REMARKS OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION, MR. BOSS MUSTAPHA, AT THE 4TH EDITION OF SECURITY MEETS BUSINESS ORGANIZED BY THE LAGOS
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY AT COMMERCE HOUSE, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS, TUESDAY,
25TH FEBRUARY, 2020
I thank you very much for inviting me to this auspicious event, the 2020 Edition of Security Meets Business. It is a pleasure to be with you and to share our perspectives on shaping a better future for our people.
I commend the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the foremost business associations in the country and in the African Continent, for deeming it necessary to organize this Dialogue. Perhaps, the nexus between peace and security, and economic activities growth and development, should have been the underlying reason for convening this forum. Also, since this is the fourth in the series, it could be inferred that the successful outcome of the previous three editions would have provided sufficient justification for its sustenance.
- Discussing the security situation in the country today is a herculean task. But, perhaps, it could be better appreciated if the discussion is put in proper perspective especially, given the heated debate around the topic arising from the very recent events in the polity. Within this context, let me refresh your memories.
- At the inception of this administration, the security situation was at its lowest eb. Farmers/herders clashes, communal clashes, militancy in the Niger Delta Region which disrupted crude oil production capacity hence, Nigeria’s inability to meet OPEC production quota, banditry, child trafficking and armed robbery, among others. The most devastating was the heinous activities of Boko Haram which unleashed terror on our dear country.
- The Boko Haram group took control of several Local Government Areas in North-East most especially, Borno State and were responsible for pervasive bomb attacks in several parts of the country. In the seat of Government, Abuja, the Group bombed the UN House, Police Headquarters, Emab Plaza, Mogadishu Barracks and struck at the Nyanya Intercharge, twice. Several Churches, Mosques and Motor parks were not spared. The Group invaded schools and abducted students in large numbers. These left trails of causalities and fatalities including loss of several property.
- As a result, people lived in palpable fear and could not go about normal economic and religious activities comfortably and confidently. Several road blocks across the country were set up and this brought harrowing experiences to motorists and commuters alike.
- This also had its toll on economic activities as traders became circumspect in moving from one part of the country to another for their legitimate businesses. Agricultural production was affected as farmers could not plant, harvest and transport agricultural produce freely. It also, took its toll on foreign investment, instilling fear in potential investors. Private business concerns were affected especially, those that operated in shopping malls which were the target of the terrorists. Construction work on roads, mass housing sites and other government contracts were stifled with attendant toll on job creation.
- Without going into too much of the details, that was the scenario at the inception of the Muhammadu Buhari Administration in 2015.
- Government, since the inception of this Administration, has put in place serious security measures which led to the reduction in the nefarious activities of the terrorists, in particular. As a result, no LGA is under the control of terrorists, road blocks have been dismantled, economic activities resumed in markets, motor parts and today, bomb blasts have significantly, been silenced. These achievements could not be attained without deliberate efforts on the part of Government, the military and security agencies through:
- Increase in budgetary allocation to Defence and Security agencies;
- Improvement in the welfare of Military and Security Personnel;
iii. Strategic and tactical deployment of the forces;
- Enlisting the cooperation of our neighbouring countries especially, Cameroon, Chad and Niger;
- Bilateral cooperation especially, on the procurement of military hardware;
- Procurement of modern equipment and assault weapons;
vii. Checking the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons;
viii. Cutting the sources of illicit financial inflows to terrorist Groups; and
ix Invigorating Internal Security Management; etc.
- On Internal Security Management, Government, as you are well aware, set up a Committee which included experts in the field and as a result of its recommendations:
- Necessary approvals and directives have been given by Mr. President to commence the implementation of Community Policing;
- Presidential approval has been given for a Committee to evolve the application of appropriate Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) including the use of CCTV, Drones, Satelite Imagery, geo-positioning, among others, for effective crime control and protection of infrastructure as well as monitoring national borders; and
- Plans are at advanced stage to finalise a functional and efficient national emergency number to enhance prompt response to distress calls by members of the public.
- In addition to the above:
- Various Special Security Operations have been launched. These include: Operations Puff Adder, Harbin Kunama, Lafiya Dole, Yancin Tafki, Safe Haven, Awatse, Crocodile Smile, etc, The objectives of these operations are to frontally, tackle perculiar security challenges effectively;
- Government has provided resources for the procurement of modern weapons including State-of the Art assault aircraft;
- The President holds regular meetings with Security Chiefs during which he receives briefings and issues necessary directives;
- Only as recently as, June, 2019, the President signed into law, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019 and this aims to create a Special Intervention Fund for the provision of training, equipment amenities and maintenance of Police Stations. Among others, the fund will draw resources from 0.005% profit of companies. This translates to ₦50.00 per net profit of ₦1m.
- In January, Mr. President charged the Minister of Police Affairs and the Inspection General of Police to reorganize and strengthen the Police Mobile Force (PMF) to serve as an effective arm of NPF for tackling insurrection and similar crimes beyond the capability of the conventional Police.
- Just this month, in a meeting between Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Austin Onyeama, his USA counterpart, Mr. Mike Pompeo, in which the United States underscored the essence of its military cooperation with Nigeria by announcing its assistance to create a security force with the best training and modern weaponry. He also, announced that Nigeria was one of the first African countries to join the global coalition to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and disclosed that as a result, it provided the sum of $350m in 2019 and will provide additional $40m for humanitarian assistance.
- Let me turn attention to the reasons insecurity is persisting in the country despite all the efforts of Government some of which I have outlined.
- First of all, what are the causative factors. Academics, Researchers, Development and Security Experts and even Public Commentators have listed the major causes of insecurity to include:
- Imbalance in development
- Week Judicial System
- Inadequacy of basic amenities, whether social or infrastructural
- Narcotic/Psychotropic substances
- Open borders
- Influx of Arms especially, Small Arms and Light Weapons
- Inadequate distribution of wealth
- Ethno-religious animosity
- Shrinking socio-cultural value system, etc.
SOCIO-CULTURAL VALUE SYSTEM
- I should like to deviate from the most popular and most discussed factors, to emphasise on the shrinking or eroding socio-cultural values for which I can persuasively argue, it is from where almost all other factors stem from.
- Almost on daily, weekly and monthly basis, the security agencies kill, maim or arrest large numbers of criminals and bandits. Focusing on terrorism alone, since the very serious crackdowns on the Boko Haram Terrorists, several thousands of the fighters have been killed and some of their enclaves have been destroyed. But, is it not curious that since the spate of killings of the terrorists and destruction of their enclaves, they keep striking. Certainly, there is a stream or reservoir that is bolstering their ranks. This is evident in the number of suicide missions conducted particularly, by teenagers.
- Question therefore, is how are these entrants into their ranks recruited. They are recruited from our families and communities. The neglected children, the street waifs and drug addicts. They also, conscript the innocent when they forcefully, adopt unwilling persons, and through radicalization.
- However, if we all, at individual and family levels, account for all our children and wards, and take personal interest in their individual development and conduct, they will not be available or willing tools for recruitment to banditry and terrorism. As we speak, where is your nephew, where is your niece, where are your children, where are your dependants, where are your brothers, sisters, relatives and neighbours.
- The officers manning the different points of entry into Nigeria that are compromised to allow illegal entry of weapons into the country; the officers and operations to thwart the efforts of bandits and terrorists that are compromised; the citizens who know and can identify the bandits and terrorists, yet do not disclose the information to appropriate authority, also compromise the fight against insecurity.
- Interestingly, these same individuals turn around to expect there should be peace and calm everywhere, where are those weapons from, what are they meant for. These acts are perpetuated by those whose moral upbringing is suspect. Those who have lowered their level of moral uprightness and for these reasons see nothing absolutely, wrong in these acts. I am talking about, the arms, equipment and logistics suppliers to the bandits and terror groups. These suppliers have families and therefore, morally reprehensive for these groups of individuals and their family members, by the way, one of them could be in this hall, to complain about insecurity in the country. Today some women give birth and sell those children to baby factories. Do you know what they turn out to become. We have lost our sense of humanity where the sanctity of life is no longer precious.
DEBASED MORAL VALUES:
- Debased moral values brings about:
- Disrespect – Whether to traditional religious or civil a authority or for the nation, constitution or laws;
- Lack of patriotism or nationalism;
- Lack of industry or hardwork – the get rich quick syndrome,
including putting fate in Ponzi schemes, internet scams, 419, etc, have eaten deep into the fabric of our society; and
- Corruption – including denying the society of development at every level.
- If we all account for every member of our families and uphold the tenets of moral, religious, cultural, societal and traditional values, there will be no terrorists, bandits, robbers, arms smugglers, child traffickers, cattle rustlers, militants, etc. And, the work that our Government, Military and Security agencies are doing, will become positively, evident.
ROLE OF THE CORPORATE WORLD
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
- Let me turn my attention to our host of today. And I am glad that this event is organised by LCCI, a foremost entity in the corporate world. Can LCCI assist in the current war against insurgency, banditry, terrorist etc. The answer is definitely, yes.
- As I mentioned earlier, unemployment is one of the root causes of insecurity. Our people believe only Government jobs could suffice especially as it relates to job security. The corporate world could assist by swaying notions away from this stereotype by equally, enthroning clearly, defined job security policies as Government alone cannot provide employment for all Nigerians.
- Other areas the corporate world could assist in tackling insurgency include but, not limited to:
- enhancing the competitiveness of the Nigerian industry;
- evolving robust policies that would adequately, address the mortality rate of business concerns especially, SMEs;
- evolving robust policies to encourage and guarantee successes of Partnerships, Equity Angels, Joint Ventures, Franchises, etc.;
- evolving policies that should accelerate the movement of business entities from the informal to the formal sector; and
- pursuing the prescriptions of the Africa Productive Capacity Initiative (APCI) adopted more than a decade ago by the then Conference of African Ministers of Industry (CAMI), African Union and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to facilitate the development of our manufacturing capacity and for that reason, our capacity for international trade negotiations.
NEW APPROACH BY GOVERNMENT
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
- It is not just lamentations all the way. As insurgency, terrorism, banditry, etc, linger, Government has considered and still considering different approaches to frontally, and decisively deal with all forms of security challenges in the country with a view to enhancing our capabilities and capacities in Internal Security Management and Security Operations. Some of these include:
- Increased reliance
on technology – Inter-Ministerial Committee to advise on
the appropriate application of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Security Sector, is underway. This will define and determine a lot of issues regarding, forensics, satellite imagery, geo-positing, Unmanned Ariel Vehicles, Surveillance, Database , Emergency Calls, CCTV, etc.
- Increased Funding – By the time the operationalization of the Provisions of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund is attained some of the funding Challenges facing the Police Force and Internal Security, would have been addressed adequately and this will I improve its operational capabilities.
- Adaptability – As the war against insurgency and terrorism are asymmetric in nature, the Police authorities have been directed to reorganize, strengthen and upgrade the operational capacities of the Police Mobile Force to deal with such contemporary, emergent and future dimensions of security challenges.
- Influx of illegal
Weapons – Government is working hard to realize the establishment of a Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons in line with ECOWAS Protocol instead of the current Committee arrangement. By the way, other countries in the Sub-Region have already upgraded, their Commissions from Light Weapons to all encompassing Firearms Commission. We must tow the same path.
- Policy Framework – Government is in the process of
developing an Internal Security Policy and Strategy and this will be robust and comprehensive and should provide the direction/guidelines on how each Internal Security challenge should be adequately tackled with levels of responsibilities.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
- In concluding, let me re-itirate that the determination to tackle insecurity requires the cooperation of all. Every member of the society has his or her level of responsibility. Some to volunteer information, some to provide counselling and some to engage in the theatre of the war itself.
- Above all, we must all resort to our moral and religious, socio-cultural values which will make all of us protect the sanctity of the human life, abhor immoral and irresponsible behaviours and live up to our responsibility of raising good members of the society. Once our societies are populated with good moral and religious behaviours, the fight against insecurity will be easier to win. Once absolute peace is restored, the atmosphere will be created for our youth to unleash their creative potentials and the economy will grow at exponential rate.
- I thank you all for your rapt attention. God bless you, God bless LCCI and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Special Services Office,
Office of the Secretary to the
Government of the Federation
25th February, 2020