Strategic Communications Interagency Advisory Policy Committee Commits to Improved Intelligence Sharing for Enhanced National Security

To achieve greater security and prosperity and to continue to strive for a safer and more secure nation, the Strategic Communications Interagency Advisory Policy Committee has pledged that security agencies will focus on strengthening intelligence-sharing mechanisms to pre-empt and counter security threats more effectively. 

The committee coordinated by ONSA serves as the umbrella body for the spokespersons of all Nigerian security and response agencies, facilitating unified and strategic communication to highlight the collective activities of security agencies over the past one year. 

Addressing media on behalf of the Strategic Communications Interagency Advisory Policy Committee, Major General Edward Buba who also served as Director of Defence Media Operations noted that the future outlook of the committee is to strengthen mechanisms to ensure a people-oriented approach to securing communities.

"To invest in advanced technologies and equipment to enhance the capabilities of security forces. Deepen partnerships with international allies to tackle regional and global security challenges and leverage best practices.

"We are working decisively to address insecurity and ensure the safety of citizens. It must be reiterated that the lifeline of the terrorist and other forms of insecurity is the people. Accordingly, winning the war without the support of the people is close to impossible.

"It is for this reason, that we call on all citizens, the priv20ate sector, NGOs, religious communities, and other stakeholders to support the efforts of the security forces. Through the strength of our interagency collaboration, we have achieved so much and it is indicative that much more can still be achieved and will be achieved," he said

On the achievement of each organisation, General Buba noted that first, the Office of the National Security Adviser has been pivotal in coordinating national security strategies and ensuring synergy among various security agencies. During the period under review, ONSA successfully hosted the High-Level Africa Counter-Terrorism Meeting. The meeting brought together African Heads of Government, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who served as the host President, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, and leaders of other key global bodies.

The discussions during the meeting focused on stability in the Sahel Region. Overall, at the end of it all, the discussions garnered significant commitments to combat terrorism and violent extremism. Relatedly, the Office facilitated the second leg of the UK-Nigeria security and defence dialogue, bringing together security and defence chiefs from both countries.

Furthermore, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the ONSA initiated a series of economic security measures against currency manipulators and speculators. The office also coordinated efforts in the areas of human security and food security. There were also significant interventions to resolve some national issues. All these are in consonance with an increasing population-centric approach to national security since the beginning of the administration.

For the military, the armed Forces of Nigeria are in a good and strong position in this war against the terrorist and their cohorts, with many terrorist leaders killed. We are making them pay a much heavier price than we have been forced to pay. 

Between May 2023 to June 2024, the potency of the terrorists was largely degraded with 9,303 Terrorists neutralized, 6,988 terrorists including their logistic suppliers and informants arrested, while 4641 hostages were rescued.

Notably, 9,562 Boko Haram/ISWAP combatant fighters and their families surrendered to security forces. In the fight against oil theft, 1,437 perpetrators were apprehended, with 363 neutralized. 

Additionally, 245 kidnapped hostages were rescued, leading to a marked improvement in prevention of crude oil theft. The joint operational environment coupled the synergy with other security and intelligence agencies greatly assisted in the optimal performance of troops in the conduct of operations.

As for the Nigerian Navy, the increased patrols and international collaborations of the NN led to a substantial reduction in piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea. Notable achievements in the last twelve months include the prevention of oil theft which denied the oil theft of an estimated sum of N91,247,052,565.

Troops equally discovered and destroyed 3,051 dugout pits, 1,276 boats, 3,924 storage tanks, and 408 vehicles. Additionally, the NN anti crude oil theft operations recovered significant quantities of illegally refined petroleum products, amounting to millions of litres.

The DSS and other intelligence agencies play a critical role in safeguarding national security through intelligence gathering and covert operations. The seamless interagency coordination, ensured timely utilisation of provided intelligence. For instance, intelligence-led operations have prevented numerous terrorist attacks and criminal activities. Indeed, several high-profile terrorist Commanders and their associates were either taken off the battlefield or apprehended across multiple states. These prevented potential catastrophic incidents. 

 Intelligence activities led to several confiscations which included illegal items such as IEDs, firearms, ammunition, and dangerous psychoactive substances. Over 21,000 pump action cartridges, 440 pump action rifles, and 228,741 rounds of ammunition were seized. Other items include seized suicide jackets and lethal weapons. These seizures prevented potential attacks on citizens and security forces.

Additionally, criminal activities involving illicit petroleum products were disrupted and resulted in about 50,000 illicit litres of petroleum products being impounded. Furthermore, intelligence disseminated to the South-South region contributed significantly to a reduction in oil theft.

Furthermore, new directorates were established to enhance transparency and democratic principles, promoting security and economic stability through intelligence-sharing initiatives. The intelligence community continues to provide both foreign and domestic intelligence services that are timely and actionable to Government. Our Intelligence activities keep a tap on dissidents, secessionists and transnational organized crime involving Nigerians such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, fraud, cybercrime, money laundering, and immigration-related crimes.

Additionally, the DSS collaborated with foreign services in furthering common national, regional and international priorities set by Government. This led to effective representation of the country in regional and continental security platforms such as the ECOWAS, CISSA and other regional and continental organizations.

The Nigeria Police Force and other law enforcement agencies have undertaken significant reforms and operations to enhance public safety. These include restructuring and reforming the intelligence department and reopening the Nigeria Police Intelligence School. The launch of the Special Intervention Squad (SIS) as well as collaboration with international partners, alongside the Schools Protection Initiative and the deployment of helicopters for train escorts along the Abuja-Kaduna route to enhanced security measures.

Digital support systems like the Nigeria Police Force Rescue Me App have been relaunched, leading to significant successes. The Nigeria Police during period of the year, arrested 4,796 armed robbery suspects, 3,068 kidnap suspects, 2,474 suspects for rape/sexual crimes, and 1,213 suspects for unlawful possession of firearms.

There are: 3,523 suspected cultists, 3,381 suspects for murder/homicide, and 13,382 suspects for other offences. Additionally, 1,713 kidnap hostages rescued, 2,566 firearms and 19,310 rounds of ammunition recovered, along with 1,465 vehicles/motorcycles. Also, during the period under review, the Nigerian police prosecuted 29,052 cases. Of these, 7,675 cases were conclusively dispensed, 11,376 suspects are currently undergoing trial, 51 cases are under appeal in appellate courts, and 16,200 cases resulted in the conviction of suspects who have received various punishments for their criminal acts.

Similarly, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) recorded significant feats to bolster internal security and secure critical infrastructure. The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps established the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre (NSSRCC).

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps foiled over 48 school attacks and kidnap attempts nationwide during the period. They equally launched the CG's Mining Marshall. These Mining Marshals combated illegal mining activities, dismantling 1,975 illegal mining sites and 165 illegal local refineries. The illegal refining sites were uncovered and dismantled. The Corps also enhanced communication initiatives, promoted public awareness and sensitization programs.

The pivotal role in law enforcement played by Custodial management can not be over-emphasized. Custodial management ensured the proper care, rehabilitation, and reintegration of inmates into society. During the last year, the Nigerian Correctional Service focused on enhancing custodial practices. These were achieved through enhanced inmate training and productivity, increased revenue from Correctional Farm Centres and Vocational Skill Workshops as well as educational advancements for inmates.

Inmate welfare was improved through the distribution of beddings, uniforms, and hygiene materials, coupled with access to healthcare services. Efforts to decongest custodial centres through fines, renovations, and expansions have been significant. Meanwhile, staff welfare enhancements saw the promotion of over 10,000 officers and men, and improved working conditions.

The lead agencies in the fight against corrupt practices namely, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) evolved anti-corruption initiatives that have been significant in maintaining law and order. Some of these initiatives resulted in the recovery and forfeiture of assets. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) made significant progress in the fight against economic and financial crimes by securing 3,412 convictions and recovering vast sums of money both in local and foreign denominations. 

The recovered amounts include N161,642,239,242.30 (One Hundred and Sixty One Billion, Six Hundred and Forty-Two Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty Two Naira, Thirty Kobo), $43,835,214.24 (Forty-Three Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five Thousand, Two Hundred and Fourteen Dollars, Twenty-Four Cents), £25,365.00 (Twenty-Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Pounds), €186,947.10 (One Hundred and Eighty-Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Forty-Seven Euros, Ten Cents), 

The EFCC further recovered ₹51,360.00 (Fifty-One Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty Rupees), C$3,750.00 (Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Canadian Dollars), A$740.00 (Seven Hundred and Forty Dollars), ¥74,754.00 (Seventy-Four Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Four Yen), R35,000.00 (Thirty-Five Thousand Rand), 42,390.00 UAE Dirhams (Forty-Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Dirhams), 247.00 Riyals (Two Hundred and Forty-Seven Riyals), and 21,580,867.631 Crypto Currency (Twenty-One Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Seven Crypto Currency Units, Six Hundred and Thirty-One Cents).

 The EFCC has taken several bold steps to combat corruption, including the investigation of several politically exposed persons including former ministers and governors. The agency launch a crackdown on internet fraudsters and currency racketeers, securing over 50 convictions.

The EFCC's Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the Economy is working to protect the sanctity and strength of the Naira. To prevent corruption, the EFCC has established a Fraud Risk Assessment and Control department (FRAC) to identify vulnerabilities in government agencies and launch preventive measures. 

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)on the other hand recovered over N66 billion in cash and rent on forfeited assets. Additionally, assets worth N5.882 billion were restrained and N366.97 million was forfeited through judicial processes.

During the period, there were 131 investigations that led to prosecutions and 18 convictions. Furthermore, Education and training programs were organized with 25 training sessions and 2,244 participants. Also, diverse public education and enlightenment programs lead to the implementation of public awareness initiatives.

The Nigerian Custom Service generated exceptional revenue of about 4 Trillion (₦3,991,988,348,853.32). Some of trade facilitation initiatives deployed by the customs included the implementation of the Time Release Study (TRS), the Advance Ruling system, and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program. Additionally, officers' skills and automated processes were enhanced through capacity building and technological advancements.

Through upgraded infrastructure development, the customs strengthened its operational capacity. Also, Strengthened stakeholder engagement facilitated a more integrated approach to customs operations. Overall, significant seizures of contraband goods, illegal arms and narcotics contributed to national security efforts

Nigerian immigration through implementation of the e-Border Project deployed e-Gates solutions for border governance. Additionally, the immigration service enhanced border patrol and surveillance through the launch of 30 operational vehicles. During the period, the Immigration Service completed several Infrastructure development projects such as the e-Border Data Centre. Also, the Command and Control Center for operations of API/PNR system was completed, while E-gates for passenger clearance at 5 major international airports were deployed. 

The full automation of passport processing significantly improved service delivery. Additionally, the Integration of solar power systems ensured uninterrupted operations of the service. Also, technological upgrades facilitated seamless integration with border control systems. The immigration service also conducted public sensitization and enlightenment to raised awareness about the dangers of irregular migration.

For the response Agency,  General Buba said the Nional Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Road Safety Corp are the lead agencies in providing emergency response. There activities have been effective in achieving national resilience and security. The Agency distributed food and livelihood items to farmers affected by floods and Nigerians impacted by various disasters across the 36 States and FCT under a Special National Empowerment and Livelihood Initiative (SNELEI).

The National Emergency Management Agency also stepped-up timely response in the coordination of intervention efforts in the forms of search and rescue in various disasters situations. These include fire incidents in Lagos, Adamawa, Maiduguri, explosions in Ibadan and Kano, etc.

The National Emergency Management Agency also conducted a detailed assessment of these disaster incidents in collaboration with the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and provided relief support to the affected persons. 

The National Emergency Management Agency also delivered 42,000 metric tonnes of food commodities nationwide and provided relief to communities affected by the drone incident in Kaduna State.

The Federal Road Safety Corp achieved notable reductions in road traffic crashes (RTC). The addition of patrol vehicles, ambulances, tow trucks, and motorbikes improved response capabilities. The construction of office complexes and the establishment of area and unit commands enhanced operational efficiency of the Corp. 

Additionally, the Federal Road Safety Corp during the year introduced new laws such the FRSC Training Institution Establishment Act, 2023, as well as, the Speed Limiter Pre-Fixing Regulation 2024. These have had significant impact in improving road safety measures.

Additionally, the Federal Road Safety Corp collaborate with Dangote Group in improving road infrastructure and safety measures in several areas. The Corp also recruited 3,537 personnel during the period.

In one year, robust interagency collaboration is key to the successes and achievements recorded which have ensured that security operations are comprehensive, strategic, and effective.

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