By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, on Thursday in Abuja reiterated the call for the active involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and citizens in the on-going war against insecurity.
His representative, the Chief of Civil Military Affairs (Army), Maj.-Gen. Marcus Kangye, read Yahaya’s message at an interagency seminar for participants of Course 6/2022 of the Army War College.
He said operational measures so far undertaken to counter existing and emerging security threats must be combined with additional efforts from other actors and stakeholders.
Yahaya noted that cooperation and coordination between government actors and dialogue and cooperation between government and non-government actors were required to prevent and counter terrorism and violence.
He said the armed forces needed to be sure that the broader public, local communities and private sector were partners and stakeholders in their collective efforts at countering the threats.
According to him, the entire society approach to countering threats to security is without gainsaying the need for effective partnerships between all actors.
“The civil society is a very important stakeholder in this regard as it helps to create the space for constructive engagement between the state and the citizens.
“The cooperation also fosters trust and understanding as all stakeholders take ownership of strategies put in place to counter the collective threat.
“The partnership between these stakeholders will help to eliminate mistrust, conceptual misunderstandings, and differences in understanding of national security issues.
“Indeed, the time for the full involvement of civil society in efforts to counter our internal security challenges is overdue,” he said.
Army chief commended the college for the seminar and enjoined resource persons and participants to take advantage of the forum to contribute to the national security discourse.
He gave assurance that the Nigerian Army would continue to court the civil society as collaborative partners in its quest to enhance national security.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the collage, Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Alabi, said that successes in the new warfare paradigm required joint efforts.
The efforts, he explained entailed seamless inter-agency cooperation and coordination across multiple agencies and stakeholders.
Alabi said the seminar was part of a training module on inter-agency cooperation and coordination which sought to enhance participants’ competences to function effectively in a joint environment.
The seminar, according to him, is in line with the Chief of Army Staff’s vision of “A Professional Nigerian Army Ready to Accomplish Assigned Missions within a Joint Environment in Defence of Nigeria.’’
He added that the course symbolised cooperation as the 74 participants comprised 53 from the Army, two each from the Navy and the Air Force and one from the police.
The Nigerian Customs Service, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps and the EFCC also have a participant each.
Also on the course are six participants from allied friendly nations comprising of two officers from Rwanda and one each from Gambia, Liberia, Congo Brazzaville and Cameroun.
Alabi said the seminar aimed at consolidating the knowledge participants had acquired during series of lectures delivered to them in the last two weeks.
“It is noteworthy therefore, that the lectures were carefully designed to equip participants with requisite knowledge and enablement to operate effectively with other governmental and non-governmental agencies,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Prof. Victor Adetula, a professor of International Relations and Development Studies, University of Jos, delivered a paper entitled “Coordinating civil society towards integrated internal security operations in Nigeria’’ at the seminar.
Adetula said the involvement of the military in internal security operations across the country required good understanding between the military and the civil society.
He described civil society as critical agents for development, but decried the misrepresentation and mistrust between it and the security community.
According to him, it is time to seek to understand the military in terms of its role and its readiness to collaborate with the civil society.
The theme of the seminar is: “Appraising the roles of civil society towards engendering effective internal security in Nigeria.’’ (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)