ABUJA- The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, says it is time to demystify the forests used as haven for criminals across the country through the use of technology.
Magashi said this at the opening of the 12th National Security Seminar of the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister said Nigeria could not afford to maintain status quo when warfare had transformed at a fast pace alongside rapid technological development, thereby impacting on the means and methods of warfare.
He announced that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) had made strides recently, manufacturing drones, light weapons, vehicles and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
According to him, these efforts and other similar initiatives need to be accelerated through rapid implementation of appropriate governmental policies geared towards technological development of the security sector.
Magashi said the armed forces and various security agencies had established research and development centres as well as cyber security outfits that had come up with worthy initiatives and products.
“In this regard, the Defence Research Development Bureau (DRDB), the Defence Space Administration and other technology-driven agencies’ efforts to improve security operations are commendable steps in the right direction.
“Our security forces have performed well in international operations and at home, they can do even better by improving their level of performance with the use of technology, especially since criminals and terrorists are applying technology in their nefarious activities.
“Improved situational awareness is often made possible by technology. It is time to demystify the forests being a haven for criminals.
“It is time to dominate the cyberspace and deny the cyber criminals of its illegal use without detection and arrests.
“It is time to ensure that the security agencies can effectively collaborate and support each other in defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria.
“It is also time we occupy our rightful place in regional and global peace and security architecture through the application of technology in our defence and security sectors,” he said.
Magashi commended the alumnai association for leveraging the vast human resources of well-trained top military officers to create the right atmosphere for debates on development to take place.
He said application of technology in the management of national security challenges was a global phenomenon that nations took seriously, hence their massive investments in research, technology and innovations.
On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, represented by Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Ndagi, said continuous technological advancements in warfare had led to highly improved capabilities in the 21st century.
Monguno said the threats facing Nigeria were asymmetric, which placed a higher desire for technology due to the need for digital surveillance and precision targeting in some instances, to reduce collateral concerns to the barest level.
The NSA said technology remained a significant force multiplier in the current security landscape, saying the seminar was a major step towards consolidating the strides achieved by Nigerian security agencies to ensure the nation’s peace and security.
He urged AANDEC to continue in its efforts to conduct various dimensions of research into contemporary national security issues and proffer actionable recommendations.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Proforce, Mr Ade Ogundeyin in his lecture titled, “The Role of the Private Sector in Defence Technology and Innovation Financing in Nigeria”, urged government to devote its energy to building local capacity in defence production.
Ogundeyin said that concerted effort must be made to establish a military industrial complex and strengthen DICON to be able to produce the needed military hard and soft wares.
He said that Proforce, an indigenous, defence production company, had continued expand its capacity and clientele beyond the shores of Africa.
He said that technologies like drones were needed in the modern warfare, adding that the government must be decisive in developing technologically driven military industrial complex. (NAN)