The military has commenced implementation of new strategies geared at ending security challenges in the country.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, stated this while delivering a graduation lecture for Course 30 of the National Defence College (NDC) in Abuja, yesterday.
Irabor, who spoke on the topic “National Security and Development: Strategic Options for Nigeria” said timely information on suspicious movements of strangers in a community might be the main lead to provide the needed early warning for relevant government agency to swing into action.
He said an overview of the plethora of security challenges bedevilling the country indicated the need to consider a review of the strategic approach towards addressing them.
He said the appraisal of the current security architecture revealed concerns with respect to limited divergent approach to tackling the emerging threats, ineffective media management and regional security dynamics.
He identified the need to deepen strategic communication, implement a press code for responsible journalism and pursue proactive security measures to reduce the impact of regional dynamics in the country.
The CDS said there was need to encourage a ‘whole-of-society approach’ to security by deepening strategic communication to educate the populace on the fact that issues of security are a collective responsibility.
“Accordingly, we need to formulate a robust and proactive communication strategy that draws all citizens to the realisation of their roles in protecting the nation while also using the same medium to pre-empt and counter narratives of the insurgents. The strategy could also incorporate modalities for the reorientation and practicable re-integration of surrendered insurgents into the society.
“The National Orientation Agency (NOA) needs to be reinvigorated, reorganised and properly funded alongside all other relevant stakeholders in the society. This will encourage the populace to have renewed confidence in the government and they will be encouraged to provide relevant information to the relevant government agencies. This will enhance national security and development in Nigeria,” he said.
On the press code for the media, Irabor said the strategy required the development of guidelines for reporting difficult stories including stories of conflict and terrorism.
He said, the German Press Code for example, says in reporting actual and threatened acts of violence, the press should carefully weigh the public interest in information against the interest of victims and other people involved. He said that media should report on such incidents in an independent and authentic way, but not allow itself to be made the tool of criminals.
He urged the Nigerian media to emulate and domesticate the German Press Code as its guiding principle in reportage.
CDS said it had become imperative that Nigeria should constantly keep abreast of the security and development dynamics within her strategic neighbourhood, especially in West and Central Africa.
Commandant of NDC, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, said it was the tradition of the college to organise a graduation lecture to commemorate the graduation ceremony of each course.
Bashir said that Nigeria had faced and still facing several security challenges such as terrorism, banditry, militancy secessionist agitation, kidnapping amongst others in recent times.