The federal government has said it is worried that the prevalence of various secutity threats in different parts of the country is endangering not only economic growth, but also food security.
“In particular, food scurity has been adversely affected, with the attendant rise in prices of food stuff accross the country which portend’s a new dimension of threat”.
Minister of Defence, Major Gen Bashir Magachi (rtd) who made this known at the opening of the 2021 Defence Advisers/Attaches Annual conference in Abuja said that “the threat has made it imperative for the various security agencies in the country to collaborate to tackle the menace in orther to create the enabling atmosphere for economic activities to thrive and to attract Foreign Direct Investment”
*It also means that the security agencies must explore all avenues within their respective systems to come up with innovative ways of identifying and confronting the challences facing us as a nation”
Reiterating that Nigeria of today is faced with other dimension of threats including increasing agitations for sucession, the minister said, “In the north east, attacks by Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP continue to pose serious security threats in Nigeria. In the north west and north central zones, the activities of armed bandits, armed herders/militia attacks and kidnappers are prevalent.
“The littoral states in the South-South region are plagued with illegal oil bunkering, piracy and militancy while the South- East is challenged with secessionist activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra. The South Wesr region is equally faced with secessionist inclination driven by ethnic agitators as well as occasional tension between herders and farmers”.
“Distinguishing the threats Nigeria is currently facing and understanding their socio-geographic context is pivotal for adapting appropriate and lasting counter-measures.
He continued, “There is no doubt that the Defence Advisers/Atteches system has crucial roles to play in this regard by forging understanding and cooperation with the security and defence architectures in their respective countries of acctmreditation.
“It is for this reason that I find the theme of the 2021 Defence Advisers Conference which is ‘Advancing Counter-Terrorism Efforts Through Enhanced Inter-Agency Cooperation: A Whole of Government Approach’ as timely and very apt.
“This conference provides the opportunity to appraise the shared vision if stemming the tide of insecurity through the integrated efforts of all government entities which is the objective of the whole of governnebt approach”.
Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major General Samuel Adebayo in his welcome address said, “This conference comes at a time when the nation is facing unusual daunting security challenges characterized by a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambigious environment. The theme will undoubtedly guide our deliberations and contributions to the current efforts of the federal government towards attaining a whole of government approach in our counter terrorism strategy and create an atmosphere for sustainable national development”
“It is heartwarming to note that the armed forces of nigeria has made tremendous progress at confronting Nigeria’s security challenges. This is evident from the massive surrendering of Boko Haram fighters in their thousands while the conflict remains confined tovthe Sambisa Forest and the Fringes of the Lake Chad Basin.
“Also, intensified operations against armed banditsbin the North West and North Central are yeilding desired results. The fluid naturebof the threatsbposed byvthese enemies of the Nigerian state has once again reinforced the need for collaboration efforts, be it government to government, within the security services and even through foreign diplomats and DAs. The latter is key to eliminating any form of foreign support the insurgents may be leveraging on.
In a goodwill address, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (rtd) drew the attention of the Defence Advisers/Attaches to the dangerous effects of drug use on terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements noting that there is definite linkage between use of drugs and security threats facing the nation.
“We have a horrendous scourge of drugs use in Nigeria with about 15 million Nigerians involved. Troops of the Armed forces of Nigeria know what they find after several operations, in the camps of terrorists and bandits, drugs. It is these are the drugs that drive their criminality.
“So their is need for collaboration between the NDLEA and the Defence Intelligence Agency particularly as most of these hard drugs come in from foreign countries. I urge our DAs in India, China, Pakistan, Brazil and South Africa to be on the look out.
Citing an example, Marwa said, “A few weeks ago, we (NDLEA) seized about half a million pills of a drug called Captagon. This similar to drugs used in the 2nd world war. It chemically enhances thevuser, makes them prone to violence and makes them to abhor fear. Each of this pill sells for $25 a pill. Somebody sent it to Nigeria. Imagine if these pills find their way into the hands of the terrorists and bandits”
Also present at the occasion were former CDI, Major Gen Halidu Giwa (rtd), Niigeria’s Ambassador to Niger (AVM) Mohammed Sani Usman, Major, Gen Davies (rtd), Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi (rtd), and Major Gen SY Audu (rtd)