Vice chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, has charged members of the academic community to find solutions to Nigeria’s security challenges.
He said the security agencies and the political class were not doing enough to curb the nationwide worsening security situation.
Na’Allah, who spoke in Abuja at a symposium and formal launch of the institution’s Centre for Security and Legal Studies, blamed the current near state of anomie on the inability to mobilise or gather security intelligence by state actors.
The theme of the symposium was “Kinetic and non-kinetic application in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.”
He said the lapses on the part of key players to avert abductions or destruction of life and property by criminal elements, was a disgrace to the country and the academia.
Na’Allah said the university was not left out, given its failure to explore research and collaboration with security agencies to proffer workable solutions to bring the insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and other crimes to an end.
He, therefore, challenged both military and civilian institutions to critically explore the potential of research to help Nigeria survive what he described as “unprecedented threats and crisis of insecurity,” through the use of digital technology and intelligence.
Citing the United States of America (USA), he said with the level of synchronisation, data gathering and sharing among all the security agencies after the twin bombing of the World Trade Centre, he said it was almost impossible for such a coordinated attack to happen in that country again.
He said, “We have a lot of lessons to learn, we have a lot of work to do. We must sit down in our laboratories to think through the current challenges we have in our nation and how to figure out how Nigerians can go about their businesses without fear. We can’t mobilise intelligence to know what is going to happen in the next hour, it’s a total failure,” he lamented.
The VC said the birth of the centre is a challenge the university is throwing to the military and civilian institutions that “we must come together to get through this war of the 21st Century which cannot be understood like the wars of yesterday. We must begin to look at our environment, our culture, daily habits and religion because they are important to what we should do.”
In his remarks, the Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello maintained that the emerging trend of insecurity in the country shows there was need to deploy both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches in achieving the desired results in overcoming security challenges.
Governor Bello, who was the chairman of the occasion, said technical intelligence must be deployed to help Nigeria end insurgency quickly.
According to him, “My approach to insecurity in Nigeria is different; first, people must be carried along in all strategies, the leaders’ body language must clearly reflect a fighting spirit to assist the military succeed in identifying the geography, topography and understanding the people.”
Represented by his senior adviser on security matters, Navy Commander Jerry Omodara (rtd), the governor advised the federal and state governments to analyse the recent attacks on correctional facilities which led to the escape of inmates, warning that more attacks were likely to happen soon if nothing was done.