The federal government has hinted of an impending major reform in the Nigerian Armed Forces to enable the military carry out its statutory obligation of securing lives and property.
The secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stated this yesterday when he received members of the implementation/advisory committee on the reforms of ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces led by its chairman, Maj Gen Alkali Kazir (rtd), in his office.
The SGF charged the Nigerian Armed Forces to be up and doing in the discharge of their mandate, even as he assured them of the commitment of the federal government to give the military every support to spur them up in carrying out their duties.
“It is an intensive work the armed forces are doing, and I am giving you my words that we are fully committed, and everything that would transform the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence would be accorded high priority.
“We will do everything possible to facilitate, if it has to go through the processes of approval, discussions and seeking for advice to ensure you receive all the necessary support,” a statement by his media office quoted the SGF as saying.
He commended the ministry of Defence for constituting the reform committee, saying the implementation of its report would significantly address the challenges militating against the effective functioning of the ministry and the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Earlier, Kazir said considering the resurgence of insurgency, cattle rustling, banditry and other forms of criminality in the country, it is imperative to review the security architecture of the nation in order to curb the emerging security threats.
He said that Nigeria would continue to collaborate with other countries through bilateral and multilateral engagements aimed at developing the capacity of the ministry of Defence and the Nigerian military in the discharge of their mandates.
The 24-member reform committee was formed with the aim of closing gaps that exist in the structure and operation of the Armed Forces in interfacing with the ministry of Defence for effective service delivery.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for governments to renew their social compact with the citizenry so as to improve governance, development and build institutions that promote inclusive security and prosperity.
This, he said, his administration is actively pursuing to ensure that no segment of the Nigerian population feels alienated and marginalized.
Buhari stated this yesterday at the 5th conference of the Network of African Parliamentarians for Defence and Security Committees of the House of Representatives.
The speech was delivered by vice president Yemi Osinbajo who represented the president at the event.
The conference is a strategic platform that brings together lawmakers from across Africa, as well as representatives of the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU) to exchange ideas, share experiences and deliberate on common approaches to addressing threats to the continent’s collective security.
Speaking on behalf of the president, Osinbajo said mobilizing the full spectrum of the country’s national assets also means engaging the broad expanse of societies.
Buhari said, “In order to do this, we must renew the social compact that binds governments and the governed and build institutions that promote inclusive security and prosperity. We recognize that having large segments of our population feeling alienated and marginalized is a critical vulnerability.
“The challenge then is for us to develop measures through policy and legislation that create an umbrella of human security over our people and thereby prevent the forces of destabilization from weaponizing the frustrations of the marginalized. In doing this, we will also ensure that the human and material resources that we should be deploying for growth and development are not consumed in conflict.”
Noting that the conference was timely, the president urged African governments to have more strategic collaboration to tackle existential threats across the continent.
According to him, “governments across the continent are dealing with multiple threats ranging from terrorism and piracy to transnational organized crime and insurrectionary challenges to the very legitimacy of our nations.”
President Buhari highlighted the efforts by the Nigerian government to address its security challenges, particularly terrorism and insurgency.
He stated: “As part of our efforts in responding, we have prioritized our commitment to the constitutional imperative of guaranteeing the security and the welfare of the people. We have embarked upon an ambitious programme of reforming critical law enforcement institutions while sustaining consistently increased investment in our defence and security sectors.
“However, we recognize that the threats we face in this borderless age are often both local and transnational. We recognize that an insurrection or conflict in one country can spread like an infection across borders to destabilize neighbours and create even greater threats that jeopardize regional security and stability.
“This is why strategic multi-dimensional partnerships are essential to guaranteeing the peace, stability and prosperity of our nations and our continent.”
In addressing these collective security challenges, the president told the parliamentarians that they have a crucial role in leading domestic advocacy for vital security partnerships in their respective countries.
He also urged all levels of governments to engage more in partnership with the civil society and development partners to address critical issues on the continent.
He continued: “The threats confronting us – whether occasioned by climate change-induced conflict or by hostile armed non-state actors – require us to deepen our cooperation and strengthen the cross-cutting bonds between our defence and security institutions.
“I am gratified to note that the newly established European Peace Facility advances the cause of defence and security partnership between the African Union and the European Union notably by paving the way for bilateral military cooperation. This facility will significantly enhance our capacity to promote peace and stability on the continent.
“Beyond this, the partnerships we are required to engage in will take various forms and be actualized along different axes. In building a common front against the forces of destabilization, the principle of human security must be the central animating impulse of our response measures.
“At a time when non-state actors are violently challenging the fundamental legitimacy of our countries, it is of utmost importance that governments engage in partnership with civil society. This approach must necessarily encompass not just all of the government but all of society.”
Applauding the network’s objective of deliberating on common approaches to address threats to collective security, the president noted the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in promoting continental integration through trade and commerce.
He said, “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is the most recent manifestation of our resolve to open our borders, increase intra-African trade and grow the continent’s economy.
“It has long been established that deepening the trade links between our nations would serve as a propulsive engine for driving Africa’s growth. But these objectives would be undermined by unchecked destabilization and insecurity. In the light of this, it is clear that this Network has a key role to play in securing our collective prosperity.”
Reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations as a member of ECOWAS and the AU, President Buhari said Nigeria, being “a leading economy on the continent also remains committed to the cause of African integration and all collaborative endeavours that promote that cause of which this august Network is a fine example.”
The president commended the leadership of the Network and the organizers, urging the parliamentarians to identify gaps, particularly in analysing the prospects of the European Peace Facility, the ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services, and other relevant Conventions, that will form the basis of legislative and policy actions by countries represented at the Conference.
Also at the event were Senate President Ahmed Lawan; the representative of the Speaker of the House of Representatives; secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha; FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III.
Others are parliamentarians and security chiefs from Ivory Coast, Angola, Republic of Benin, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Ghana, among others.