The African Centre for Good Governance, Social Justice and Regional Security Initiative and People United for Peace, Security and Democracy in Nigeria have called for the appointment of sound and versatile civilian National Security Adviser (NSA) against the background of insecurity ravaging the nation.
While the African Centre for Good Governance, Social Justice and Regional Security Initiative commended the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to national security as a reference on the continent, the People United for Peace, Security and Democracy in Nigeria appealed to the President to appoint an NSA that is versatile in statecraft, public policy, internal security and law enforcement, as panacea for changing the negative security narrative of the country.
Speaking to journalists at the weekend in Abuja, the Centre’s Director of International Affairs, Comrade Mohammed Ahmed, called on the President to consider bringing on board a civilian NSA with very sound background and knowledge of law and legal jurisprudence, international relations and diplomacy, cyber security, international economy and defence spending in order to effectively coordinate security responses in the country.
Comrade Ahmed said Nigeria and the rest of the continent are caught up in very uncommon security situations that require uncommon measures in tackling them, especially with the advent of the COVID 19 pandemic.
He said: “We must commend the efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari in the face of this insecurity, given the vast population of Nigeria, as well as being the largest economy and giant of Africa.
“To fully complement these efforts, there is need for President Buhari to explore further innovative approaches in combating the insecurity by appointing a civilian National Security Adviser that has prodigious intellectual and educational capacity of civil matters and international affairs, beyond just a military background. We believe this can be the silver bullet that will immediately reverse the curve of insecurity in Nigeria and set a pace for other countries on the continent.
“The practice over the years has been the appointment of NSAs with only military background, forgetting that the military-civilian ratio of the country is ten ratio ninety. There is a need to shift the paradigm, and appoint an NSA from within the preponderant civilian population.
“We cannot continue with same approach and expect a different result. Nigeria needs an NSA with sound background in international law and legal jurisprudence given the current dynamics of international norms, covenants and politics that impact indirectly on transnational, regional and national security.”
He added that “the current exchange of ideas and information by global terrorist groups has far reaching effects on national security, and emphasizes the need for an NSA with vast knowledge of emerging modes and infrastructure of global communication especially in the area of Cyber security.
“The intensification of interconnectedness, in almost every sphere of human existence from economic to ecological, from world trade to proliferation of weapons, as well as worldwide social relations, all intensify the need for an NSA that is well versed in International Relations, Economics and Diplomacy.”
Comrade Ahmed, however, called on all citizens to support the government’s efforts in ending insecurity, adding, “Security is a collective responsibility.”
In the same vein, while addressing newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, the Chairman of People United for Peace, Security and Democracy in Nigeria, Mr. Ajibola Olufemi said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has invested enormous energy, visible enough for all citizens to appreciate his determination to degrade the spate of terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping across the country, and needs a National Security Adviser who is well read in the dynamics of counterinsurgency, Internal Security and law enforcement amongst others to fully complement his efforts.
“The growing extensity and intensity of global terrorism associated with deepening enmeshment of local and global events no doubt necessitates the need for an NSA with vast knowledge of the dynamics of Terrorism and Global Security.
“The conviction that the conduct of statecraft must be guided by a distinct ethic makes it important for the NSA to be an expert in statecraft in order for security strategies to enjoy overwhelming cooperation from statesmen and states-people which is key to national security.”
Reflecting on the link between global security and public policy, the group maintained that “the stretching of policies and programs of global governance institutions across political frontiers in the bid to forge a common front against global terrorism, makes it imperative for the NSA to be learned in public policy in order to effectively link activities in distant regions of the globe with domestic security priorities. This will essentially avert any form of skewed security strategies in favor of an elite to the exclusion of majority of citizens.”
On internal security, the group said “the accelerating pace of domestic interactions, local movement of goods, capital and people make it necessary for the NSA to be well knowledgeable in internal security and law enforcement.
“Central to all these is the need for the NSA to have good knowledge of prudential defence spending and judicious application of defence budget in order to avert any misappropriation of security funds.
“The NSA needs to be highly knowledgeable in transnational activities like people trafficking, smuggling, border security, integration and migration.
“The NSA is in principle the Chief Security Officer of any country and hence the successes of national security and national economy are the responsibility of the National Security Adviser, because national security is the bridge between national economy and national prosperity.”