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Public Safety and Security Dialogue Series: Strengthening Inter-Agency Collaboration Amongst Security Agencies in Nigeria

Public Safety and Security Dialogue Series: Strengthening Inter-Agency Collaboration Amongst Security Agencies in Nigeria

THURSDAY, 24th of October, 2019

Distinguished guests, it is my pleasure on behalf of the board, management and staff of CLEEN Foundation to warmly welcome you to this very important stakeholders’ meeting tagged Public Safety and Security Dialogue. The CLEEN Foundation (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement Education) is a non-governmental organization established in January 1998 with the mission of promoting public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications, in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector.

The series of Public Safety and Security Dialogues is a reform driven idea which we have plan to hold quarterly with a view to influencing policy, legislative and operational responses to public safety and security concerns in Nigeria. The central objective of today’s Dialogue will be to critically examine the concept of interagency collaboration in practical terms and its imperative for public safety and security in Nigeria and to suggest realistic solutions to reduce inter-agency infractions through collaborative strategies.

Nigeria is increasingly experiencing diverse security challenges both in many forms and dimensions. This fast changing security landscape has seen an increase in the scale of response from a multiplicity of security and law enforcement actors aimed at addressing the security challenges in the country. This sectoral response has regrettably resulted in clashes at different times between the different security actors in recent times. From clashes between law enforcement officials to the Taraba saga and many other reports in the public space, these reports not only reveal the deep-seated contention permeating the entire fabric of the security institution but also spotlights the deplorable state of interagency collaboration among the state security institutions in Nigeria. To further complicate these issues, rather than accept responsibilities and work towards effective solutions to resolving the challenges, we have seen an upsurge in the trading of blames for such occurrence by these agencies. Distinguished guests and participants, there is a need for an urgent review of security strategies underpinning interagency collaboration among the security institutions in Nigeria.
In terms of accountability for inter-agency rivalry, much of these clashes have largely gone unaddressed with oversight agencies being one of the weakest links in the value chain of security sector accountability. Although each of the security institutions has their internal control systems, increased levels of trust and assurances are gained when external systems of accountability investigate and ensure the necessary disciplinary measures take effect as deterrence to these unsavoury actions. The need for accountability to tackle interagency rivalry is essential as public resources (financial and materials) are often deployed in such clashes. The interagency rivalry continues to rob Nigeria of the much-needed cooperation, resources, information sharing and intelligence that is needed to tackle the security challenges and gain the confidence of the public through better cooperation and synergy. Cooperation and coordination by security agencies, therefore, need to be enhanced at all levels in the society. In view of the foregoing, the imperative for moving beyond rhetoric to result in focused collaboration and strategies within the security institutions becomes obvious.
Interagency rivalry within the security agencies in Nigeria often arises as a result of perceived superiority complex as evidenced in relations between the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Nigeria Police, the Police and personnel of other law enforcement institutions, duplication of responsibilities leading to operational challenges, competition, struggle for recognition, lack of coordination especially in joint operations among others. Although the 1999 Constitution and other extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria set out the legal framework for each security agency through the mandate of the different institutions, the emerging security threats in Nigeria necessitate the need for these agencies to work collaboratively to address insecurity in the country. Interagency collaboration is the art and act of promoting active working relationship among multiple security agencies with a view to improving outcome at a reduced cost[2]. Improving collaboration also leads to better coordination at addressing the issues and better utilization of state resources devoted to security.
To this end, CLEEN Foundation recently embarked on a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police to discuss key public safety and security issues and the need for improved collaboration amongst the security agencies. As a follow-up to expand the conversation, the Foundation in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission convene this ‘Public Safety and Security Dialogue’ the first in a series to bring together key stakeholders to discuss and examine the need for fostering interagency cooperation and collaboration as essential routes to putting the country on the path to lasting peace and security. The Dialogue draws keynote speaker and panellists to provide deliberations on ‘Strengthening Inter-agency Collaboration among Security Agencies in Nigeria and other sub-themes within the interagency collaboration.
Key recommendations and actions emanating from this meeting will be developed shared across the various institutions and the media after the Dialogue. CLEEN Foundation will further engage with the security institutions through our existing partnerships to ensure the execution of such recommendations. Distinguished guests and participants, the benefits accruing to the nation through Inter-agency Collaboration among Security Agencies in Nigeria are enormous. When security institutions collaborate, they serve as catalysts for the design and implementation of strategies and policies that are timely, effective towards a reduction of operational risks associated with the duplication of duties.
In conclusion, it is our hope that this meeting will not only educate the participants in significance of Inter-agency Collaboration among Security Agencies in Nigeria but will more importantly develop practical and policy related approaches to solving Inter-agency infractions in Nigeria.

Thank you all and may God bless Nigeria.

Benson Olugbuo, PhD
Executive Director
CLEEN Foundation
Abuja, Nigeria

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