ONSA, SCIPC and security inter-agency collaboration, By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi

Recently, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, hosted members of the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA), during which he emphasised the pivotal role they play in adopting a proactive and strategic approach to engaging with the public and countering disinformation. This recognition of their importance made them feel valued and integral to the national security efforts.

The meeting with the image makers of the military, law enforcement and other security services was convened under the umbrella of the Strategic Communication Interagency Policy Committee (SCIPC).

Notably, the NSA drew attention to the global menace of fake news and misinformation. He further stressed the pivotal role of spokespersons in strategic communication management on national security, underlining their responsibility in countering these threats.

Ribadu emphasised that spokespersons must engage with citizens constructively and build trust to facilitate an easy flow of information between the involved parties.

“The urgency to prepare and be proactive in our national security strategic communication management is now, and the spokespersons have a critical role to play,” Ribadu stressed, instilling a sense of immediate action in the audience and motivating them to respond promptly.


Concerned about the preponderance of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation as threats to national security and public engagement, Ribadu charged the spokespersons to take charge of social media and push back on its weaponisation by extremists who share their ideologies there, which are capable of threatening national security.


The NSA reiterated that social media has become a priority issue of national security in this era of digitisation, as its harmful usage constitutes both local and global threats. This emphasis on the gravity of the situation makes the audience more aware and cautious.

Ribadu said SCIPC members must proactively and strategically manage national security communication.

He noted that, “Upon the sweat and blood of service personnel and the men and women who protect us daily, we must build a narrative of resilience and mobilise our people. We must tell their stories and sing their praise as part of a broader national strategic communication programme.

“As spokespersons, you have a critical role in countering fake news by being ahead of the news and proactively updating the public.”

Ribadu’s revitalisation of the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) into the Strategic Communication Interagency Policy Committee (SCIPC), has received commendation from the Chairman of the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), Major General Chris Olukolade (Rtd).

Speaking at the quarterly meeting of the CCC board, General Olukolade praised the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, for his commitment to harmonious relations and effective communication among critical stakeholders. He noted that the NSA’s efforts in revitalising the Forum for effective public communication are crucial for transparency, trust-building, and crisis management.

General Olukolade, chairman of the Enforcement Committee of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), urged spokespersons to embrace transparency and responsible stakeholder engagement. He emphasised that public communication enhances the effectiveness and reputation of security services, thereby promoting a safer and more informed society.

The maiden engagement of the NSA with the spokespersons of critical stakeholders under the auspices of SCIPC highlighted the imperatives of healthy inter-agency collaboration in boosting and enhancing overall national security.

The SCIPC is listed in the National Security Strategy (NSS) 2019, in a review of the maiden document of 2014, as a road map that defines national security interests. It is a vital document outlining the most significant threats and the tools to counter them. The strategy covers both military and non-military approaches.

The document integrates operational aspects, including information operations, psychological operations, public diplomacy, and public relations, into strategic communication, to project the country’s national power and values.

In particular, the work of the Strategic Communication Inter-Agency Policy Committee (SCIPC) will be strengthened to meet national security objectives. The document clearly states that the SCIPC will continuously identify, assess, and enhance government communication assets and ensure their mobilisation in support of national security interests.


The committee will also strengthen the capacity of government communication staff to effectively align their tasks to national strategic goals and objectives through training and capacity building. In addition, it will develop and share content across MDAs that amplify positive narratives, while delegating negative themes, messages, and narratives.

Similarly, the Committee will assist in utilising social media for positive ends, while countering negative voices online and identify opportunities for the government to partner with civil society, the private sector, research and academic institutions, media, international entities, alongside religious and cultural groups in the national security interest.

Its main objectives are to promote security consciousness and education and also promote the annual report on mainstreaming strategic communication capabilities in ministries, departments, and agencies.

Different security agencies have unique strengths and areas of focus. For example, police forces excel at street-level crime, intelligence agencies gather domestic and foreign intelligence, and militaries handle large-scale defence. They share information and insights by working together, creating a more comprehensive understanding of potential threats. This collaborative approach helps identify connections and patterns that might be missed by any single agency.

Also, when security agencies operate in silos, they risk duplicating their efforts and wasting resources. Collaboration allows them to coordinate activities, ensuring everyone is on the same page, and there are no gaps in coverage. This streamlined approach frees up resources for other critical tasks.

Similarly, national security endeavours often require various resources, from manpower to specialised equipment. Inter-agency collaboration allows for the pooling and sharing of resources, ensuring the right tools are available when and where they are needed. This maximises the effectiveness of resource allocation.

Also, effective responses to security threats rely on clear communication and coordinated action. Collaboration fosters these aspects by establishing shared protocols, communication channels, and joint task forces. This ensures a swift and unified response when threats emerge.

NSA Ribadu’s intervention in convening the forum was timely. Therefore, spokespersons of security agency should work together to build trust with the public and bolster a better understanding of the government’s ability to safeguard national security.

In a nutshell, inter-agency collaboration is the cornerstone of a robust national security strategy. By working together, security institutions can achieve a clearer threat picture, eliminate wasteful redundancy, optimise resource allocation, and ultimately keep the nation safer.

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

Source: PremiumTimes

ONSA, SCIPC and security inter-agency collaboration, By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi

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