VP Osinbajo charges Security Agencies to adopt Data-driven Culture

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof.

Yemi Osinbajo says the country’s security and intelligence agencies must adopt a culture that is empirical, data driven, analytical and defined by forensic rigour to tackle the present security challenges in Nigeria.

Osinbajo stated this on Saturday at the graduation ceremony of the Executive Intelligence Management Course EIMC 14 of the National Institute for Security Studies, Abuja.

Stressing the need for security agencies to reinvent the institutional culture of Nigeria’s security and intelligence architecture, the Vice President called on the graduating students to be smarter and more imaginative in their approach.

“It has fallen on you to be the generation of intelligence and security practitioners that will marshal Nigeria’s responses to the variety of threat that confront us.

“There is no doubt that in marshalling these responses, we must be smarter and more imaginative.

“We are compelled by the exigencies of our age to be much smarter in the way that we go about our business.

“Not only because we are in competition with well-equipped non-state actors, some of whom are hostile, but also because we must keep pace with society itself.

“In addition to being much smarter, the perils of this age challenge us to become even more imaginative.

“The business of intelligence necessarily entails the capacity to expect the unexpected, to foresee the impact of unexpected consequences and events.

Intelligence servicesOsinbajo pointed out that it is not enough for the intelligence services to anticipate the threat that they have a clear line of sight to, stating that with resources constraints; Nigeria would not wait for the threat to become manifest dangers before they act.

“Our intelligence services must be proactive rather than reactive, ahead of the curve rather than behind it.

  Threats must be identified and addressed well before they evolve into manifest perils.

“It is a very heavy burden indeed.

  But the truth is that the intelligence community, by the very nature of its mandate, is charged with being steps ahead of the rest of us.

“This requires a high capacity for imagination.

  A failure of intelligence is a failure of imagination.

“I must stress that if there is any gift of skill that you should define the intelligence officer of this new age; it is imagination, being able to think in terms of multiple alternative scenarios, variables and possibilities.

Local securityVice President Osinbajo also identified the global dimensions to local security; Nigeria’s size and terrain; the availability and use of technology by criminal and terrorist individuals and groups as well as inter-agency co-ordination as challenges, which the elite of the country’s security agencies must confront.

According to him, the question of global dimensions to local security challenges speaks to the complexity that every local challenge has a global or trans-border link.

He insisted that local security problems would not be solved without understanding their international dimensions.

“So, take the insurgency in the north east as an example; you cannot fully appreciate its scope without recognizing its linkages with Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, Al-Shabab and the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East.

“The Boko Harm, ISWAP insurrection has since metamorphosed into an insurgency that troubles three other countries: Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Geo-strategic conception

Osinbajo said that the numbers of weapons available to criminal gangs in every zone of Nigeria requires that the intelligence and security leaders must be geo-strategic in their conception of solutions to the security challenges.

“So, clearly, our intelligence and security elite must be geo-strategic in their conception of solutions as first leaders and planners of our security architecture.

“We should expect that you familiarize yourself with history, contemporary activities and the modus operandi of these international terrorist groups that have links with local terrorists.

“You must understand their financing, how they transport arms and ammunition and what technology will be available to them in the coming months and years.

Leveraging technologyOsinbajo said that Nigeria’s size and dwindling resources have necessitated the use of technology in the fight against insecurity.

“We must leverage therefore technology.

  At a time when national resources are stretched thin, we must come out with technology-driven solutions to addressing our security needs.

“Whether we are discussing the law enforcement and policing of our borders or surveillance of reconnaissance programmes that are aimed at identifying criminals within our coastal waters or locating terrorists hiding within the general population, the challenges are the same.

“We must become much smarter in the deployment of intelligence; in the deployment and reconnaissance tools to compensate especially for the human resource deficit.

“Technology can be a force multiplier, amplifying our potential and our capacity to effectively secure our territory.

  It is not enough to know that we should deploy technology for surveillance and combat.

“At the heart of the complexity of the security environment lays the technology and the way it has empowered criminal non-state actors with capabilities that decades ago could only be exercised by nation states.

  Now criminal non-state actors have access to weapons of the type that only nation states had in the past.

“Criminal possibilities in the dark web, a virtual underworld that holds a global illicit economy that has proven difficult even for state actors to infiltrate.

“Within this underground universe, transactions including illicit weapons, illicit drugs, child trafficking, even weapons of mass destruction are being conducted.

Inter-agency collaboration

Osinbajo also spoke on inter-agency collaboration and synergy, declaring that “we are as good as the synergy between the law enforcement and security agencies of the government.

He said that it was in line with this that President Buhari established the Committee on Needs Assessment of the National security requirements.

“It was as a result of the work of the committee that the president signed supplementary budget to tune of N802billion for military, security and intelligence agencies and for their special needs,” the vice president said.

Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs.

Aisha Buhari, who was also at the event, expressed hope that the 10-month course would equip them with relevant knowledge and experience needed to tackle the current security challenges in the country.

She urged the graduands to utilize the knowledge and skills acquired during the training effectively.

In his address, the Director-General, State Services, Yusuf Bichi congratulated the graduands describing them as change agents.

He called on to bring their knowledge to bear on the current security challenges in the country.

The EIMC-14 Course, which started in February this year, had 66 participants drawn from security and other agencies in Nigeria.

There were also others who came from neighbouring countries.

Nneka Ukachukwu
VP Osinbajo charges Security Agencies to adopt Data-driven Culture

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