In an unprecedented development, Nigerians have been appointed as the Chairperson of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa as well as its Executive Secretary for the next one year and five years respectively.
The historic appointments meant that Nigeria could effectively leverage the continental intelligence services to deal with both national, regional and continental security threats.
This is coming as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, promised government’s maximum commitment to ensure that CISSA’s aims and objectives are met.
Mustapha, who at the weekend brought the 16th Ordinary CISSA Conference at the National Intelligence Agency, Abuja to a close, commended the Director-Generals and Heads of Africa’s Intelligence Agencies for electing the NIA Director-General, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and Hajia Zainab Ali-Kotoko as its Chairperson and Secretary-General respectively.
While Abubakar took over as the Chairperson of CISSA from Ambassador B.K. Likando of the Namibian Intelligence Service for a period of one year until the next Conference in Cairo, Egypt, Ali-Kotoko replaced Shimeles W. Semayat and will run the Ethiopia-based CISSA Secretariat for the next five years.
Mustapha said: “By your decision, Nigeria has ascended the position of Chairmanship for the next one year and you have also appointed Zainab Ali-Kotoko as the Executive Secretary of CISSA for the next five years.
“As Nigeria assumes the mantle of CISSA’s leadership for the 2019/2020 session, your collective focus should be on promoting shared goals and objectives and maximizing the impact of this organization across Africa.
“I believe that there is no limit to what we can achieve as a continent when we work together. In today’s globalised world, in which our fate as individuals and countries is increasingly interconnected and interdependent, we really do not have much of a choice but to work together, as you are already doing in CISSA.”
The SGF commend CISSA for leading the way in the fight against corruption and insecurity as reflected in the Conference theme: “Illicit Financial Outflows from Africa and Their Impact on National Security and Development,” and “Directors-General and Heads of Intelligence and Security Services, for your sacrifices and devotion towards eradication of the menace”.
He noted that Illicit Financial Outflows and corruption are hydra-headed monsters, with one feeding the other in what is clearly a symbiotic relationship.
According to him, IFOs thrive on corruption, while corruption enables illicit financial outflows, adding that this relationship is corrosive to our national economies, as well as the social fabric of our societies.
To this, Mustapha said: “We must defeat both threats to free Africa’s wealth for the development of our various countries” and re-affirmed “the determination of Government to support the vigorous fight against illicit financial outflows and corruption in terms of policies and appropriate legislations.
“We are not unaware of the enormity of the task but we remain focused and undaunted, bearing in mind the colossal implications of the threat to our national life.”
Mustapha also promised to spearhead legislative support towards the implementation of CISSA Outcome Document when it becomes available.
In the same vein, Abubakar said what made the 16th CISSA Conference unique was the overview of the security situation in the entire continent with note for concern that IFOs are a major threat to Africa’s development, which must be addressed swiftly.
The new head of Africa’s Spy Chiefs, warned that the continent is in dire need of every bit of resources but they have the duty to ensure that these resources are deployed towards addressing various challenges confronting the continent.
He reminded that unity and purposefulness remain the core pillars of their strength, especially since “the inherently international character of IFOs suggests that we must all work together to defeat the threat”.
“Our success will also depend on how we play our role, individually and collectively. We also have a mandate…to strengthen our relationship with African Union and to build and reinforce our collaboration with partners,” he added.
On his part, the NIA Director-General promised to work closely with each Member State to resolve common challenges by mobilising resh ideas to ensure that the organisation continues to excel.
He also urged the new Executive Secretary and country woman, Ali-Kotoko, to build on the achievements of her predecessor, “whose exemplary leadership, dedication and commitment in the past five years has helped to place CISSA on a firmer footing”.