UNDEFINED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NIGERIAN MILITARY AND CIVILIANS

It is the duty of a country’s military to defend the citizens against foreign and domestic enemies.

MILLION NAIRA QUESTIONS

As a Nigeria civilian citizen, have you ever been in a position where you exchanged pleasantries with a random military member of any service branch (army, navy and air-force) and you thanked them for their service? It gets even closer due to the fact that some people have active military members as family members, friends and acquaintances. Have you at any point reached out or put a call through, or texted them, thanking them for their service?

WHAT IS EXPECTED

We expect the Nigerian military to be a special breed of warriors forged by adversity and ready to answer the Nation’s call with an uncommon desire to succeed while protecting the Nigerian people, and their way of life. The trust of those who they have pledged to protect is paramount and their loyalty must make them humbly serve as guardian to fellow Nigerians while being always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves.

We expect the Nigerian military to place the welfare and security of other Nigerians before theirs. They should be able to control their emotions and actions regardless of circumstances and always serve with honour on and off the battlefield. We demand uncompromising integrity and discipline to be their standard while achieving the mission and goals established by the country.

We expect the Nigerian military to be guided by the very principles that they serve to defend the citizens.

ISSUES

Having stated out what I feel an average Nigerian citizen expects from the country’s military, here are some observations and issues that don’t look really pretty for our military.

PROHIBITING CAMOUFLAGE CLOTHING FOR CIVILIANS

I have come across several video publications where civilians were been punished and subjected to discipline by Nigerian military members for wearing or possessing camouflage print clothing.

There are only 18 countries of 195 countries in the world that prohibits civilians from wearing or possessing camouflage print clothing. Nigeria is one of the 18 countries where it is prohibited by law for civilians to possess camouflage print clothing.

To justify this prohibition, some military members have concluded that since civilians are not part of the military, it implies that they do not have the right to own or wear camouflage print clothing. My perspective is this; when you own the jersey of your favourite football team, you are fully aware that you are not part of the team, but just a supporter. Your support and unwavering commitments as a fan and supporter makes you go the extra mile to put on the jersey of your favourite football team. It’s simply done out of love and not because you train with them or play matches with them. Some football supporters go the extra mile of putting on jerseys with the name of their favourite players on them. It does not make such individuals having the name and jersey of their favourite player imposters, it makes them supporters.

I’d suggest that there should be a closer bond between the Nigerian military and civilians. A scenario where military members who see civilians on camouflage print clothing, sees supporters who appreciates their service rather than imposters.

Here’s the list of 18 countries where camouflage print clothing is prohibited for civilians: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

PARTIALITY AND INTIMIDATION

It is really disheartening to find members of the military being used by self titled high-class citizens to intimidate other citizens who are presumed to be less valuable to the society. I will spare myself the headache and emotional pain of sharing scenarios and instances of such occurrences. A good military member is one that can protect and defend citizens who are unable to defend themselves and we don’t expect less from the Nigerian military.

PICKING UP PIECES

Change is constant and I believe that if the right values are adopted by the Nigerian military and civilian citizens, this proposed relationship will be blissful and profitable for both parties.

Be brave enough to say; ‘thank you for your service’ to any random Nigerian military member you come across or to those you know. Hopefully, we will get the best out of them in return. We need to have trust in our military not fear.

This article addresses just the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air force. It does not feature the Nigerian police, because they are law enforcement officers and a separate article might be done to address the wide gap between the police and citizens if need be, or we could just leave them to God for divine intervention.

Feel free to leave a comment below on your view or suggestions on how to have an improved relationship between the Nigerian military and civilian citizens.

Glad I could share a piece of my heart with you.

Heart of Dave

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8 Comments

  1. The way forward is proper education.Military need to properly educate his constituency that they are to defend and protect the citizen and not to abuse the uniform. They can then build trust and gain confidence of the citizens. I have personally given lift to the men in uniform for i know their job is tasking and they are to be encouraged.

    • Great write-up heart of dave, when the purpose of a thing is not known abuse is inevitable. Nigerian military are been used for political, religious and personal interest at the detriment of civilians

  2. I believe in a new Nigeria. I pray for a New Nigeria. My heart still cuts when I see military men and I feel scared to even make a joke. Mot because I have had a first hand experience of their discipline and treatment but the stories are so loud that you hardly remember there are others fighting our fights out there.
    The need for more cordial relationship is very important, but this would require a complete recalibration of our social and cultural values as well as our belief system. We have to shake the very foundation to change the narrative. So we can have better stories to tell our children about the military. Because they truly are doing a great job.

  3. ❤️

  4. The military should have a change of orientation on how they view civilian for a better coexistence.

  5. If not for this period of lockdown,l would always be on both street and high way roads five days a week and I have been opportuned many times to witness the Army and civilian on combat. How can a civilian driver block the highway because someone wants to drop, the traffic officer can’t help the issue until an army officer is around. Nigerian civilians are to me not yet qualified to put on army’s vest, because they too may claim they are officers

  6. The military as presently constituted is not discipline. We come across these acts of indicipline everyday, unbecoming of a well trained army. For the military to earn the respect of the people, there’s the need for proper orientation and education for its personnel. Once they stop seeings Nigerians as “bloody civilians” that they can mistreat at will, then there will be a better civil-military relations.

  7. For me, sensitization is highly needed on both ends if we truly want to bridge the gap between the military and the civilians.

    The military personnel shouldn’t use their position to intimidate the civilians as this will result in losing faith in the military and not appreciating them when they achieve a great feat.
    Having the mindset they are serving and not ‘bosses’ will do the trick.

    On the other hand, the civilians should appreciate their efforts no matter how little and not magnify their shortcomings.


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