Professor Abubakar Mu,azu of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) and Board Member CLEEN Foundation has attributed brutality, highhandedness and violation of ‘Rules of Engagements’ by Military, particularly during the era of Joint Task Force, JTF and Operation Flush in maltreatment of civilians as reason for the endless fight against Boko Haram Insurgents in the North East.
Professor Mu’azu recalled that between 2011 to 2012 which was the peak of the crisis, there was no cooperation between the civilian populace who were not ready to give information on movement and modus operandi of the sect members to security agencies, because, at that time, apart from lack of confidentiality, the security agencies sees civilians as suspected members or collaborators of the sect.
He said such was the reason the military was subjecting anybody on the streets to Frog Jumps, smashing computer and commuters screens, shooting and beating of innocent civilians in the name of fighting Boko Haram.
Mu’azu stated this during at a Two-Day North East Town Hall Dialogue and Training on Civil Military Relations, Issues and Challenges which took place at Barwee Luxury Suite, Maiduguri, Borno state.
CLEEN Foundation organized the programme as part of its contribution to the security architecture in North East states affected by Boko Haram in conjunction with Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, to discuss problems and challenges to Civil Military Relations and proffer strategies to mitigate such challenges.
Presenting a Paper titled: “Civil Military Relations as a Tool for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in the North East”, Professor Mu’azu said, Violent extremism in the North Eastern parts of Nigeria have in the last eight years been expressed on a sustained, but troublesome basis by the activities of Jama’atu Ahlus Sunnah Liddawa’ati wal Jihad (People Committed to the Teachings of the Prophet and Jihad) popularly called Boko Haram.
According to him, the idea of working to prevent and counter violent extremism in Nigeria arose from the sad experiences of killings, destructions and displacement of people by the activities of first militants in the Niger Delta and Boko Haram in the North East.
He However said, it was the activities of Boko Haram that forced governments in Nigeria to take up the issue of violent extremism seriously. In other words, society had waited until faced with a salient incident to take up measures to address the subject, causes, effects, dimensions and responses to violent extremism.
Another issue according to the varsity Don has to do with the fact that unlike parts of Nigeria, the North East did not seem to be a bastion of support for terrorists and radical elements.
His words: “It therefore came as a surprise to most people in the North East that Boko Haram violent extremism occurred in this part of Nigeria.
“The activities of Boko Haram led to the deployment of the security forces that impacted on the relations between the civilians and the military. It is important to note that the relations between civilians and the military did not start with the deployment of large contingent of the security forces to the North East. The military had been relating with civilians with occasional frictions, but largely on a cordial basis.
“However there appears to be tendency for relations between civilians and military and other security agencies to be strained whenever soldiers were deployed on internal security duties.
“It is necessary to point out that the relations between civilians and military is an on-going, never to end affair since the military exists to protect civilians.”