The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Centre for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) have stressed the urgent need to adopt a policy regime that place emphasis on training and measures for protection of civilians.
Speaking at the media parley in Abuja, they further called for President Mohammadu Buhari’s backing on national legal framework for protection of civilians.
The parley was towards rethinking and canvassing for national policy on the protection of civilian and civilian harm mitigation in armed conflicts organized by both bodies in Abuja.
The Executive Director CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani said that the call was imperative because civilians have lost their lives in the course of military operations in conflict areas.
Rafsanjani said that a good protection regime within the security sector was a key enabler for wider progress.
According to him, accountability in security and justice provision is related to protection from abuses, the ability for citizens to seek redress and hold providers accountable, and to the responsiveness and accessibility of provision itself.
He said, “To be effective, security institutions must be politically accountable to the legitimate authorities of the state and to the democratically-elected representatives of the people through external oversight.
“Protection of civilian allows for adequate accountability mechanism that pushes external agencies to regulate the use of discretionary powers, such as whether the use of force are applied in compliance with national and international law.
According to Rafsanjani, focusing on security alone comes at the expense of accountability that cannot keep up with new equipment, systems, and practices.
He said that the role of the media in the defence and security sector was to be taken seriously and urged them to continue to amplify the need for legal framework for protection of civilians in Nigeria.
Also, the Country Director of CIVIC,Dr Benson Olugbuo, represented by the Team Lead , CIVIC , Muyidang Sitdang, explained that CIVIC developed and implemented solutions to mitigate and respond to civilian harm in advancement of the vision of a world where no civilian is harmed in conflict.
Sitdang said that when adopted, Nigeria would be the first country in Africa with such a policy that sought to further safeguard its citizens from harm.
Also, the Programme Manager, CISLAC, Salaudeen Hashim said that the aim of the meeting was to get the media to design an agenda for the country on protection of civilian and civilian harm mitigation in armed conflict.
Hashim said that considering the number of fatality the country had recorded in the last decade in armed conflict, it became important to be deliberate in putting infrastructure for protection in place.
Hashim urged the president that as he speaks at the UN General Assembly to make a global statement that his administration was interested when it comes to the issue of protection of civilians by supporting the policy.