To address Nigeria’s current security difficulties, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the country’s security and intelligence institutions must develop a culture that is empirical, data-driven, analytical, and characterised by forensic rigour.

This was expressed by Osinbajo at the National Institute for Security Studies’ EIMC 14 Executive Intelligence Management Course graduation ceremony on Saturday.

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The Vice President emphasized the need for security agencies to reimagine Nigeria’s security and intelligence architecture’s institutional culture, and urged graduating students to be sharper and more inventive in their approach.

“It has fallen on you to be the generation of intelligence and security professionals who will marshal Nigeria’s answers to the various threats we face.”

“There is no doubt that we must be better and more inventive in marshalling these answers.

“We are compelled by the demands of our time to be much more astute in our business practices.

“Not only do we have to compete with well-equipped non-state actors, some of whom are hostile, but we also have to stay up with society.”

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“The risks of this age push us to be even more innovative, in addition to being more smarter.

“The intelligence industry necessitates the ability to anticipate the unexpected, to foresee the impact of unanticipated outcomes and events.”

Services of intelligence

Osinbajo stated that intelligence services must foresee threats to which they have a clear line of sight, and that due to resource limits, Nigeria will not wait for threats to become obvious risks before acting.

“Rather than reacting, our intelligence services must be proactive, staying ahead of rather than behind the curve. Before threats become evident perils, they must be identified and treated.

“It’s a hefty responsibility to bear.” But the truth is that the intelligence community is expected to be a step ahead of the rest of us by its very nature.

“This necessitates a great level of imagination.” A lack of imagination is a failure of intelligence.

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“I must emphasize that creativity, the ability to think in terms of various different scenarios, variables, and possibilities, is the gift of skill that should define the intelligence officer of this new century.”

Local safety

The availability and use of technology by criminal and terrorist persons and groups, as well as inter-agency coordination, are all issues that the country’s security elite must face, according to Vice President Osinbajo.

According to him, the question of global dimensions to local security challenges reflects the intricacy of any local challenge, which has a worldwide or trans-border connection.

He believed that solving local security issues would require an understanding of their worldwide implications.

“Take, for example, the insurgency in the north east; you can’t really comprehend its magnitude unless you understand its ties to Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, Al-Shabab, and the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East.”

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“The Boko Haram, ISWAP insurgency has since evolved into a multi-country insurgency affecting Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.”

Conceptualization of geostrategic importance

Prof. Osinbajo stated that the large quantity of firearms available to criminal gangs in every zone of Nigeria necessitates intelligence and security leaders’ thinking on solutions to security challenges to be geo-strategic.

“As primary leaders and planners of our security architecture, our intelligence and security elite must clearly be geo-strategic in their solution formulation.”

“We expect you to become acquainted with the history, current operations, and methods of operation of these transnational terrorist groups with ties to local terrorists.”

“You need to know how they fund themselves, how they carry weaponry and ammunition, and what technologies will be available to them in the months and years ahead.”

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Taking advantage of technology

Nigeria’s size and decreasing resources, according to Osinbajo, have required the employment of technology in the fight against insecurity.

“As a result, we must make use of technology.” We must come up with technology-driven solutions to solve our security needs at a time when national resources are stretched tight.

“The issues are the same whether we’re talking about border law enforcement and police, or surveillance and reconnaissance programs targeted at finding criminals in our coastal waters or locating terrorists hiding among the general populace.”

“To compensate for the human resource shortage, we must become more smarter in the deployment of intelligence; in the deployment of reconnaissance technologies.”

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“Technology has the potential to be a force multiplier, enhancing our ability to effectively safeguard our region.” Knowing that we should use technology for surveillance and combat isn’t enough.

“At the heart of the security environment’s complexity is technology, and how it has empowered criminal non-state actors with capabilities that were previously exclusively available to nation states.” Criminal non-state actors now have access to weaponry that were previously solely available to nation states.

“Criminal potential on the dark web, a virtual underworld that houses a worldwide unlawful economy that even state actors have struggled to penetrate.”

“Transactions such as illicit weaponry, illicit drugs, child trafficking, and even weapons of mass devastation are performed within this underground universe.”

Collaboration between agencies

Prof. Osinbajo also addressed inter-agency coordination and synergy, stating that “we are only as good as the synergy between the government’s law enforcement and security agencies.”

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President Buhari, he added, formed the Committee on Needs Assessment of National Security Requirements in response to this.

“The president signed a supplementary budget to the tune of N802 billion for military, security, and intelligence agencies and their particular needs as a consequence of the committee’s work,” the vice president stated.

Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady, who was also present at the event, expressed hope that the 10-month training will provide them with the necessary knowledge and expertise to address the country’s current security concerns.

She urged the graduates to put their newfound knowledge and abilities to good use during their training.

Yusuf Bichi, Director-General, State Services, congratulated the graduates and described them as change agents in his speech.

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He urged them to apply their knowledge to the country’s present security challenges.

The EIMC-14 Course, which began in February of this year, drew 66 people from Nigeria’s security and other agencies.

There were also visitors from neighboring countries.

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