By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has challenged the Nigerian Military to protect the country against terrorism through effective intelligence gathering.
Dogara, who lamented terrorist activities in the country, especially in the North East, insisted that the development can effectively be checked through prompt and effective intelligence gathering and sharing by relevant security outfits.
He spoke in Abuja, yesterday at the opening of the 2017 Defence Advisers/Attaches Annual Conference, with the theme: ”Consolidating the gains of counter terrorism operations in Nigeria through Defence Diplomacy,” organized by the Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA.
According to him,”If we succeed in gathering effective and reliable intelligence that can be interpreted, we will always be ahead of the terrorists, kidnappers and all those who are threatening our peaceful coexistence.”
While commending the DIA for organising the conference, Dogara said the National Assembly would try its best to ensure it appropriated more money for the peace, order and good governance of the country, noting that any nation which failed to invest in security would find it difficult to develop.
According to him, “What we need right now, even though we are practising democracy, is not the institution of the Presidency, it is not the legislature and it’s not even the judiciary, but law and order and national security. This is in the sense that, when there is no peace and order, there can’t be a nation and we must have Nigeria first before we talk about the Nigerian President, the Nigerian legislature and even the judiciary and that is what it should be.
‘’I know that we are in an era, the 21st century in particular, where the entire humanity is threatened by advances in science and technology.’’
While noting that terrorism was a global problem and therefore no single nation, should be left alone to deal with it, Dogara said: ”I believe that the best way to talk about it is what we are doing here and conferences like this, building effective networks, engaging the officers, sharing experiences could make the security agents be ahead.”
Guest of honour at the event and Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali,in his keynote address, tasked the defence attaches to bear it in mind that they were part of the vanguard of efforts to develop the framework for the sustenance of Nigeria’s national security and prosperity.
The minister said the surge in the menace of violent groups like the Boko Haram terrorist group in the North East placed the country under severe internal security challenges.
According to him, with the groups’ lethal acts spreading into neighbouring countries, members were causing further threats to lives and properties in the West African sub-region.
He regretted that the country had been confronted with other multiple security threats ranging from militancy, kidnapping, herdsmen/farmers clashes, sophisticated armed robbery, cultism, sea piracy/robbery, human and drug trafficking amongst others.
Dan-Ali added that the collaborative efforts of countries of Lake Chad Basin Commission Countries and Benin Republic, through the Multi National Joint Task Force platform against Boko Haram had been helpful in carrying out anti-terrorism operations against the insurgents.
On his part, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Marshal Mohammed Usman, in his opening address, said the last 12 months had been the most challenging in the history of Nigeria, adding that the country had been leaping from one national security threat to the other as it was relentlessly tested by the triad of extremism and separatism I’m addition to extreme levels of violent crime and hate in the society.
While saying that Nigeria had invested and continues to devote considerable resources to intelligence enterprise, Air Marshal Usman added that the development was because credible, timely and accurate intelligence was the principal guarantor of success in “today’s complex national defence matrix. We therefore have to generate the best intelligence to assure our national development, security and prosperity, “he said.