The member representing Mbaitoli/ Ikeduru Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, Hon Henry Nwawuba has Sponsored a Bill for the amendment of the National Security and Civil Defence Act with a view to institionalising collaboration between security agencies to enhance gathering of intelligence reports and ultimately ensure the security of lives and property.
While presenting the Bill on the floor of the house, Hon Nwawuba noted that Nigeria, having witnessed the most devasting wave of insecurity since the end of the civil war, there is urgent need to take a critical look at the country’s security architecture and set up functional mechanism to pre-empt rising cases of security threats including terrorism, cyber attacks, drug trafficking, banditry, etc.
Full text of Hon Nwawuba’s presentation reads”,My Honourable colleagues, with Nigeria grappling with her worst level of insecurity since the end of the civil war, the need to reposition the Nigerian security architecture has never been more germane. Threats are diverse and hydra-headed and include terrorism, cyber-attacks, drug trafficking, and energy threats. They arise from multiple sources, and because their interrelated nature makes it difficult, if not impossible, for any single agency to effectively address them alone, hence the need for interagency collaboration cannot be over-emphasized.
However, organizational differences in agencies’ structures, planning processes, and funding sources can hinder interagency collaboration, potentially wasting scarce funds and limiting the effectiveness of federal efforts.
The aforementioned functions of the Corp are of a complementary nature, and that is what the instant Bill proposes to harness.
i. The 9/11 Commission observed that government’s single greatest failure preceding the September 11, 2001, attacks was the inability of federal agencies to effectively share information about suspected terrorists and their activities.
ii. The lack of an overarching strategy contributed to U.S. efforts not meeting their goal of key Iraqi ministries having the capacity to effectively govern and assume increasing responsibility for operating, maintaining, and further investing in reconstruction projects.
iii. The Secretaries of Defense and State observed that successful collaboration among civilian and military agencies requires confronting the disparity in resources, including providing greater capacity in the State Department and USAID to allow for effective civilian response and civilian- military partnership.
iv. Information is a crucial tool in national security and its timely dissemination is critical for maintaining national security; however, agencies do not always share relevant information with their national security partners. Sharing and integrating national security information is critical to assessing and responding to current threats to national security. At the same time, agencies must balance the need to share information with the need to protect it from widespread access.
v. Because of concerns about agencies’ ability to protect shared information or use that information properly, other agencies and private-sector partners are sometimes hesitant to share information. For example, Department of Homeland Security officials expressed concerns about sharing terrorism-related information with state and local partners because such information had occasionally been posted on public Internet sites or otherwise compromised.
vi. US Congress and the administration working towards ensuring that agencies remain committed to sharing relevant national security information, increasing access to necessary information, and effectively managing and integrating information across agencies
vii. Security sector reforms targeting collaboration. The National Assembly and the administration will need to consider the extent to which agencies’ existing structures, processes, and funding sources facilitate interagency collaboration and whether changes could enhance collaboration.
viii. Strategic direction is required as the basis for collaboration toward national security goals. Without having the strategic direction that overarching strategies can provide, agencies may develop their own individual efforts that may not be well-coordinated with that of interagency partners, thereby limiting progress in meeting national security goals.
ix. Defining organizational roles and responsibilities and mechanisms for coordination—one of the desirable characteristics for strategies that we have identified in our prior work—can help agencies clarify who will lead or participate in which activities, organize their joint activities and individual efforts, facilitate decision making, and address how conflicts would be resolved.
x. Agencies can enhance and sustain their collaborative efforts by establishing compatible policies, procedures, and other means to operate across agency boundaries, among other practices.
xi. Joint training and retraining
xii. Workshops and seminars
xiii. As the threats to national security have evolved over the past decades, so have the skills needed to prepare for and respond to those threats. To effectively and efficiently address today’s national security challenges, the government needs a qualified, well-trained workforce with the skills and experience that can enable them to integrate the diverse capabilities and resources”.