The event of the past few years that has placed Nigeria high on the Global Terror Index and
consumed more souls than September 11 requires a national enquiry. The rise of kidnapping, criminal herders, pipeline vandalism and armed militancy requires that we remap our security network to reflect the situation’s complexity. Remapping our security system will require new definitions, a new regulatory and institutional framework and new personnel recruitment and training strategy.
The experience of Niger Delta militants, Boko Haram, kidnappers, cross-border herders and marauders indicate either the absence of intelligence or failure to act.
Since the 1986 security system reform, organisations like the Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Maritime and Port Security and Airport security systems have become part of our security network. The Nigeria Police, Custom, Immigration and Prisons have all grown astronomically, though not keeping pace with the growth of population and crime.
The State Security Services, National Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency and the various intelligence units of the armed forces remain the fulcrum of our security architecture.
The Jonathan administration attempted to rethink our national security architecture. It came up with a new national security policy to identify key issues and proffer new pathways for mitigation, management and resolution. The policy is embodied in three documents, namely National Security Strategy, Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Cyber Security Plan and Strategy.
The National Security Strategy was a carefully thought out document and a step in the right
direction. The range of stakeholders, including foreign institutions, consulted was wide and
the outcome a helpful document that can guide action.
However, as a former head of a paramilitary agency,y I still think that the rethinking and reimagining of our national security architecture needs to happen at a more local and primary level.
We need a new consensus NOW.