By Thompson ABISOLA
The Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution that Nigeria’s security architecture should be overhauled for optimal efficiency in the operations of the various security agencies.
The resolution followed the adoption of an 18-point report submitted by its Ad hoc Committee on Review of Current Security Infrastructure in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Sen. Ahmad Lawan noted that the summit holistically discussed the security problems in the country, with far reaching suggestions that informed the recommendations of the committee.
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly further said that managing national security required an enlightened and constructive approach involving all arms and tiers of government, as well as major inputs of key political influences across the nation.
The committee also recommended that there was need to isolate current security challenges from political partisanship, narrow political interests and ethno-religious sentiments.
It urged political office holders and all sources of influence to restrain from tendencies to further complicate and worsen the nation’s current security challenges.
The senate equally called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), civil societies and socio-cultural groups to explore avenues to engineer wider and substantial national consensus to reduce the level of tension in the polity.
It also recommended that the basic structure in the management of national security be revisited to address weaknesses in coordination, collaboration and synergy.
It noted that clear lines of authority should be identified, and officers and persons given responsibility for national security should be held accountable.
The report decried unhealthy rivalry and competition among key security agencies and officers, urging heads of the agencies to ensure that the ugly situation is completely eliminated.
It further said all the nation’s security assets were overstretched, adding that there was need to increase the size of the Nigeria Police, military and other para-military agencies given the growing population in the country.
The senate ad hoc committee suggested that recruitment, training and deployment must be strictly governed by suitability and other professional considerations.
It stressed that funding of the nation’s security assets be improved, and accountability on the part of the military, police and other agencies be strictly enforced.
The red chamber also asked the Federal Government to provide low-interest loans to herders in the country to enable them establish private ranches, to reduce frequent conflicts between them and the farmers.
Also, the lawmakers called on the Federal Government to integrate the ‘almajiri system’ into the country’s education system to eliminate security problems.
Other recommendations read: “collaboration between Federal Security, law and other agencies and sub-national outfits needs to be reexamined in the context of demands for improved security, and the imperatives of reducing exposure of citizens to extra-legal influences.
“There is a need for closer collaboration with outfits that satisfy requirements of the law, while sensitive issues such as bearing of arms and crime management should be more closely monitored by government agencies.
“Technology should be built into the core of national security architecture and management, and an informed investment strategy into relevant technology in areas of intelligence and data collection should be adopted and implemented without delay.”
Furthermore, the ad hoc committee recommended that the nation’s dependence on import of basic security requirements should be reduced. “Our research and development capacities should be developed to meet most of the basic needs of national security.
“The Judiciary must operate on the basis of the highest standards of justice. Perception of weakness and corruption in the judiciary erode its legitimacy and loyalty of citizens as well as confidence of the Nigerian state to do justice to all citizens and interests.
“The nation should examine options to the use of force alone as responses to threats to national security.”
It also recommended that “strategies which improve chances of resolution of conflicts without recourse to force should be utilised.
“The nation’s stock of knowledge and skills, as well as requisite political will behind utilisation of options on conflicts resolution, peace-building and managing community relations need to be strengthened.
“An informed strategy to limit sources and availability of firearms and light weapons among the population should be worked out and implemented without delay.
“Nigeria should assert its rights to improve its protection among its neighbours, particularly in the areas of control of movement of weapons, drugs, terrorism and areas of economic sabotage.
“All international commitments which impact on the nation’s security and economy should be critically re-examined, and where national interests demand, appropriate steps should be taken to limit their negative impact.
“The international community has shown its willingness to support Nigeria in the fight against violent groups and in providing relief to victims of violence and facilitating longterm rehabilitation.
“Nigeria should improve areas which inhibit useful support, particularly in the areas of human rights, accountability and transparency, as well increased spending on its citizens by the Nigerian state.
“The existence of millions of internally displaced persons in the North-East and millions of young people who have had no education or strong social links represents potent threats to the present and future security of the nation.
“Policy and other initiatives which address sustained reconstruction, rehabilitation and development in the North-East must be more vigorously provided.
“Education of young people in the North-East should be accorded the highest priority, as well as the relocation of IDPs into their communities in environments that guarantee sustained livelihoods and security.
“The nation’s growing young population will be a major threat to its future unless substantial investments are made on a sustained basis into human capital development, particularly education and health.
“The Nigerian economy must be developed to provide quality education, skills and employment for its bulging young population. ”
It further noted that a visionary strategy for sustained development on the basis of the nation’s assets and global trends should be adopted to ensure a secure future for the younger generation.
According to the report, corruption and waste are threats to national security, and they must be resisted by strong political will, good and effective policy and improvements in the efficiency and efficiency of institutions.
“Poverty is a constant threat to national security, and the entire focus of all governments must target its reduction. Current policies and initiatives should be dispassionately re-evaluated to establish their efficacy.
“Nigeria’s growing population will challenge anti-poverty strategies to a point where national security will be severely compromised unless the economy is radically improved at these stages and in the future.
“Continuous substantial investments in education, health and basic social and economic infrastructure to support a self-reliant, productive population and sustainable national development are required.
“The nation’s demographic indices indicate massive shifts in population size, modernization, land use and the impact of the environment on human economic activities.”
It stressed that the nation should avail itself of knowledge and skills in managing its extensive forest reserves, to turn them into assets and prevent their abuse by criminals.
It added that the deteriorating state of Lake Chad has serious security and economic implications, and these need strong, pro-active policies With other stakeholders to manage.
“Security threats which feed off disputes over use of land and water resources should be managed by a robust policy that combines fresh initiatives to improve access, exploration of political options in dealing with inter-communal and farmer-herder clashes.
“The rise in production, importation and consumption of illicit drugs in the nation represents a major threat to national security.
“There is the need to generate a strong political will to improve policy, legislation and regulatory and enforcement capacities to reduce the damage of illicit drugs in the population and on the economy,” the report added.
Senators, who spoke before the report was adopted through a voice vote, commended the committee for a comprehensive work and called for 100 per cent implementation of the recommendations.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki commended the lawmakers and the committee for contributions towards finding solutions to the country’s security situation.