CRAFTING A STRATEGIC BLUEPRINT FOR SECURITY AND PROSPERITY
During the plenary session, Chief Olatunji Adeleye, the commander of Ondo State Security Network, emphasized the pressing need for localized security solutions exemplified by the “Amotekun” Security Department. This collaborative initiative, primarily orchestrated by Western Governors, aims to effectively combat grassroots insecurities. Chief Adeleye passionately stressed that security is a collective responsibility that transcends government jurisdiction, urging the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and forums alike to actively advocate for security awareness. He stressed the interdependence of security and prosperity, asserting that both are integral to ensuring the nation’s safety.
In a call to action, Chief Adeleye proposed that local security measures should extend beyond the Western region to address the severe security challenges faced in the North, characterized by rampant banditry, and in the South, where kidnapping prevails. He emphasized the urgent need for local security to play a dominant role in the nation’s overall security strategy. Concluding his session, Chief Adeleye passionately urged local and national security entities to join forces in their concerted efforts to curb the prevailing security issues.
At the session, the Inspector General of Police (IG), represented by Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Frank Uba, shed light on the prevailing security challenges affecting all geopolitical zones of Nigeria. In the Northwest zone, the IG highlighted the pressing issues of banditry and conflicts between farmers and herders. According to him, the Southeastern zone faced challenges such as targeted attacks, selective killings, arms trafficking, drug-related offenses, secessionist activities, and arson. The South-Southern zone was grappling with economic crimes, kidnapping, robbery, and cult-related activities. Even the relatively stable Southwest region had its share of concerns, including ritual killings, land grabbing (which acted as a breeding ground for cultism and arms trade), and internet fraud. The IG underscored the urgent need for police reform and the recruitment of capable personnel to effectively address these security issues.
Justice Gumi took the stage to discuss the security situation in Zamfara State. He presented alarming statistics related to killings, kidnappings, ransom payments, livestock rustling, and arson. According to him, the root cause of banditry in the state dated back to the indiscriminate allocation of land to farmers, starting in May 1999. This led to conflicts with Fulani herders and subsequent attacks. He also pointed out that injustice perpetrated by some traditional rulers contributed to the problem. Justice Gumi emphasized that the decentralization of security agencies exacerbated the situation.
In response to these challenges, Justice Gumi proposed several remedial actions for traditional and religious leaders:
- Intercession (prayer and fasting) and charity
- Traditional science
- Local joint tax force:
- Crowdfunding for security operations
- Empowerment of youths
- Civic education and social orientation
- Regulation of Islamic schools
- Prioritization of character over money, corruption, and violence
In a pivotal address centered on fortifying security and fostering prosperity, the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, delivered a compelling message through a representative. The core focus of the Renewed Hope administration was made crystal clear: National Security is paramount, closely entwined with the economic dimension of the administration’s agenda.
It was reiterated that security is not the sole responsibility of the government but a collective duty. However, the government bears the fundamental responsibility of safeguarding its citizens. Key pillars supporting security were emphasized: good governance and the rule of law. The indispensable role of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law, particularly its impartiality and integrity, was underscored. These elements were portrayed as fundamental to instilling confidence among citizens.
Addressing the challenges posed by banditry and terrorism, the government laid out comprehensive plans for collaboration and resource allocation. Simultaneously, the creation of employment opportunities and skill development were recognized as vital in reducing insecurity by engaging citizens gainfully.
A holistic approach emerged as the linchpin, encompassing reinforced legislative frameworks and policy reviews in the realm of national security. Integral to this approach was the strengthening of National Security organs and the establishment of specialized units, adequately equipped to address diverse security concerns.
The Nigeria Police Force also came under scrutiny, with a call for comprehensive overhaul, including rigorous selection and recruitment processes. This transformation aims to enhance the police’s ability to maintain law and order, providing effective policing to communities. The administration committed to closely involving local communities, fostering mutual trust.
The media’s influential role in raising public awareness of security measures was acknowledged, and the administration pledged economic support for local communities. The vulnerability of national borders was recognized as a significant contributor to insecurity. Concrete measures to combat cross-border banditry were detailed, involving stringent training protocols.
Concluding his address, the words of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria were invoked, highlighting the necessity of harmony and unity for an effective security landscape. The imperative of partnership among all stakeholders was underscored as pivotal in realizing a secure and prosperous nation. His discourse emphasized a resolute commitment to crafting a robust blueprint for security and prosperity, amalgamating the fusion of multifaceted approaches, collaborative efforts, and strategic initiatives to build a unified and secure Nigeria.
NAVY SHOWCASE: THE IMPACT OF MARITIME SECURITY THREATS ON THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY: NIGERIAN NAVY PERSPECTIVE
This breakout session featured Commodore Anyikwa, who shed light on the Nigerian Navy’s (NN) concerted efforts to address a range of threats including piracy, terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal fishing, crude oil theft, and illegal oil bunkering. The NN, in collaboration with other agencies, has taken a multifaceted approach to tackle these challenges head-on.
Commodore Anyikwa outlined the NN’s response strategy, which operates on three fronts: maritime surveillance, swift response mechanisms, and rigorous enforcement of maritime laws. These measures collectively contribute to safeguarding Nigeria’s maritime domain.
Another distinguished panelist emphasized the pivotal role of legal professionals in combatting oil theft. Mr. Ozekhome, SAN, engaged the audience with thought-provoking questions that delved into the heart of the matter. He posed inquiries like ‘who is stealing the oil?’ and ‘where and how is this happening?’ Mr. Ozekhome drew attention to the alarming scale of oil theft and pointed out that the Nigerian Navy often faces accusations due to its pivotal role in maritime security.
Mr. Ozekhome expressed curiosity about the individuals behind these illicit activities, pressing for clarity on who is responsible. He candidly disclosed that, in his view, those involved in oil theft include not only the NN but also the Joint Task Force (JTF), which includes the police, NDLEA, NSCDC, and EFCC. He further extended blame to encompass local politicians, elites, multinational oil companies, godfathers, traditional rulers, spiritual leaders, and even members of the local populace.
In offering potential solutions to this complex issue, Mr. Ozekhome recommended a series of measures:
- Investment in Strong Technological Equipment
- Community engagement
- Capacity building of communities, skill acquisition
- Serious legal reforms to prescribe dire consequences
- Legalizing Illegal Refineries
- Traditional Ruler Empowerment