Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, has identified insecurity as a major threat to the 2019 general election in the country.
Daura made this submission at a presentation he made before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the Current Security Infrastructure in Nigeria headed by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
Presenting the committeeâ€™s 38-page report at the Senate Plenary yesterday, Lawan said Daura, while appearing before his committee, raised the alarm over the bleak outlook of the 2019 general election â€œwith all the hate speeches and insecurity prevailing in the polity.â€
He quoted the DSS boss as saying â€œthe country is getting more divided like never before due to the lack of synergy between the traditional institutions and the security agencies, as well as hate speeches that have dominated the political space.â€
Lawan further said the other security chiefs who appeared before the committee spoke in the same vein.
He explained that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, on his part, identified the countryâ€™s major security challenges to include Boko Haram threats, militancy, cultism, secessionist and extremist groups,inter-ethnic, religious and communal violence.
Buratai was also said to have identified impediments to combating internal security challenges to include absence of governance and ungoverned space, inadequate intelligence information sharing mechanisms among security agencies, inadequate resourcing of security agencies,administration of criminal justice system, porous borders and poor border controls, poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunities and cultural and social impediments.
Lawan said the committee observed that the security agencies require professional skills, equipment ant technology to contain security issues adding that agencies lack critical equipment and where they exist they are obsolete.
According to him, the Committee thereafter came up with an 18-point recommendation which include identification of poverty as a constant threat to national security and that government should ensure its reduction.
â€œNigeriaâ€™s growing population will challenge anti-poverty strategies to a point where national security will be severely compromised unless the economy is radically improved at this stage and in future.â€
Lawan also stressed that the nationâ€™s basic security infrastructure requires comprehensive review with the political structure being a major factor in the review as well as the nature of the challenges the nation faces.
Other recommendations include the need to isolate current security challenges from political partisanship, narrow political interests and ethno- religious sentiments. The report also emphasised that the basic structure in the management of national security should be revisited by the Presidency to address weaknesses in co-ordination, collaboration and synergy.
â€œAll the country security assets are dangerously stressed by current security challenges and there is the need to increase the size of of the Nigeria police,the military and other para- military agencies,â€ he said.
The committee also identified the existence of millions of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the North East and millions of young uneducated people as potential threats to the present and future security of the nation.
Some Senators including Shehu Sani ( Kaduna Central), Kabiru Gaya ( Kano South), James Manager (Delta South), Theodore Orji (Abia Central)took turns to debate the Committeeâ€™s report and advised the leadership of the Senate to ensure implementation by the Executive.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, thereafter read out the 18- point recommendation of the committe which was ratified by Senators with another prayer that the federal government should set aside an unspecified amount to be given as interest free loans to herdsmen to establish ranches in different parts of the country.