SOT Founder, Funmi Ogbue

The Support Our Troop (SOT) Foundation organised a public lecture in commemoration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, celebrated annually on 15 January.

The theme of the maiden public lecture was Improving National Security Through Citizens’ Involvement in Military Affairs. The keynote speaker was Dr. Kabir Adamu, Managing Director, Beacon Consulting Limited, and Head of the Security and Intelligence team at the Office of the President of the Nigerian Senate.

The Special Guest of Honour was the Minister of Defence who was represented by Major General Adamu Jidda. Other guests 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.

The founder of SOT, Mrs. Funmi Ogbue, in her opening speech said the theme of the public lecture, “Improving National Security Through Citizens’ Involvement in Military Affairs”, was chosen against the backdrop of the enduring unrest in the Northeast and, indeed, the whole country.

“There is (unrest) going on in every region of our country,” she said. “So, we said how can we as citizens, knowing that the military are probably less than 10 percent of the population of the country, get involved and commit to the success of the military activities?”

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, 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.

At the end of the lecture, the following were acknowledged and recommended:
1.      It was acknowledged that there was a need for civilian involvement in military affairs in order to improve national security.
2.      It was acknowledged that civilian support especially in the areas of intelligence enhance military activities.
3.      It was acknowledged that there was a level of distrust not just between the military and civil society but also the military and government.
4.      It recommended that there should be a paradigm shift in civilian-military relations from the traditional Realistic Paradigm where security is more state focused to the New Security Paradigm which is more focused on human security.
5.      It was 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.
6.      It was recommended that civilians, on their part should encourage the military and not just criticize and condemn so that the military can carry out their duties properly.
7.      It was recommended that the press take a responsible approach in their reporting of military affairs: report more on the victories and not just the losses to the military.