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General News of Sunday, 14 November 2021


Why terrorists, separatist groups becoming popular – NSA

National Security Adviser (NSA) Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd) National Security Adviser (NSA) Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd)

The National Security Adviser (NSA) Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd) has said that separatists groups in the West African region were gaining global attention because of the influence, support and sympathy they get from their foreign counterparts.

The NSA, who made this known at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris, also said that most of Nigeria’s contemporary security problems were influenced or heightened by external factors in the global environment.

Mungono, in a paper titled “Combating persistent and emerging threats to regional peace and security in Africa: pivotal role of Nigeria,” pointed out that Africa’s porous borders remained a major source of concern as these had aided smuggling of prohibited items and irregular migration as well as other transnational- organised crimes.

He, however, noted that the Nigeria Customs Service had developed the E-Customs strategy while the Nigeria Immigrations Service had equally put in place an Integrated Border Management System (IBMS), to curb the menace.

He also said the Federal Government was exploring the feasibility of setting up a border security force in the foreseeable future to secure Nigeria’s border areas.

According to him, “global trends indicate that various factors create concerns such as rapid population growth which puts tremendous pressure on states to compete for energy, water and food to support life and economic and societal development, a growing cyber awakening in which perceptions of inequality and other grievances are heightened, leading to social tension and conflicts, a continuation of ideological extremism, driven by religious or ethnic differences; and climate change that could prompt shifts in agricultural patterns and food production likely to trigger humanitarian crises, if not appropriately addressed.

All these global security challenges have the potential to undermine national security and by implication national development.

“The African continent is not immune to these global security concerns. This is because most of our contemporary security problems are influenced or heightened by external threat factors in the global environment. Currently, we are faced with a series of security threats, the most serious being the transnational threat of terrorism perpetrated by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs). Other major security challenges include piracy, transnational-organised crimes, climate change as well as cyber threats. Undoubtedly, all these security challenges pose varying degrees of threats to the social, economic and political dynamics of not only Nigeria, but also of the African continent.”

Speaking on the activities of separatist groups, the NSA said that “the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria as well as the activities of Ambazonian separatists in Cameroon have attracted international sympathy mainly from sympathisers in the Diaspora.

“It should, however, be noted that the Nigerian government has never prevented the freedom of expression or agitation. However, the violent confrontation and engagement of security forces by these groups usually translates into fatalities and other grave consequences.

“While we continue to extend dialogue as the main medium for resolving conflicts in the country, the Nigerian government will continue to discharge its responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property against any criminal activity by IPOB or any separatist group”

While noting that the nation’s borders are poorly manned, he expressed hope that with the help of technology as adopted by the various agencies, even as he said both strategies place premium on employing technology to complement other existing physical border security arrangements.

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