The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) has identified poor understanding and management of overlapping mandates as a crucial impediment to adequate response to the security challenges bedevilling Nigeria.
Director-General of NILDS, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman disclosed this in his remarks at the retreat for the leadership and security-based committees of the House of Representatives which began Friday July 9, 2021, in Lagos with principal officers of the House in attendance.
Professor Sulaimann said that findings carried out by the NILDS which would be presented at the retreat showed that despite the perennial and often cited problems of security agencies such as insufficient funding, lack of military hardware and absence of robust intelligence gathering, the lack of synergy among security agencies was a major setback.
Sulaimann explained that the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, banditry and kidnappings in the North-West, farmer-herder clashes and crime in the North Central and re-emergence of secessionist groups in the South have challenged the very fabric of Nigeria and the security architecture, making it imperative for collaborative structures to address them.
According to him, where there is synergy between security and other agencies, they are better able to manage conflict, share resources and draw from the operational competences of one another, in addition to reducing the strain on existing resources channelled to addressing insecurity.
He revealed that after a series of retreats, workshops and validation meetings organised by NILDS and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Foundation targeted at intelligence agencies and security-based committees of the House of Representatives, various recommendations came up. They include the need for a holistic reform of the legal frameworks regulating the operations of security agencies and actors as well as other non-legal measures including the development of collaborative structures for training, intelligence sharing and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for jointing operations.
Flowing from insights gained from the meetings, NILDS, KAS and experts from the Office of the Speaker, and the House Committee on Monitoring and Implementation of the Legislative Agenda also undertook a review of Nigeria’s national security framework and identified priority issues contained in the House Agenda, after which they drafted nine security Bills.
They include The Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill, Civil Defence Act (Amendment) Bill, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act (Amendment) Bill, and the Customs and Excise Management Act (Amendment) Bill. Others are the Police Act (Amendment) Bill, ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, among others.
In his welcome address, Resident Representative of KAS, Dr. Vladmir Kreck, explained that the retreat was timely and was targeted at ultimately strengthening interagency collaboration to tackle insecurity, and usher in a regime of governance and democracy in the security architecture in Nigeria.
Other speakers at the opening are Dr. Stefan Traumann-Consular-General of the German Consulate in Lagos; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who was represented, and Hon. Henry Nwanuba, Chair of the House Committee on Monitoring, and Implementation of the Legislative Agenda.