Keynote Excerpts From the speech delivered by National Security Adviser during the recent lunching of the National Security Strategy

Following the launching of the revised National Security Strategy by the President, the document was presented to the public in December 2019. In a keynote address delivered unbehalf of the National Security Adviser, it is evident that the success of a nation is determined by the ability of the government to guide its affairs through planning for review of the past, managing contemporary issues and articulating for the future. In addition, for a nation to attain its national interests, it would need to harness its means through ways that would enable it to achieve its ends. Such a process is known as a strategy.

In view of the above, a national strategy is an overarching document which highlights in broad terms in the geostrategic environment that encompasses our internal threats as well as the corresponding strategies to deal with them. It is therefore, a formidable framework of political, economic and military consensus that freedom of living and safeguarding other fundamental rights of citizens as well as continuous functionality of the government are paramount. The Strategy must also be consistent with our National Interest and Objectives.

Nigeria, like most nations has had and contended with myriad of security challenges which include terrorism, kidnapping, militancy, small arms and light weapons proliferation, armed banditry, and pastoralists farmers conflicts, among others. It was against this background that the NationaI Security Strategy (NSS) was conceived and the document was formulated to contend with these challenges. In addition to focusing on the effectiveness of security providers, it incorporates several key issues as a way of ensuring their relevance, public legitimacy, ownership and sustainability, as well as facilitating their implementation while improving the efficiency of how security is provided. In this regard, the new notion of National Security under this administration places emphasis on the ‘people’ as the referent object and not the ‘state’, aimed at enhancing the social-well-being of the citizenry. This Strategy, therefore, underscored the need to address the socioeconomic concerns such as corruption, which breeds poverty and unemployment; insecurity and the diversification of the economy, which are the three key objectives of this administration.

The 2014 document was subject to review after a 5-10 year period or as the contemporary environment dictates. It is noteworthy that most of our contemporary threats identified in the 2014 document are still potent, although some of them have morphed in various dimensions. Added to our threats are the fast-developing cyberspace environment and advances in technology, notably drone technology. To this end, it is imperative to continuously assess the current and future threat environment and develop appropriate resilience and capacity to mitigate these challenges.

It is imperative to know that obviously what transpired between 2014 and 2019, especially in the context of the fight against terrorism particularly the establishment of alliance between Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and other existential threats compelled a review of the strategy. Consequently, a Committee was conceived at (ONSA) to collate inputs from a wide range of stakeholders comprising Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Civil Society Organisations, as well as Subject Matter Experts from within and outside Nigeria, among others.

After 42 days of exhaustive deliberations and harmonization of all inputs, the Committee successfully formulated a draft Strategy and presented it before you in this venue for constructive critique and validation. The Committee considered and reflected the valuable observations you raised during the validation session in the formulation of the document we are once again putting before you today for sensitization. This long process is necessary as the National Security Strategy is an executive document and represents a ‘whole-of Government in combination with a ‘whole-of-Society in order to achieve a ‘whole-of-Nation ownership.

An important aspect of this strategy is the manifestation of a formidable relationship with our allies and institutions at national, regional, continental and global levels. This is key as activities in our external environment will continue to directly or indirectly influence our internal environment. All these efforts notwithstanding, this document is not perfect and with your collaboration must continue to undergo periodic review to address contemporary and emerging threats. Let me therefore express my profound gratitude for this collaboration in the interest of our fatherland.