By Sumaila Ogbaje
Stakeholders have commended security agencies in the country for playing important roles in the management of national emergencies such as the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
They gave the commendation at the National Conference on The Roles of Nigeria’s Security Agencies in the COVID-19 Pandemic Environment, organised by the National Defence Collage (NDC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The conference was organised in conjunction with Africa Global Empowerment and Development Network (AGED Network), a Non-Governmental Organisation.
The Commandant, NDC, Rear Adm. Mackson Kadiri, said the conference was organised to raise awareness and understanding of how the security community should engage with the citizenry in managing national emergencies like the COVID 19 pandemic.
Kadiri said that the security agencies had exhibited professionalism, accountability and restraint in their engagement with the civil populace.
He said that there was a need to enhance and infuse new thinking by stakeholders towards promoting good relations between members of the security agencies and the general society.
According to him, the NDC has recognised the need for this and has been at the forefront of promoting best practices for Nigeria’s security sector.
“How the security community should engage with the citizenry, especially when it comes to managing national emergencies, like the COVID 19 pandemic,” he said.
The President, AGED Network, Dr. Bala Kotangora, said the conference was apt in view of the fact that the nation’s security equipment and personnel had been stretched beyond the elasticity of human capacity.
Kotangora said the advancement of COVID-19 had disengaged more security operatives from their usual and daily schedule of duties, adding that the situation had in-turn led to increase in crime rate.
While commending the efforts of security services in ridding the society of crimes and criminalities, he urged them to show doggedness and embrace the new challenges as they evolve.
He explained that the network’s core mandate was to assist security agencies in the area of provision of modern equipment as well as supporting to enhance the welfare of the personnel through its welfare programmes.
He said the organisation had signed a memorandum of understanding with the NDC with the primary purpose of advancing security sector reforms and synergy.
The Country Representative, International Crisis Group, Mr Nnamdi Obasi, said that the roles of security agencies were expanded as a result of the global health challenge occasioned by the COVID-19.
Obasi, who delivered a paper titled; “Security Agencies in Global Response to COVID-19 pandemic, Roles and Issues”, said the security agencies acted beyond their normal mandates.
He said that their roles that included providing planning support to local administration, facilitating enabling responses like logistics, repatriation of nationals and boosting health services as well as enforcing containment protocols and regulations.
According to him, there were issues in involvement of security agencies in the management of the pandemic such as reallocation of human resources from their core mandate among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference has participants drawn from the security agencies, civil society organisations and government agencies among others.