From Molly Kilete, Abuja
Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd) has decried the prevalence of various security issues, which he said were adversely affected food security and posing new dimension of threats to the country.
He spoke at the opening of a retreat for Defence Advisers/Attaches Conference, organised by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Abuja, yesterday.
He said the attacks by Boko Haram Terrorists and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North East as well as banditry and herder/militia in the North West and Central had continued to pose serious security threats.
According to him, 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 (IPOB).
He added that the South-West region is equally faced with secessionist inclination driven by ethnic agitators as well as occasional tension between herders and farmers.
“The threats currently facing Nigeria and understanding their socio-geographic context is pivotal for adapting appropriate and lasting counter-measures.
“Regrettably, the prevalence of these threats has continued to endanger not only national security and economic growth, but also food security.
“In particular, food security has been adversely affected with the attendant rise in the prices of food stuff across the country which portends a new dimension of threat.
“This makes it imperative for the various security agencies in the country to continue to collaborate to tackle these menaces in order to create an 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 challenges facing us as a nation,” he said.
Magashi said the Defence Advisers/Attachés system had crucial roles to play by forging understanding and cooperation with the security and defence architectures in their respective countries of accreditation.
He said the conference, which theme was “Advancing Counterterrorism Efforts through Enhanced Inter-Agency Cooperation: A Whole of Government Approach” would provide participants the opportunity to appraise the shared vision of stemming the tide of insecurity through the integrated efforts of all government entities, the objectives of the government approach.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), said the defence Attachés/Advisers were considered as critical stakeholders in surmounting the myriad of security challenges facing Nigeria.
Monguno, represented by his Principal General Staff Officer, Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Ndalolo, said Nigeria had been adopting both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches in dealing with security challenges, adding that both approaches had been yielding results.
He said that the government also laid emphasis on the integrated approach, which recognised the roles of ministries, departments and agencies as well as the entire society in “tackling our security challenges”.
Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), Maj.-Gen. Samuel Adebayo, said the conference was an annual event which affords DIA a medium to assiduously review the activities of all its defence sections.
He noted that the armed forces had made tremendous progress in confronting the nation’s security challenges as evident from the massive surrendering of terrorists in the North East and intensified operations against bandits in the North West and North Central regions. He said the fluid nature of the threats posed by the enemies had reinforced the need for collaborative efforts, be it government to government, within the security Services and even through foreign diplomats and Defence Attachés System (DAS).
Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd) said there was a strong connection between drug and insecurity, saying taking drugs out of the hands of peddlers would reduce the effects on security.
He said the recent seizure made by the agency revealed that large quantities of drugs used by criminals are finding their ways into the country.