Nigerians have been advised to be resolute in helping the nation’s military and other security agencies to tackle insurgency and other forms of insecurity in the country.
This advice was given on Thursday in Abuja by the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) at the public presentation of the ‘Report Launch and Panel Discussion on the Protection of Civilians in Gwoza’, Borno State.
The CIVIC, supported by the German Government, European Union (EU), Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), to assist civilians caught in the Northeast conflict, operates in seven local governments in Borno State.
In a chat with journalists at the Launch, the Country Director, CIVIC, Dr. Benson Olugbuo said that the security situation has improved each year since the military recaptured the Gwoza town in 2015, as attacks have shifted from being a regular occurrence to being sporadic in 2020, with further improvements noted in 2021.
He also said that many civilians have been killed and abducted while engaging in farming and other livelihood activities that require them to travel outside of the town.
He said: “In response, the military started providing escorts to civilians, which provides an extra layer of protection for civilians as they engage in livelihood activities.
“The Nigerian military should revise their current strategy to not only offer protection in super camps, but also to extend protection to civilians beyond garrison towns. Channels of communication between civilians and the military must remain open so civilians can report protection concerns, including SEA, and the military can quickly investigate and respond to these concerns.”
He added that: “To better support the return of IDPs, Nigerian federal and state, civilian agencies should ensure the security situation in Borno state is conducive for safe returns and adopt a do no harm approach by ensuring that returns are voluntary.
“They should additionally encourage the use of traditional platforms to support and manage the increasing rate of surrendering combatants and their families who will require reintegration into communities.”
He also said that the organisation has a pilot project in Kaduna State aimed at training pilots of the Nigerian Air Force on targeting during Close Air Support operations.