Recent developments in the Nigerian Army have shown that the soldiers are not all brawns but brains. The Army on Monday displayed its innovative prowess and preparedness to frontally combat the challenge of terrorism in the country by inventing military hardwares capable of decimating and submerging the unrelenting insurgents operating in the north-east.
The innovation deployed for the invention of unique combat and light vehicles manufactured by the Army Command Engineering in partnership with Defence Industries Corporation (DICON) in Kaduna is an indication that given right incentives, Nigerian Army has the capacity to transform the country into a regional power.
President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled military vehicles, including five Marine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP), also known as ‘Ezugwu MRAP’ and other infantry patrol vehicles at the 2019 Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference in Kaduna on Monday. The success in the local manufacturing of military hardwares by the Army suggests that the days of the insurgents are numbered. This is good news!
The success recorded shows the outcome of Buhari’s relentless support to the Army and his administration’s commitment to security of lives and properties in the country. The government’s investments into the capacity building of the military personnels, especially the engineering corps, has begun to yield results. Professionalism is gradually berthing in the Army.
With the planned mass production of the ‘Ezeugwu MRAP’ the Nigerian Army will be equipped to carry out military operations without having to wait for imported hardwares that the western powers are more often than not unwilling to sell for the country. The vehicle, according to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, are masterpieces that could pose great threats to the nation’s adversaries.
The President, like every other Nigerians, was excited by the innovation and promised continued support to the Army as the soldiers continue to break new grounds. The breakthrough recorded indicates that funds invested in the Army are not wasted.
‘‘I am glad that the production of Ezugwu Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles which I will be unveiling today will join the infantry patrol vehicles that were earlier produced as testimony that our efforts are yielding positive results,”Buhari said.
Nigerians are particularly impressed that the Nigerian Army is inching towards self sustainability by producing military hardwares needed to repel terrorists without being consistently hamstrung by foreign powers that have been politicizing the nation’s security challenges.
Mass production of the Ezeugwu MRAP and other infantry patrols vehicles will definitely conserve the nation’s foreign exchange and more investments into the vehicles for export could earn Nigeria the much needed foreign exchange.
No doubt Nigerians are beginning to reinvest their trust in the capacity of the Nigerian Army and will continue to support their collaborative efforts with relevant indigenous organisations to promote local content towards developing its military-industrial complex.
Can 2019 National Security Strategy address insecurity and poverty?
There are indications that the egg-heads in government are beginning to think outside the box in their determination to tackle insecurity and widespread poverty in the country.
While one cannot discountenance the deployment of force to whip miscreants into line, there seems to be a new thinking that root causes of poverty and insecurity should be overtly tackled. Unemployment and under-employment are harbingers of poverty and these are anchored on illiteracy.
There is a consensus among leaders and followers alike that the security challenges facing the nation, ranging from terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery wouldn’t have reached this crescendo were the youth gainfully engaged. Therefore, there is unanimity in the conclusion that something must be done to stem the rate of unemployment and disillusionment for the nation to retain her sanity.
Statistics and reports depicting the reality of despondency in the country are appalling. For instance, the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently at the regional presentation of a report entitled, ‘Creating decent jobs: Strategies, policies and instruments’, in Abuja, raised the concern that the unemployment situation in Nigeria was frightening and could become catastrophic if decent jobs were not created for the country’s youth population.
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) similarly has warned that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria may rise to 33.5% next year (2020) from the current rate pegged at 23.1%, noting that lack of employment opportunities and the shutdown of several companies are the reasons for the renewed fears.
Evidently, many Nigerian youth are unemployable because of illiteracy. Sometimes, others classified as literates are without required skills and thus unemployable.
So, the current administration has resolved to prioritize human capital development with a view to eradicating poverty and curb insecurity in the society. At the recent National Security Strategy meeting in the Presidential Villa, the President said his administration’s priority at his second term are security, economic diversification and fight against corruption. He also promised to improve education , healthcare and agriculture.
But the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.) has consistently maintained that poverty, illiteracy and insecurity are intertwined and for peace to return to Nigeria, the army of idle Nigerian youth must be gainfully engaged.
In his speech at the meeting, Monguno at the launching of the National Security Strategy 2019 harped on human security after dissecting the gamut of challenges facing the nation. He explained the new thinking in government as espoused by the Security Strategy for the next five years.
He said “Now, what the strategy does is to look at our national security objectives and align these objectives with this administration’s goals in fighting corruption, giving access to improved education, taking care of the healthcare problems as well as increased productivity in the agriculture sector.
But rooted in the strategy are issues that may not be visible to the naked eyes, but issues that have tended to be malignant to cause a lot of greater problems to this society. Fundamentally, if we are going to take care of these problems, we need to try and safeguard the fast-growing young population of Nigeria and guess what? We need to look at issues of poverty eradication and illiteracy.
The issue of illiteracy is directly linked to the issue of children not going to school. This Almajere phenomenon which we have been talking about, we cannot continue to push it under the carpet because what, eventually, it will come back to bite us in the butt big time. We need to deal with this issue and it is the responsibility of all of us to try and take care of this issue without any inhibition. I will tell you one thing: the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in its pursuit for greater and enhanced security will not allow itself to be blackmailed or handcuffed by the disarming philosophy of compliance with certain aspects that are socio-cultural in nature which people tend to be adverse to dealing. We must grab the bull by the horn and deal with these issues.”
To forestall further complication of the nation’s security challenge, the President recently called on all Nigerians to embrace education because therein lies the much desired salvation for the country.
For the Security Strategy to make the desired impact, Nigerians must embrace education while the government provide all the necessary access to learning. Out of school children must be encouraged to return to the classrooms in order to avert the danger of further grooming armies of ignorant population.
The wealth of the nation does not consist in the barrels of crude but in its human resources. China and India are good examples of countries that transformed their huge population into goldmine. There must be deliberate policy in place that will compel parents to send their wards to school at least to the secondary level.
Closely linked to this is the need to enforce girl-child education. The practice of reducing women to baby-making machines as being done in some cultures will not help the national social transformation agenda.
There is also the need to reinvent the social values inherent in the society. Men and women of outstanding achievements should be celebrated with or without money. Let there be ‘Hall of Honour’ for the virtuous and ‘Hall of Shame’ for the scoundrels too.
Nigeria’s National Security Adviser- General Babagana Monguno at the launch of the National Security Strategy.
The national security strategy, its maiden edition was published in 2014. Ever since then, evolving trends in the security environment have given rise to new and more complex challenges thus, necessitating a review of this national security strategy based on the timeline of five years which is stipulated for the review of this strategy. Therefore, at the instance of Mr, President, I convened a committee of experts drawn from the various departments and relevant branches of government to undertake a rigorous review of this strategy drawing inputs from various ministries, departments and agencies. Thereafter, I tasked this committee with the formulation of the national security strategy of 2019.
It addresses the current threats faced by the Nigerian nation as well as those threats that are anticipated to emerge in the near future. We have also proffered appropriate strategy to address these threats which demand a whole of government approach in combination with a whole of nation to achieve a whole of societal approach in dealing with these challenges. Now, this is critical because the perceptible trend in the national security landscape is that the traditional clear cut issues of internal and external security as it affects us today in the globalised world without borders are no longer the sole requirement for categorizing national security risk. Therefore, in the context of today, there is a vigorous interaction between internal and external threats thereby creating a complex constellation of threat and risk to all of us.
Let me give an example, the issue of insurgency in the north east is directly linked to the issue of terrorism in the Sahel which is an increasingly volatile neighbourhood and the situation is also derived from what is happening in Libya which in turn is affected by the lack of security Syria which derived its own situation ultimately from Iraq. Now when we look at the issue of farmers and pastoralists perpetual conflict, it is also linked to the influx of armed groups and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons across porous borders. In our own case, we are talking of some 4,040kilometers of land borders. Again, when you look at the upsurge in armed banditry, it is part of the sphere of transnational organized crime which is affecting us. And looking at the Niger delta situation, basically, the activities of criminal gangs in the Niger Delta are equally linked to pipeline vandalism, oil theft, piracy and sea robbery in the Gulf of Guinea. These have brought about untold problems and placed our maritime economy in derestrict while at the same time, putting in a difficult situation in our energy infrastructure. In all of these situations, traditional law enforcement agencies have used various approaches and these approaches are complemented by the robust responses of our armed forces, security, and intelligence agencies. Nonetheless, this National Security Strategy has decided to embark on a comprehensive and multi-dimensional approach to solving these challenges.
The core philosophy of this strategy is human security. This is a shift from the state-centric orientation we have been used to, to a new paradigm in which the safety and wellbeing of the individual citizens are the primary bases for all national security measures. And this is what I call the Muhammadu Buhari approach to National Security. Currently, our national security strategy tries to mitigate adverse national security indicators in its desire to achieve the delivery of positive governance outcome for all the people of Nigeria. In so doing, this document takes a comprehensive look at how to enhance the capacity of security agencies and how they need to collaborate with each other. As we consolidate on the successes of nation-building in the Northeast and Niger Delta, the clear lesson for all of us here is that the key to sustainable peace and development is to guarantee security both in terms and social status for everybody.
Now, let’s look at the composition of this committee I set up, Fundamentally, it is a demonstration of our commitment to participatory policymaking I the security sphere. So, what we have done is to try as much as possible to engage all security agencies to deal with these issues in a collaboratory manner. That is for the security agencies. Secondly, for all of us working in government, there is a need for us to enhance collaboration at the regional, global and continental levels because of the very transnational nature of insecurity in the globe today. This National Security Strategy has also taken a look at the various aspects of individual MDAs and therefore, there is a need for all of us to work not just the security agencies. As the old adage goes, security is everybody’s business. This national security document is an executive document which will serve as the broad construct for departments and agencies of government so that they understand the intention of executive leadership of the country in delivering to the people what it promised pre-election period. It should be seen as a strategic communication tool for both the domestic and foreign audience. This strategy in essence is the national document bearing the collective seal of ownership and public confidence of the entire citizenry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I present the national security strategy of 2014 which is a cornerstone document that enshrines the deep abiding commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensuring that Nigeria is a secure, peaceful and prosperous nation.