• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

    Advocacy Meeting In Adamawa State Advances Defence Accountability, Civilian Oversight In North-Eastern Nigeria

    ByHybrid Communications

    Jul 27, 2023

    The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) and Transparency International in Nigeria (TI-Nigeria), in collaboration with Transparency International – Defence and Security Project, recently organized a one-day steering committee coordination meeting aimed at promoting defence accountability and civilian oversight in Nigeria’s north-eastern region.

    The event, held at the City Green Hotel in Yola, brought together representatives from various states in the North East, including Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Borno, and Yobe.

    With the primary objective of assessing progress and developing strategies to enhance transparency and accountability in the defence sector, the workshop attracted notable attendees, including Mr. Magaji Abubakar, the Admin/Finance Officer of CISLAC, and Ms. Bertha Ogbimi, a driving force behind the project overview session.

    In her opening remarks, Ms. Bertha Ogbimi emphasized the critical importance of combating corruption within the defence sector, highlighting its detrimental impact on society.

    She shared concerning statistics, including Nigeria’s ranking as one of the most fragile countries in the world and its low scores on the Corruption Perception Index. Ms. Ogbimi provided a historical overview of previous projects aimed at bolstering accountability in Nigeria’s Defence Sector, stressing the need for transparency and accountability from inception to completion.

    Throughout the meeting, participants delved into the current state of progress in the Defence Sector and identified pressing challenges that demand urgent attention. Some of the prominent challenges included lack of transparency in defence budgeting, insufficient expenditure accountability, weak oversight functions, and issues related to procurement and contract management.

    To address these challenges effectively, Ms. Ogbimi outlined future actions, focusing on enhancing the capacities of Civil Society Organizations in analyzing defence budgets and policy gaps, tackling corruption, and engaging in constructive dialogues with relevant authorities and stakeholders.

    The session on advocacy strategies and commitments towards result-oriented state-based advocacy, led by Mr. Jimoh Abubakar, emphasized the importance of strategic planning to achieve specific goals.

    Mr. Abubakar drew examples from the END-SARS protests, illustrating the impact of well-structured advocacy in achieving intended objectives. He educated the participants on various advocacy tools and techniques, including messaging, communications, policy dialogue, and media advocacy, while underscoring the need for consistent monitoring and evaluation to adapt strategies accordingly.

    During the final session, participants engaged in a practical exercise to develop an advocacy message for state defence and security institutions. The message, intended for the Permanent Secretary of Security at the Adamawa State Government House, commended the efforts of security agencies while addressing specific security issues and recommending necessary actions.

    The message included recommendations for enhancing synergy and coordination between security agents and vigilante groups, formulating legal support for the existence of vigilante groups and hunters’ unions, and implementing regulations for private security outfits. It also addressed the pressing issue of drug abuse among the youth and proposed measures to combat it.

    In his closing remarks, Mr. Magaji thanked all the participants for their active involvement and stressed the importance of sustained collaboration between civil society, the government, and security agencies to ensure progress in defence accountability and civilian oversight.

    The meeting concluded on an optimistic note, with participants recognizing that coordinated efforts and strategic advocacy can lead to positive change in Nigeria’s Defence and Security Sector.

    As they returned to their respective states, they committed to continuing their engagement and advocacy to build a safer and more transparent security landscape for the nation. With the collective dedication of all stakeholders, the future holds the promise of a more accountable and secure Nigeria.

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