Civil – Military Relations and Legislative Oversight in Nigeria: A Study of the Fourth Republic Nigerian Senate

Yaya, Morufu Olasunkanmi (2021-08)


This study examined Civil-Military Relations in Nigeria within the context of the phenomenon of parliamentary oversight of the Military within the fortress of the eight (8th) Assembly of the Fourth republic. The study considers the pivotal roles which both the legislature and the Military play in the survival of democracy and development of any country. Civil-military relations plays pivotal role in the smooth relationship between the civilian population and the military personnel in every country. However, how well this relationship goes depends greatly on the effective oversight of the Military and its institution (personnel inclusive) by the legislature/parliament. In Nigeria, cases of Military personnel brutalizing and intimidating the civilian population attracted enormous condemnation at the wake of civil rule in 1999. The study underscores the need for the two important institutions to interact adequately on the areas of common interest. While the broad objective addresses the Civil- Military relations in the Fourth Republic, the specific objective understudied how the Civil-Military relations have affected the fight against insurgency, militancy and internal insurrection during the 8th Assembly. The justification of this study was hinged on the need for the Parliament to effectively oversee the Military and the need for the Parliament to carry out the oversight function of the Military without hindering its constitutional mandates. The study adopted the survey research design and Key -informant interview methods to examine how well the Nigerian Senate has oversighted the Military and Civil-Military institutions in Nigeria. Also, the researcher used secondary data sources to complement the primary data conducted. The data were analyzed by descriptive analysis to describe and explain the findings in regards to focus of the study. The findings of the study reflected the state of Civil-Military relations in Nigeria before 1999 as frictional relationship due to existence of a powerful Military, which in the immediate past, had total control over the machinery of government. The study also revealed that from 1999, the Military is gradually repositioning and re-professionalizing so much so that the state of Civil-relations depicted this paradigm shift in Military transformation. The improved Civil – Military relations has impacted the fight against insurgency, militancy and internal insurrection. On the oversight function of the Committee on defence for improved relationship, the study observed that the holding to account (through budget defence and oversight visits) ensured efficiency and effectiveness across the defence sector and National Assembly. This ensure that Military institutions must make the best possible use of public resources on fulfilling their respective roles and responsibilities and missions. Some challenges hindering effective legislative oversight of the Military included lack of commitment, funding issues, non-implementation of parliamentary resolutions, exhibition of blind loyalty to party, ethnic, cultural group and lack of political will amongst others. The study further recommended cooperation among critical/sector stakeholder, availability of fund for committee activities, commitment to committee’s mandates, training and retraining of the committees’ members and improved welfare of committee staff to enable parliament and parliamentary committees work more effectively, etc. as factors that will boost effective legislative oversight of the Military by the Nigeria Senate.