Security Agencies and Re-echoing the Need for Collaboration
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
One thing is certain: security agencies in the country, presently, are battling to stem the tide of pervasive insecurity, claiming precious lives on a level that is so staggering.
From the Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, insurgency, to violent armed banditry in the North West and Central parts of the country, together with kidnapping for ransom, and crude oil theft by sea pirates and vandals, among other heinous crimes, Nigerian security forces, have never had it so gruelling waging war against unscrupulous elements, holding the country to ransom.
In various parts of the country, men and officers of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, the Department of State Services, DSS, the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS, among other para-military security agencies, are involved in combat operations.
But security experts have attributed the delay in ending insecurity in the country to nothing but the poor relationship existing among security agencies, who do not see one another proverbially as ‘partners in progress’.
They are locked in what one can best describe as a fierce inter-agency rivalry, or better still, a stiff competition for superiority, relevance and authority.
After reviewing the statutes of various security agencies in Nigeria, Konrad Adenuer Stiftung, KAS, a German foundation inspired to foster inter-agency collaboration with a view to engendering conflict resolution and enhancing human security, recently found that “interagency rivalry was mainly being caused by the overlapping or conflicting mandates of these agencies”.
The German foundation, however, disclosed that it has commenced strategic engagement with the relevant institutions and stakeholders to push for reform of these laws to ensure clarity of function.
“We have also been organising capacity building workshops for members of different committees in the National Assembly and also for State Houses of Assembly to strengthen knowledge and practice of effective legislation and oversight.
“We have to embed the culture of good civil-military relations, intelligence and information sharing between security agencies and civilian citizens through our seminars at national and geo-political zones of Nigeria,” it said.
Available evidence indicates that poor inter-agency collaboration among Nigeria’s security institutions is one of the major factors militating against effective conflict resolution and security management in Nigeria.
The consequences of not working effectively together culminate in increasing fear of insecurity and diminished trust in the capabilities of the security system to protect the lives and property of civilian populations across Nigeria in general and terror zones in particular.
Perhaps, that is why Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, recently called for improved partnership among security agencies to maintain stability and enhance development in the country.
General Irabor who stated this at a lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos Southwest Nigeria, said violent groups are threatening the stability of the country.
He explained that the Defence Headquarters had conducted inter-agency cooperation workshop to enhance synergy in all operations
The Defence Chief while delivering his lecture titled, “Contemporary Security Environment and National Development; Efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria,” identified growing rates of population, poverty, unemployment and unmanned borders amongst other contending issues provided a breeding ground for security threats.
According to him, the situation has led to the volatility in West African states to poor ranking on the critical baseline data such as; the human development index, fragile state index, global peace index and global terrorism index.
“There are about 364 approved international border points in Nigeria, 261 points are in the Northeast and Northwest regions but only 124 points are manned. The unmanned points are used by non-state actors to move freely from other parts of Nigeria.
“Lack of whole-of- society for collective security has affected and still affecting national development sequel to the I don’t care attitudes of some Nigerians, saying that insecurity has no effect on them forgetting that directly or indirectly, it will affect them when the country is challenged with insecurity, nobody will sleep with their eyes closed.
“The military amongst other agencies have done a lot to put a check to all the activities of Boko Haram, terrorism, banditry with the introduction of “Operation Awatse, Operation Lafia Doyle, Operation Python Dance and Operation Delta safe,” he said.
Nevertheless, there is need for all security agencies in the country to close ranks and eliminate rivalry. Security is arrived at when every part of the security system (police, army, NSCDC, NDLEA, Immigration, Customs and others) discharges its roles efficiently and balances its weaknesses with the strength of other security agencies.
Inferiority complex and superiority battles between and among security agencies only aggravate the insecurity of everyone and deepen national insecurity.
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