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AN EVALUATION OF OPERATIONS IN THE MILITARY AND NIGERIA SECURITY DEVELOPMENT
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Military involvement in internal security operations (ISOPs) is inevitable as the need for higher level of aggression continually reveal itself. Although this has been the case ever since Nigeria was formed and it also continued throughout the colonial period, the recent occurrence of terrorism witnessed in the country has further justified the need for military participation in ISOPs. This move however is not without challenges of own as the military is not particularly trained for ISOPs unlike the civil security authorities and as a result, consistently engage in acts which are not civil enough.
This paper discusses the involvement of the military in internal security operations by looking at the applicable laws, the instances of military ISOPs in Nigeria, extent of utilization as provided by legal instruments, ISOPs challenges, derogation from legal provisions and ISOPs prospects.
The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria which provides for the military in its section 217 makes it clear that the duties of the military, that is the Army, Navy and Air force will be to defend Nigeria from external aggression1, maintain its territorial integrity and securing its borders from isolation on land, sea or air, suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of National Assembly. The military is also to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
Although the main functions of the military is to protect the nation against external aggression or threats, occasionally the military may be required to assist the civil authorities to deal with internal violence and suppress internal tension. For instance, the military may be required to assist the police in restoring law and order in any part of the country. Section 217(c) 1999 Constitution forms the basis of the involvement of the military in Internal Security Operations (ISOPs) in Nigeria. It provides thus in relation to the functions of the military in Nigeria:
“…suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of National Assembly.”
Section 8(1) of the Armed Forces Act provides that the President shall determine the operational use of the Armed Forces. Operational use is further defined thus:
“In this section, “operational use of the armed forces” includes the operational use of the Armed Forces in Nigeria for the purpose of maintaining and securing public safety and public order.”
The security challenges witnessed in the country have called for more of military intervention in form of ISOPs and it has been observed that the military is increasingly involved in Internal Security Operations.
Internal Security Operations (ISOPs) are those acts carried out by the domestic security agents such as the Police, Customs Service, Immigration Service, and others, for the purpose of containing domestic threats to the security of the country. These threats often relate to dire cases of riots, demonstrations, strikes, communal clashes, terrorism, and the likes, which normally fall outside the constitutional duty of the military.
For instance, it is the duty of the Police to maintain law and order within the society. Section 4 of the Police Act provides the general duties of the police as the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged.
ISOPs are designed to handle internal conflicts in a country. In Nigeria, communal/ ethnic clashes, religious conflicts and recently acts of terrorism have necessitated the involvement in ISOPs.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The involvement of the military in civil operations informs the need for the military to adjust to the demands of internal security operations. The military usually encounter problems adjusting when dealing with civil operations. Some areas where these problems stem from have been highlighted as follows:
Since the primary function of the military is to defend the country in times of war, military training is usually based on inflicting maximum damage and destruction on their opponents and defeating them in the shortest possible time within the rules and the law of armed conflict. Meanwhile, internal security operations only require restraint and the use of minimum force which is in contrast to what is usually required of soldiers in conventional warfare. The requirement for minimum force is because they are now maintaining law and order among their own people in their own country.
The arbitrariness associated with the military while in internal security operations can be attributed to the kind of training undergone by the soldiers. There is therefore the need for the military to undergo proper training to deal with internal operations. This fact was also acknowledged by Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. OnyeaboIhejirika, who said that the Nigerian Army must refocus its logistics training to cater for internal security operations in aid of civil authority.
This is the attitude or views of a person. Military orientation dictates that a potential threat is an enemy and as such should be eradicated. Having a mindset like this during internal operations is dangerous. Defence against external aggression should be differentiated from the defence employed against ‘enemies’ within.
Another issue is the perceived attitude of the military when called upon to perform internal security operations. Some soldiers are of the opinion that they have a more noble role than this and some even think they have been called upon because of the incapability and inefficiency of the police in maintaining law and order. The resultant effect is that the military usually take over operations from the police instead of aiding the civil authorities as provided for in section 217 of the 1999 Constitution. Instead of lending support to the police or other civil authorities concerned the military end up taking leading roles. This can give rise to jealousy and distrust between the police force involved in the operations and the soldiers deployed for the internal operations. This is capable of causing unhealthy rivalry which can eventually undermine security efforts.20 This has caused the Nigerian Army to advocate for a centralized system to co-ordinate the activities of Joint Task Force Operations in the country as such system would prevent order and counter order by various Heads of Security Agencies.
Often times the soldiers involved in internal security operations are not properly equipped for the task. Soldiers engaged in internal operations who are only equipped with guns will definitely use it if their lives are threatened by a hostile mob23. An average mob in Nigeria can only be in possession of stones and not guns. Using deadly equipment such as guns in this situation will not be suitable.
Military strategy and tactics are essential to the conduct of warfare. Strategy is the planning, coordination, and general direction of military operations to meet overall political and military objectives. Tactics implement strategy by short-term decisions on the movement of troops and employment of weapons on the field of battle. Armies all over the world have strategies and tactics employed in times of war. Some of the most commonly cited principles are the objective, the offensive, surprise, security, unity of command, economy of force, mass, and maneuver. According to history, a famous example that illustrates most of these principles occurred during World War II when the Allied forces eventually agreed on the objective of defeating Germany first with a direct offensive against the European continent. Under a combined command headed by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, they effectively massed their forces in England, deceived Germany regarding the point of invasion, collected intelligence on the disposition of German forces, and set the vast maneuver called Operation Overlord into motion.
There is also the Envelopment tactic which is the unexpected appearance of enemy troops on a flank or from behind can damage an army’s morale, and if a force is encircled it can be deprived of supplies or attacked from any side.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The central pillar of Nigeria’s national security policy is the preservation of the safety of Nigerians at home and abroad and the protection of the sovereignty of the country as well as her integrity and assets. Other subordinate goals include:
iii. Non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states;
The research questions that will guide this study are as follows
iii. What are the causes of these problems of insecurity in Nigeria?
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work has a lot of limitation that are work mentioning. The problem of transportation to get information; and the short time given for the completion of this project has been a great limiting factors.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Operations: The act or process of operating or functioning
Military: The military are forces authorized to use lethal force, and weapons, to support the interests of the state and some or all of its citizens.
Security: means safety, as well as the measures taken to be safe or protected.
Development: The act of developing or the state of being developed
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