“Man was born free, but everywhere in chains” – Jean Jacques Rousseau, French sage
Although man graced the cradle as a natural public relations element, whose birth and eventual existence acts for or reacts to the norms and rules set by society; in obeisance to the age-long social contract that bind men and women together in a web of communal living for peace, tranquility and mutual development. What a beautiful arrangement?
Yet, man, in his anti-social and maniacal mannerisms, often derail from any perfect setting – by embracing the theatre of the absurd, breaking the golden rules of society, to the extent of courting conflict, crime and criminal tendencies. As such, man is to himself a source of menace. One that society has to fight against, saving man from pushing the self-destruct buttons of conflagration and self-extermination. Saunter in the word security into our world of lexicons!
With the meteoric rise in the world of technology, so also has grown steeply and steadily man’s unabashed effrontery at beating legislation and established regulations through ingenious and infamous dastardly means of negativity; causing harrowing pains and untold sorrows to others. Equally it is stale news to hear of hi-tech crimes such as plane hijacking, computer hacking, cyber fraud, phone-tapping, identity theft, hired killing, suicide bombing and so on. Needless to say that invaluable property and priceless lives are often wantonly destroyed without remorse while these crimes are being committed.
Our sad memories of WTC 9/11, the Benghazi US Embassy bombing in Libya, the incessant suicide bomb campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Somalia and homestead Nigeria, daily drives cold shivers down the spine of nations and decimates not only our commonwealth but the natural psyche of human social engineering and peaceful development. Who then will bell this ugly cat? And how do we return sanity back to our cherished humanity? The answer is: terrorism is a hydra-headed and locally global phenomenon that requires a chain-saw-multiple-approach of regional and world-wide web mechanisms of information dissemination and high level security cooperation to tame and cut down to manageable bite size.
It is in the light of the above painted picture that one can capture the real essence of Nigeria’s contribution toward the maintenance and sustenance of world peace through planned security programmes and concerted multi lateral efforts at containing terrorism.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been upbeat about the subject and not in any mood to let off steam on the march towards combating the deadly menace of terrorism. In fact, he has been unequivocal about the dire need to bring peace back to Nigeria, Nigerians and her neighbours. And his doggedness seems to be paying off with glimpses of hope that the dreaded insurgents in the Northern Zone of the country, the dreaded Boko Haram Sect, are getting ready to have a talk with the government – if the terms and time are right. Our world deserves some more peace.
In line with this latitude of thought, the nation hosted recently through the Office of the National Security Adviser to the President, headed by the meticulous Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, a constellation of global security buffs and gurus at a mutually benefitting defense talk-shop on Regional Conference on Counter Terrorism themed Containing Terrorism in West African Sub-Region, held in Abuja. There, topnotch security representatives from across the world brainstormed for long hours within two days. And very visible at the November 4-5 Summit were tangible safety eggheads from the CIA (USA), MOSSAD (Israeli), MI6 (UK), BND (Berlin, Germany), and others from Africa. The Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, NIA, DSS, SSS, Police and so on were also on the chequered list.
Not even the greatest cynic would doubt the intimidating echelon and pedigree of the league of credible third party endorsers that garnered Nigeria’s way on counter terrorism. Let’s have a sneak-peek of the multifarious security organizations that hearkened the nation’s clarion call for peace in the world. Present among others were: Mr. Muhammad Raffiudin Shah, Officer-in-Charge, United Nations Counter Terrosrim Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office, New York; General David Petraeus, Director (now retired), Central Intelligence Agency, Langley, Virginia, USA; Robert S. Muller III, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Washington D.C. USA; Mr. John Sawyers, Director-General MI6, London, United Kingdom; Tamir Pardo, Director, The Israeli Foreign Intelligence Agency (MOSSAD), Tel Aviv, Israeli; Lt. General Adriana Santini, Agenxia Informaciono e Sicurexxa Externa, Rome, Italy; Erard Corbine de Mangoux, Director General, Directorate Generale de la Securite de la Securite de Exterieure, Paris, France; and Ernest Urhrlau, The President Bendesnachrictendients (BND) Berlin, Germany.
Also on the compelling compendium from the African Continent were: Major General Charles J. Hooper, AFRICOM, Director of Strategy, Plans and Programmes; Isaac A. Moyo, Executive Secretary, Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA); Dennis T. Dlomo, Acting Director General, State Security Agency (SSA) Musanda, Delma Road, Pretoria, South Africa; Major General Rachid Abdelali Lallalli, Director General of Documentation and External Security, Algiers, Algeria; Major General M.K. Ginchangi, Director-General, national Security Intelligence Service, Nairobi, Kenya; Amb. Jonathan Bartels-Kodwo, Director General of Research Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Accra, Ghana; Eko Eko Leopold Maxime, Director General for External Research, Yaounde, Cameroun; Colonel N’da Bio, Director General, Director Des Services de Liaison et de la Documetation, Cotonou, Republic of Benin; Mr. Ramadan Erdogou, Director, General/coordinator of National Security, Agency for National Security, N’Djamena, Chad; Lt. Gen. Mohamed Atta Al Mula Abbas, Director General, National Intelligence and Security Service, Khartoum, Sudan; Brig. Gen. Lawal Chekou Kore, Director General, Documentation and External Security, Niamey, Niger Republic; Commandant, Kofi Annan Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Accra, Ghana; and D. Nicholas Obama Nchama, Ecmo Sr Ministrode Segridad Nacional, Department de Seguridad Exterior, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Meanwhile, host Nigeria had a formidable team to represent her: Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, National Security Adviser to the President; Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, CFR, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS); Lt. Gen. O.A. Ihejirika, CFR, Chief of Army Staff; Major General S.Y. Bello, OON, Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Department, Office of the National Security Adviser (CCTD-ONSA); Ekpeyong E. Ita, CFR, mni, Director General, Department of State Services (DSS); Major General S. Y. Audu, Chief of Defence Intelligence; Dr. Bello Fadile, Director, Special Duties/Director, Special Investigation Panel, ONSA; Prof. Soji Adelaja, Special Adviser to the NSA on Economic Intelligence; and even public affairs commentator and security analyst, Max Gbanite.
Many cogent issues were brought to the front burner. They encompassed: An Overview of Terrorism in the West African Sub-Region and the Need for Regional Collaboration; Understanding the Current Trends in International Terrosim; An overview of Terrorism in Nigeria: Current Challenges and the Way Forward; Developing Strategies to Combat Terrorism: the Algerian Experience; Counter Terrorism and the Imperative of Collaboration and Joint Action; International Law and Human Rights in Counter Terrorism; Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea; plus The Impact of Socio-Economic Environment in the Promotion of Terrorism in West Africa.
Finally, albeit, security matters are what they are supposed to be: secret-coded parlances and parleys, objectives of which are only known to the initiated and indoctrinated. However, a situation that brought together an assemblage of the world’s best hands in safety determination must, and should, be applauded as a laudable foot forward in a determined direction towards public and property protection, in the unseen war of containing and combating global terrorism.
Thus there is virtual and actual commonsense in regional reasoning at taming terrorism, to make our world a safer haven for all to live in and for mankind to progress and develop, undisturbed and unhindered.
As encapsulated by Dasuki, the National Security Adviser, NSA, “only regional cooperation can peg and end terrorism.”
*Chief Eric Teniola is a veteran Journalist, Editor and a retired Director of Media at the Presidency.
“Man was born free, but everywhere in chains” – Jean Jacques Rousseau, French sage