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MILITARY DEPLOYMENT IN INTERNAL SECURITY OPERATIONS AND CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS IN A DEMOCRACY: THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE
This article focuses on the use of the Nigerian military as an internal security apparatus under a democratic government. In view of the recent secessionists’ agitation in the South-East region, renewed militancy in the South-South, insurgency in the North-East, kidnapping and ritual killings in the South-West and herder-pastoralist’s conflict in the Middle-Belt region which have caused serious security challenges in the country. In response to these challenges, the Nigerian Military, acting under the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces directives, launched various military operations. These operations include; Operation ‘Python Dance 2’; ‘Crocodile Smile’; Operation ‘L’afiya Dole’ (interpreted as peace by force); Operation ‘Crocodile Smile 2’; Operation Cat Race; and the ‘show of force’. These military operations have not only generated tension and threatened civil-military relations in the different regions; they have also raised questions on the constitutional roles of the Armed Forces in a democracy. Besides, there has been a debate on whether these responses are in conformity with the constitution and if they are politically-expedient at this time. While this article queries the deployment of military as a security apparatus, it however raises a more fundamental question of what is the rationale behind the deployment of military forces against para-military security component statutorily charged with the responsibilities of maintaining peace, order and security. Secondly, the article raises the question of how effective are these military options in the face of public outcry. Lastly, what implication does this have on civil-military relations in Nigeria?
Keywords: civil-military relations; insecurity; constitutionality; civil society; Nigeria