be improved especially at the state and local government levels in the North East to address the issues of youth unemployment and restiveness.

There should be strategic capacity building of community members to demand accountability and representation from elected leaders;

Credible platforms existing at the state and community level should be harnessed to support governance and security measures in the communities.

There is need to strengthen governance at the local level in order to close the gap between the government and communities. The prospects of bridging the gap can be enhanced through conduct of regular elections at the local government levels.

There is need for realignment of the statutory mandates of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and States Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and the National Commission on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to enhance coordination and effectiveness in the management of the humanitarian emergencies;

The Victim Support Fund (VSF) should be mobilized to deliver support to victims of the violence including families of members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) that died in operations, as well as women and orphans and others who suffered irreversible injuries and loss in the conflict.

Border development and management agencies should be strengthened by the creation of trans-border institutions and involvement of community institutions in border areas in security management.

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