The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Rear Admiral David Adeniran, has said weak civil-military relations jeopardizes and complicates military operations.
Adeniran, who spoke at the Eastern Naval Command’s Law Seminar at the Command’s headquarters in Calabar, opined that strong civil-military relations, on the other hand, could be said to be directly proportional to successful military and maritime operations.
He said pertinently, a fracture in civil-military relations occurs mainly through the application of Nigeria’s laws, especially, the aspects concerning maritime environment.
The FOC said the Seminar, which has as its theme, “Improving Criminal Justice Administration in Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility: A Panacea for Strengthening Civil-Military Relationship”, was borne out of the need for the Navy to address pertinent challenges bedeviling the success of their maritime operations.
Adeniran said it was necessary for all partners and agencies responsible for the administration of criminal justice to sit with stakeholders in Nigeria’s maritime environment to understand and address this and other issues at stake.
He said understanding and addressing the issues associated with the administration of criminal justice in the maritime environment was key to improving civil-military relations in ENC’s area of operations thus enhancing and easing operations.
He said the Seminar aimed at harmonizing the tasks of the maritime stakeholders towards achieving the common goal, which is to rid the maritime of illegalities and crimes, and it was in realization of this that all stakeholders connected with the process of administering criminal justice within the Command’s area of operation were invited.
The FOC highlighted some the Command’s challenge to include congested jetties and bases littered with barges, vessel, trucks drums arrested for involvement in illegalities within Nigeria’s waters.
He expected that the judiciary as the last hope of the common man and the bedrock of criminal justice administration in Nigeria would also hold out its ideals to aid the Command’s operation.
Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ivara Esu, said the Seminar was significant considering that the rule of law is of paramount importance in a democratic dispensation.
Esu regretted that the Nigerian maritime environment has been challenged with threats, posed by criminal activities such crude oil theft, illegal refining of crude oil, illegal bunkering and piracy amongst others, hence such event organized by a military establishment like the ENC to seek avenues that foster civil military relationship in combatting the negative trends was a step in the right direction.
The deputy governor, who was the Special Guest of Honour, called for synergy between all maritime stakeholders in combatting criminalities along the nation’s waterways.
“The substance of this synergy between the Nigerian Navy and maritime stakeholders, in this case the judiciary is what this occasion seeks to enhance and I am happy to be part of it,” he said.
Esu said the state government has a long-standing relationship with the Navy and has continued to support them to enhance the security of the maritime domain, which is critical to the nation’s economic growth.