Nigeria needs to invest more in advanced ICT to national peace and secure her ungoverned spaces from terrorists and other criminal elements, the Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd) has said this week in Abuja at the 12th National Security Seminar with the theme ‘Application of Technology as Force Multiplier in Enhancing Peace and Security in Nigeria.’
“Our security forces have performed well in international operations and at home, they can do even better by improving their level of performance with the use of technology, especially since criminals and terrorists are applying technology in their nefarious activities,” the minister said at the event organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC).
He said stakeholders across sectors across sectors need to collaborate in terms of policy implementation even as government becomes more proactive in deploying technology to monitor forests and other ungoverned spaces that are now havens to criminals.
While commending the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON for remarkable efforts in the manufacturing of drones, light weapons, and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, he said there was still plenty room to accelerate implementation of appropriate governmental policies for technological development particularly in the security sector.
Warfare and even civil policing have been redefined by technology and to successfully tame criminal non-state actors, countries must invest heavily on technology research and manufacturing, Magashi told his audience.
Adding: “In this regard, the Defence Research Development Bureau (DRDB), the Defence Space Administration and other technology-driven agencies’ efforts to improve security operations are commendable steps in the right direction.
“Improved situational awareness is often made possible by technology. It is time to demystify the forests being a haven for criminals. It is time to dominate cyberspace and deny the cyber criminals of its illegal use without detection and arrests.”
According to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), who also spoke at the event, Nigeria faces asymmetric threats which require reliance on advanced technologies that include digital surveillance and precision targeting weapons.
The NSA, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Ndagi, said the need to leverage technology has become extremely critical to curtail any threat to national peace.
The commandant, National Defence College (NDC), Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir, agreed with Ndagi, adding that there urgent need to increase efforts to take out violent non-state actors who have now become recurring threats to Nigeria’s continuous existence.
For the CEO of Proforce, Mr Ade Ogundeyin, government must encourage collaboration with private sector stakeholders to have a multi-sectoral approach to addressing Nigeria’s security needs whether in terms of research, intelligence sharing or actual manufacturing of security products.
This will also enhance high local capacity in defence production. Ogundeyin, stated in his presentation titled, ‘The Role of the Private Sector in Defence Technology and Innovation Financing in Nigeria.’