Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Christopher Gwabin Musa

A Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle attended the second edition of the Saudi Defence Exhibition to explore tech solutions, especially, the latest security technologies and share information and ideas on the latest defence systems to combat insecurity.

The Nigerian delegation, which also comprised of the Chief of Defense Staff, (CDS) General Christopher Gwabin Musa, demonstrated the commitment of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, towards seizing the advantages offered by technological advancements, especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, and data analytics to enhance collective national security.

The Global Exhibition has no doubt presented a unique opportunity for Nigeria to address its ongoing challenges in collaboration with international communities.

Other participating countries at the exhibition included Russia, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Iran, and the United States of America, among others.

The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) has over the years made some strides in utilizing technology to enhance the activities of its personnel and operations. But yet much still need to be done.

It was not surprising when the Minister of Communication, Innovations and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, emphasized the need towards supporting the security forces with the required technological tools to combat insecurity in Nigeria.

During a paper presentation at the maiden National Security Course on Psychological Operations and Strategic Communication, (NSCPOSC), the Minister advised the military and other security agencies to leverage the solutions offered by technological innovations toward tackling security challenges.

In his paper at the course organised by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Minister noted that some bad elements have continued to harness cyberspace as the perfect avenue for perpetrating crimes.

He said, “The Internet and social media have made it easy to spread misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, which may exert a negative effect on our national security.”

Mr. Tijani noted that the ongoing fourth industrial revolution (IR 4.0) has had significant effects on technological advancements and innovations, especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and data analytics.

According to him, the military and other sister agencies can take advantage of these tech tools by incorporating them into their operational plans so as to enhance their security efficiency

Though the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), is responsible for the production of military hardware and other civilian products, the company should leverage the 4th IR to revive the cimpany and set it in a better position to overcome the security challenges.

The 4IR, characterized by advancements in artificial intelligence, big data, and robotics offers a plethora of tools that could fundamentally alter the security landscape. Drones equipped with facial recognition can track suspects, while AI-powered analytics can predict crime hotspots. Sophisticated communication networks can connect security forces across vast distances, and blockchain technology can ensure the transparency and accountability of operations.

Meanwhile, the advantages of using technology are undeniable. Imagine a scenario where Nigerian security forces receive real-time intelligence on criminal activities, enabling them to proactively prevent attacks and apprehend perpetrators.

Also, bolstering our border security with AI-powered tools will boost surveillance systems, making it virtually impossible for criminals to infiltrate the country undetected. When communication gaps are bridged, this will allow for seamless collaboration between different security agencies, fostering a unified response to threats.

However, harnessing the power of the 4IR for security is not without its challenges. Infrastructure deficiencies, particularly in rural areas, could hinder the deployment of essential technologies. Data privacy concerns must be addressed to ensure citizens’ rights are not infringed upon.

And perhaps most importantly, the human element cannot be ignored. Effective implementation requires not just technology but also a cultural shift towards innovation, collaboration, and data-driven decision-making within security agencies.

Nonetheless, despite the challenges, the potential rewards are too significant to ignore. The Nigerian military cannot afford to be left behind in the 4IR. The nation must embrace this technological revolution and leverage its potential to address the root causes of insecurity, such as poverty, lack of opportunity, and social injustice.

Achieving this requires investing in infrastructure, thereby expanding internet access and building robust communication networks for the deployment of tech-based security solutions. Training security personnel in using and interpreting technological tools is also essential for maximizing their effectiveness.

Mukhtar Madobi is an NDA research student and the author of “National Security Strategies: A Young Writer’s Perspective.” Email: [email protected]