By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu
Prof. Bola Akinteriwa, former Director-General, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), says synergy among military stakeholders is key in tackling security challenges in the country.
Akinteriwa said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a two-day regional workshop on security at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
The workshop with the theme: Security Challenges in West Africa; Multiforms and Perspectives, was organised by the UNILAG African Cluster Centre (Africa Multiple), Centre of Excellence in African Studies.
He said government efforts in tackling security challenges in the country would not yield the desired result with divisions within the military.
”Let me tell you, there is no better military in Africa than the one in Nigeria. They are the best. When in Dafur, the UN was to post people, they put an Indian to be there. But others said if you want solution to the problem there, go and get the Nigerian military.
”These are the people who are internationally respected. Now, in this case, if we are not doing well here, it means by the time our military are going to the battle field, the enemy within, will send signal to their accomplices and sabotage their efforts.
”That, on its own, is a critical problem to be addressed. If you are able to use your intelligence to fish out those who are working against you, then you are already 50 per cent close to the solution.
”If there is synergy among military stakeholders in fighting insurgency and other vices, this President Buhari led administration will succeed in an unprecedented manner,” Akinteriwa told NAN.
He also stressed the need to fine-tune protocols that allows for free movement of persons within the region, noting that this, if achieved, would bring peace among member countries.
”We must not allow any of these countries in the subregion to leverage on that free movement and create problems for us as a people.
”We should also improve on our foreign diplomacy. We may need to look deeper into the kind of relationship we keep with some of these foreign countries, as not all of them could really be working for our interest,” he said.
Also speaking, Brig. Gen. Hassan Mamman Lai (Rtd), said tackling issues of security in the country and the region must remain a concern for all.
Lai, who was also the lead presenter at the workshop, stressed the need to always tackle security issues promptly to avoid escalation.
”We must not wait until it gets out of control before seeking solutions.
”We must all show that commitment, we must come together to tackle it collectively, as a group,” he said.
Prof. Osarhieme Osadolor, acting Vice Chancellor, Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma in Edo, said insurgency and terrorism had assumed global configuration.
Osadolor noted that in West Africa, especially Nigeria, the deep concern about security by all, had led to uncertainty, fear, and worry among citizens, visitors, investors and tourists.
According to him, when a society is under seige, investors are scared and wealth creation collapses.
”This explains why security is the main justification for the existence of the state and the main beneficiaries are persons, social groups, objects and institutions, ecosystems and entities.
”The consequences of insecurity are immediate. The challenge is to address the security issues, as well as other threats to peace and development in West Africa, as a whole.
”I have always advocated the adoption of new security governance with roles and responsibilities shared among all the security sector shareholders in the subregion,” he said
On his part, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, Director, Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS) of the university, said the theme of the workshop was apt because the centre had always wanted to do something about security in the country.
Falaiye noted that the centre had been working toward organising conferences that would theoretically explain some of the challenges the country had experienced in the area of security.
”That is why this workshop is timely and also fits into the agenda of the Lagos Africa Cluster Centre, as well as, into the overall agenda of the institute of African and Diaspora Studies of the University of Lagos.
”This is just the beginning, there will be many follow ups on workshops, meetings, retreats, conferences and discussions about this important matter of security in the west coast of Africa.
”So, for us at IADS, we are happy to be associated with this workshop, we are happy that the people invited who are knowledgeable, either conceptually or practically about matters of security, have showed up to lend their voices to this issue in our country and sub-region.
”At the end of this workshop, we are expecting to have a clear idea about why we have found ourselves where we are and above all, how we can resolve some of these challenges.
”It is important to note that it is easy to talk about challenges but more difficult to talk about finding lasting solutions to such challenges,” he said. (NAN)