Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani during a One Day Media Workshop On Defence Anti-Corruption Reportage, Civic Space and Oversight in Lagos has said citizens must begin to question the actions and in-actions of government and also demand accountability for budgetary allocations meant for defence and security.
“It is time that the quest for reform in our defence and security institutions transcend from mere words to an all inclusive participation in the formulation and effective implementation of policies for the actualisation of the transformation that citizens desire in our defence and security sector.” CISLAC Rafsanjani said.
CISLAC Boss, while welcoming participants to the workshop that was organised by CISLAC in collaboration with Transparency International- Defence and Security Program, and supported by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the media workshop is designed to enhance participants knowledge on probable areas within the defence and security sector budgetary process and expenditures, for effective investigative journalism, adding that It will improve the capacity of participants to better understand areas of possible corruption risk and to flag same for evidence based civilian oversight in other to minimize corrupt practices and to improve our defence and security architecture.
“As patriotic journalists of this great nation, we (CISLAC) urge you to do everything within the law and ethics of your profession to make sure that protection of lives and properties remain a priority for the government, as provided for in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. We must not sit and watch a corrupt few embezzle monies meant for the welfare of security personnel, procurement of arms and ammunition while the challenges of insecurity continue to threaten our very existence.“Many people known and unknown to us have been killed, manned, kidnapped, robbed of their loved ones, properties and sources of livelihood. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings for outrageous ransom has become a norm in Nigeria. The question is: who will be the next victim? We must not fail to acknowledge the disciplinary actions taken by the leadership of the defence and security sector against erring officers who would rather undermine than uphold the ethics and values of these institutions, as has been aired more frequently by the media lately. Nevertheless, there is still so much more to be done structurally such as wrong and prolonged deployment of personnel in battle field, lack of transparency and accountability in fund management, procurement and project implementation, personnel recruitment process, personnel welfare, sub standard kits and equipment, among others.” Rafsanjani pointed out.
The CISLAC boss stated further that the Center and its partners will continue to push for greater accountability and integrity in the defence and security sector especially because it will require a multi-stakeholder engagement in line with the principles of democratic and participatory governance, to achieve the desired level reform. “We will not relent in advocating for an accountable defence and security expenditure, classification and declassification of information for public consumption, increased integrity for personnel and an uninterrupted civilian oversight of the sector in line with international best practices. We look forward to a very robust session that will birth commitments and call for immediate action.” CISLAC Executive Director concluded.
He stated further that the legislature has not developed adequate skills to meet the expectation and help them to provide external oversight even though they appropriate the funds, go for some oversight and do some debates and make laws for these agencies. “So in all of these, the parliament must have the capacity to understand how security functions and part of this project is to also build them to help them know the questions they need to ask and to look out for, when they go for oversight visits”. Hashim stated.