Insurgency: All hands must be on deck — Defence Minister

The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, says all hands must be on deck to harness the rich intellectual and professional potential among security agencies to secure the country from insurgency.

Magashi stated this at a roundtable on the crisis situation in Afghanistan and its implications for Nigeria and Africa.

The discussion was organised by the Alumini Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC) on Friday in Abuja in collaboration with Office of the National Security Adviser and the National Defence College.

Magashi was represented by his Technical Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Ahmed Jibrin.

According to him, with the proliferation of terrorist groups in Africa, especially around the Sahel region, Nigerians have every cause to express concern over the events in Afghanistan.

He said that such worries might not be out of place based on the activities of terrorists and insurgent groups such as the Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province operating in parts of the country along with other criminal elements for some years.

He said that in spite of the commendable efforts of the gallant troops of the nation’s armed forces in the ongoing fight and living up to expectations, the country must not rest on its oars.

The minister commended the initiative taken by the association to critically analyse the situation in Afghanistan with a view to derive lessons for Nigeria and Africa.

“This implies that whatever is happening in any part of the world, in one way or the other, could impact on others positively or negatively.

“It is on this premise that the issue of terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, among other vices currently confronting Nigeria, must be looked at holistically.

“This is with a view to identifying their root causes, trends, support bases and finding appropriate and sustainable solutions to them.

“I look forward to the communiqué and recommendations that would be issued at the end of the discussions for very obvious reasons that cannot be over-emphasised,” he said.

The National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, said that the roundtable would provide opportunity for subject matter experts, intellectuals and security stakeholders to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and its implications on the nation’s national security.

Monguno, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Bala Ndagi, said it was pertinent to dissuade perceptions and reactions that security was the matter only to be handled by the federal government.

He said that as the nation had continued to closely monitor the rapidly evolving event in Afghanistan heralded by the sudden withdrawal by the U.S. and its allies from the country.

Monguno said that the fall of elected Afghan government supported by the American government for decades also raised issues of security concern across the world.

According to him, foremost among the issue is the possibility of the Talibans to once again turn Afghanistan into a haven of terrorists as the group is believed to still maintained close tie with Al-Qaida and its affiliates or sympathisers.

Monguno also said that the development in Afghanistan had once again highlighted the importance of leveraging non-kinetic approaches to promote nation building to complement kinetic security operations.

He urged AANDEC to see themselves as formidable think-tanks for national security concerns and the service as well as other stakeholders to avail themselves of the repository of knowledge within AANDEC.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, commended the alumni for their commitment to proffering solitons to national security challenges.

Irabor assured Nigerians that the armed forces would remain committed to ridding the nation of all forms of insecurity.