Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada
The Federal Government has widened its network against the fight against the menace of terrorism and terrorism elements by harnessing the expertise of the country’s defence advisers and attaches.
Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, stated this at the opening of the 2012 annual conference of defence advisers and attaches which started yesterday in Abuja.
According to her, all security agencies must work collectively to check the increasing threats that the Boko Haram sect poses to the peace and unity of the country, stressing that “the current situation demands that all hands must be on deck to jointly put a stop to the increased activities of miscreants bent on destabilising the country.”
The minister said it was for this reason that the military diplomats representing the interests of the country abroad must be brought into the current fight against terrorism if there was to be any semblance of development.
“It would therefore be appropriate to use the opportunity provided by this year’s conference to discuss how to fully exploit the opportunities afforded by your vantage positions to better focus on the existing defence attaches and security arrangements in order to effectively meet the nation’s contemporary security challenges,” Obada explained.
She said despite concerted efforts already being made by the Federal Government, “we also require the security agencies to strengthen or review their strategies and for there also to be a collective approach by all to tackle the security challenges facing us as a nation.”
She advised the advisers and attaches to be thoroughly professional in their conducts “given also that your work as defence advisers/attaches is to support the political, economic and diplomatic initiatives of the Federal Government.”
In his speech, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major General Sani Yusuf Audu, explained that the theme of this year’s conference: ‘Focusing the Defence Attache Management and Security Systems to Meet Contemporary Challenges in Nigeria’, was selected to direct the deliberations to be held and centred on “the security challenges bedeviling our country.”
Audu, who said the recent upsurge of violence had necessitated the inclusion of the military in internal operations, emphasised that “the growing sophistication of our society couple with increasing violence and attendant losses to of lives and property require a continuous reappraisal of our operational tactics and methods of intelligence gathering.”
Nigeria first established the defence attaches system in Washington DC and London in the 1960s.
Today, there are 22 defence attaches covering 90 countries and four international organisations. The system is an institution of diplomatic assets under the Ministry of Defence which is part of the country’s diplomatic mission wherever it is located.