From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, said the Defence Headquarters has concluded plans to implement new strategies in its operations to end insecurity in the country.
This is just as the CDS, has stressed 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.
Irabor 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 and not the sole responsibility of the security agencies
The CDS, made this known in a Graduation lecture titled “National Security and Development: Strategic Options for Nigeria’’ he delivered to participants of Course 30 of the National Defence College (NDC) Abuja.
The CDS, who harped on the press code for the media, said the strategy required the development of guidelines for reporting difficult stories including stories of conflict and terrorism, stating that 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.
Irabor, who said there was nothing wrong for the media to report on such incidents in an independent and authentic way provided it does not allow itself to be made a tool for the criminals, urged the Nigerian media to emulate and domesticate the German Press Code as its guiding principle in reporting security situations in the country.
He 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.
“To this effect, we are working on upgrading the intelligence management procedures of the defence and security sector to strengthen the overall security architecture in the country.
“In addition, the thrust of our foreign policy should also be re-engineered to ensure that Nigeria is actively engaged in the promotion of peace and security within our sphere of influence in West and Central Africa.
“To this effect, the Federal Government through relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), could as a matter of priority, explore available bilateral and multilateral opportunities at our disposal to steer the course of security and development within the countries of interests bearing in mind the realities of the domestic base of our foreign policy,’’.
The CDS, while noting that 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, pointed out that the appraisal of the current security architecture revealed concerns with respect to limited divergent approach to tackling the emerging threats, ineffective media management as well as regional security dynamics.
According to him, “Timely information on suspicious movements of strangers in a community might be the main lead to provide the needed early warning for the relevant government agency to swing into action.
“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,’’.
Also speaking, the Commandant of NDC, Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir, while noting that it was the tradition of the college to organise a graduation lecture to commemorate the graduation ceremony of each course, listed the insecurity in the country to said that Nigeria terrorism, banditry, militancy secessionist agitation, kidnapping amongst others in recent times.
Bashir, who attributed the security to illicit arms proliferation and the emergence of cult groups that engage in banditry, kidnapping, political violence and other mafia-style violent activities, said the situation had impacted negatively on the development in the country with attendant implications for national security.
The commandant who said Nigeria currently ranks low in the global rating of Human Development Index, said there was need to think out of the box and urged the participants of Course 30 to begin to realise that success could only come from carefully cultivated attitudes, commitments and management processes that accrue slowly and steadily.
“Imbibing these attributes, could therefore see you contributing positively to the development of the country.
“It is not too late for us to begin to build these attributes to move our society forward.“