That DHQ National Security Summit
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
If there is one thing that Nigeria, as a country, wants to totally get rid off, it is insecurity. Insecurity, in recent times, has manifested in Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, insurgency.
The terror sects have terribly destabilized North East region. They have destroyed socio-economic life in the region. Aside hundreds of thousands killed, million residents of the North East have become Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and refugees in their country.
There is armed banditry in the North West and Central geo-political zones. A menace that came into prominence barely five years ago, has assumed a gruesome dimension. The banditry industry seems to be a thriving one as bandits take home millions as paid ransom before freeing their captives.
Countless villages in Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara States, in particular, have been sacked. In terms of human lives that have been lost to this illicit crime, it is unfathomable. Not only ordinary civilians, bandits have not spared the elites. They have eliminated several high-profile politicians, lawmakers, and traditional leaders, among others.
Other violent crimes are also perpetrated in some parts of the country. Groups such as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, championing for secession have become emboldened in recent times. It is an incontrovertible fact that wanton crimes and killings, among other acts of criminalities, dissuade foreign investors from Nigeria.
Aside absence of foreign investments, the collapse of the country’s economy, and other vital sectors are what insecurity have bequeathed. Efforts of security agencies such as the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Military, together with other para-military agencies, in tackling rising insecurity, must be appreciated. But experts have canvassed a multi-stakeholders’ approach to douse the ferocious flame of insecurity.
The federal government, whose sole responsibility is to protect lives and properties, believes that members of the general public are also active stakeholders in the task of safeguarding national peace, unity and security.
Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), recently urged stakeholders and the general public to support and collaborate with the Armed Forces and security agencies in the task of ensuring national security.
The Defence Minister made the appeal in Abuja, at a ‘National Defence and Security Summit’ themed, “Promoting Kinetic Operations as a major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria” organized by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).
Maj. Gen. Magashi noted that the current security situation required the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of relevant stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task.
This, he said is important to minimize distractions and maximize civil support in order to enhance operational success and mission outcomes.
According to him, the Federal Government (FG) has over the years leveraged on a multi-lateral approach with contiguous neighbouring countries as well as multi-dimensional efforts domestically to address, what he described as the multi-dimensional nature of the contemporary security situation.
He lauded the DHQ for organizing the summit at a time the country is confronted with numerous security challenges. He reaffirmed the FG’s commitment to defending the sovereignty and unity of the country.
The only lecture at the summit titled “Kinetic Operations as a Major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency in Nigeria: Issues, challenges and Prospects was delivered by Ambassador Abdullahi Omaki who was the guest speaker at the event.
The Executive Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva; the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), and Chairman House Committee on Defence. Honourable Benson Babajimi graced the event.
Also in attendance were the incumbent and former Service Chiefs, former Chiefs of Defence Staff, representative of Chief of Staff to the President, former Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, traditional rulers, the academia, diplomats and media executives.
A virtual audience including the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ forum, NGF, Mr Kayode Fayemi, and other major stakeholders joined the Security Summit via zoom.
On his part, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, in a remark, disclosed that in line with Presidential directives, the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) is already working assiduously to urgently stabilize the security situation.
The Defence Chief, pointed out that the security summit was aimed at sensitizing and galvanising support among critical stakeholders and the general public for AFN kinetic campaigns.
Speaking on Non kinetic perspective of AFN operations, the CDS averred that it is crucial to promote viable Civil-Military Relations structures in support of the kinetic operations. He enjoined all stakeholders and the public to support the drive.
He also called for more synergy between the AFN and other security agencies. Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chief of Defence Training and Operations (CDTOPS), Maj Gen Lasisi Adegboye, said the theme was coined to reflect the need for the input of diverse stakeholders in addressing current security realities.
The CDTOPS explained further that the theme was equally in tandem with the leadership focus of the CDS, “To Foster a Professional Armed Forces capable of effectively meeting Constitutional Imperatives.”
The Security Summit definitely has come and gone. Portent strategies that will assist in ending insecurity and violent crimes in the country were highlighted at the August event.
In the days ahead, the government and the military under the leadership of Gen. Irabor, the CDS, should preoccupy themselves with nothing, but evolving an effective mechanism that will see to the fruitful implementation of the innovative ideas and strategies to fight insecurity in Africa’s most populous black nation.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is Assistant Editor PRNigeria