Ekhomu advised political office holders not to be distracted but to focus on winning the insurgency war and other security challenges facing the country.
Perturbed by the varied security challenges bedevilling Nigeria, experts recently converged on Lagos to proffer short and long-term solutions to the problem.
At a seminar organised by the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), the stakeholders identified lack of political will, policy inconsistency and poor implementation
as some of the obstacles to winning the insecurity war in the country.
Various speakers at the event regretted that virtually every part of Nigeria has been experiencing one form of insecurity or the other. They pointed out that there is an urgent need to check the disturbing trend and arrest it from further escalating into an untamed monster.
One of the guest speakers, Major General Ohifeme Ejemai (rtd), said security is all about prevention and not waiting for a crime to happen before reacting to it.
On the theme of the conference, “Mitigating Critical Security Risks, from Policy to Action,” he said what was happening in Nigeria was no longer a security risk but a major crisis.
He listed some of the crises facing the nation as terrorism, herders/farmers’ clashes, militancy, kidnapping, cyber attacks as well as political and election violence.
He lamented that Nigeria is now experiencing failed institutions, weakened national cohesion and hegemonic stance as fallouts of insecurity.
While calling for a comprehensive approach to tackling insecurity, he said there must be political will that transcends political parties or administration to deal with all forms of immediate and foreseen insecurity threats.
Ejemai suggested that all Nigeria’s security agencies be reformed in line with contemporary issues.
The former GOC 7 Division, Nigerian Army, said the conference was being held to make policymakers adopt proactive measures in not only solving security issues, but promoting peaceful communities and attracting foreign investment.
President of AISSON, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, said the military was winning the war against insurgency but noted that the challenges were getting far more enormous than the military ever envisaged. He said that creative solutions were urgently needed to resolve the situation so that Boko Haram could be totally wiped out.
The security expert, however, said that using the military was not the only solution to the on-going insurgency in the northern part of Nigeria.
While speaking on the topic, “Boko Haram/ ISWA threats: Combating a Burgeoning Insurgency,” Ekhomu also asked the government to be more proactive.
Said he: “We need a long view to the issues of violence. Because we lack the ability to see ahead, we miss when the red flags are raised. Sometimes, they start as communal clashes and if they are diffused at that level, they have been nipped in the bud. We need to be more proactive than preventive.
“It is wrong that the military is seen as the only solution to the insurgency. When we gather intelligence, what are we doing with it? That is where the action comes in. It is not about killing the head of an terror group; that simply makes another leader rise. Rather, their leaders should be used to decimate them and negotiate with them.”
He advised political office holders not to be distracted but to focus on winning the insurgency war and other security challenges facing the country.
The former Commandant of the National Defence College, Abuja, who was the chairman on the occasion, Rear Admiral Samuel Ilesanmi Alade (rtd), said providing peace and security was the most crucial function of any government either at the federal, state or local government levels.
According to him, without security, there won’t be any meaningful development and in the absence of development, there won’t be security.
“You will agree with me that, security is a situational discipline, and whether a threat is direct or indirect, being aware of the environment in which we work or live, creates some level of awareness, which enables us to anticipate the outcome of certain events. From that anticipation, a decision mechanism to avoid or mitigate security risks most effectively might result.
“Experience tells us that the responsibilities and deliverables of public sector and those of private security professionals are expanding daily in response to the dynamic nature as well as the increasing sophistication of threats,” he said.
He noted that security professionals were required to manage security risks through a proper understanding of the elements that make up the risks.
His words: “In order to accomplish this all-important task, security professionals need to demonstrate competence and capacity through a proper balance of knowledge, skills and attitude. Our environments, both physical and business, have been infested and even infected with different shades of insecurity.”
Also at the event, Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, decried the influx of foreign elements to Nigeria. The governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Security and Intelligence, Adekunle Ajanaku, said the aliens were fuelling insecurity in all parts of the country, particularly Lagos.
“The Lagos State Government has followed with keen interest the immense contributions of the various leading professional security associations, including AISSON, to our contemporary and emerging security narratives. This is to enhance a virile reform of the sector to withstand the identified security challenge.
“Our security landscape and the current architecture have been observed to be vulnerable to various risks generated by our peculiarities as a nation, in which Lagos is an integral and critical part.
“Such risks as they affect the public security sector and our nation include but not limited to: The sustained efforts, potency and resilience of foreign adversarial elements to infiltrate our system in collaboration with internal subversive elements; risks associated with the porosity of our entry points which have aided transnational and organised crimes in all its facets.
“There are also risks associated with globalisation and unfettered access by criminal elements to opportunities offered by ICT to commit cybercrimes of wide dimension. There are online recruitment of vulnerable youths to embrace all forms of radicalism, extremism, militianism, drug abuse and associated violent crimes.
“We have organised crimes relating to financial crimes, all forms of economic sabotage, human trafficking, arms proliferations, etc.
He said all hands must be on deck in order to stamp out insecurity from Nigeria so that the people could live in peace.
“The country needs adequacy of our security architecture to withstand the new dimension of crimes, intellectual capacity of organised crime syndicates and their ability to sustain deception.
All the speakers unanimously agreed that the Federal Government should review the nation’s security policy to reflect current security challenges.
“The readiness of critical stakeholders such as private security sector, traditional and religious
leaders to be enlisted to embrace collective vigilance is key to winning the insecurity war. It is necessary to maintain sustained counter intelligence measures to reduce capabilities of hostile elements targeting our capabilities,” Ambode said.
Earlier on, Major General Ejemai said fighting an internal war was a very pathetic and complicated exercise to embark on. He likened it to fighting your own brothers and sisters.