Engaging Youth for ‘Non-Kinetic’ Military Strategy
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
Recently, the Nigerian Army under the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), which is responsible for maintaining peace in Plateau and parts of Kaduna and Bauchi states, trained 103 youths on armed combat and intelligence gathering. The training is part of efforts of the military aimed at tackling insecurity in southern parts of Kaduna state.
Commander of the sector, Col. Timothy Opurum noted that the issue of security is a collective responsibility, hence the necessity for the locals to be involved in the fight against crime.
“Security is everybody’s business and no one individual organisation can have monopoly in ensuring security. It is on that basis we felt that there is the need to carry the community along in creating a secure environment for socio-economic development. We may not completely eliminate crime, but if we work together we will be able to reduce crime to the barest minimum,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) is advancing the whole of society approach towards addressing national security.
The CDS spoke at a 2-day Youth and Security Summit themed, “Building Trust for an Improved Security Response in Nigeria,” organized by Abuja Global Shapers Community (AGSC) in collaboration with Defence Headquarters.
According to Irabor, for the AFN to sustain progress as part of the larger architecture addressing security challenges, advancing the whole-of-society approach by the military has become an issue of necessity as at present.
The CDS described the collaborative venture between the AFN and AGSC as enlightening the participants in order to better understand the roles and responsibilities of the military in surmounting internal and external threats as well as protection of lives and property.
In his words, “engaging the youths is practically making them to become part and parcel of the fabric of stability of the society towards enhancing national security.”
The involvement of youths as stakeholders in Tackling Insecurity is a welcome development.
We are aware that in spite of the relentless and collective efforts demonstrated by the Nigerian Armed Forces in synergy with other security agencies, insecurity remains unabated through the activities of criminal elements.
Evidently, this has necessitated the need for incorporating new approaches to the existing methods employed for fighting insecurity in the country.
It is undeniable, the Nigerian military has been deploying both combat and soft or non-kinetic approaches with the sole aim of maintaining security and stability across the length and breadth of the country.
There is no doubt that the engagement of youth is not only timely but commendable as they are also a segment of the population which could play a pivotal role in advancing the course of national security.
Apparently, the adoption of multi-stakeholders’ approach to containment of insecurity in Nigeria will have the potential of yielding the much desired result. Through this strategy, community members including religious and traditional leaders, community-based associations, pressure groups, media, politicians, academics and the security agencies work in synergy toward enhancing security, peace and development.
Through civil-military relations, the military and society members engage each other in areas of information and intelligence gathering as well as subsequent sharing among others. Thus, early warning signals systems can be detected and communicated to the relevant authorities for prompt action.
It is therefore imperative to urge the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), a primary military intelligence body responsible for obtaining information and intelligence for the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Defence Ministry to sustain their unwavering efforts in supporting moves towards intelligence gathering and processing from various segments of the society.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer, Emergency Digest