In a decisive move to address the security challenges facing Nigeria and bolster regional and international security, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on Wednesday 7 February, 2024 convened a second UK-Nigeria Security Defence Partnership Dialogue in Abuja.
The National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (Left) receiving a Souvenir from the UK Deputy National National Security Adviser, Dame Sarah Macintosh at the event
In his opening speech, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, said the event marked another significant milestone in the enduring partnership between the two nations, united in our unwavering commitment to regional, continental and global security, stability, and peace.
Ribadu said the longstanding ties between the United Kingdom and Nigeria are grounded in our shared values, mutual respect, and a common aspiration for a safer and more prosperous world.
He said the dialogue serves as a pivotal platform for frank and constructive discussions on a wide array of contemporary security challenges confronting our nations and the international community at large.
According to him, in an increasingly complex and interconnected world, the importance of robust multilateral cooperation and information sharing cannot be overstated.
“It is through forums such as this that we reaffirm our collective resolve to confront emerging threats, adapt to evolving security dynamics, and uphold the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
“The first edition was held in London from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2022.
“During the Dialogue, several commitments were made which centred on ways of strengthening collaboration in the areas of defence cooperation, countering terrorism, violent extremism, organised crime and illicit financial flows as well as enhancing maritime security among others.
“Therefore, it is pertinent to assess the level of implementation of the commitments made by both countries.
“It is also vital to review the commitments made in order to identify current areas of priority in line with prevailing issues and extant national objectives,” he said.
The NSA disclosed that Nigeria had made efforts to implement its own bargain of the commitments made during the inaugural Dialogue which include the establishment of the Anti-Kidnapping Fusion Centre and the integration of civil security outfit into the Fusion Cell.
He added that the country has also enacted measures to reinforce compliance to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in the conduct of security and defence related operations.
Ribadu advocated the need to adopt a holistic and forward-looking approach that leverages the full spectrum of their respective capabilities and expertise in addressing the myriads of security challenges confronting Nigeria.
According to him, it is incumbent on us to reflect critically on the evolving nature of contemporary security threats and identify innovative strategies and partnerships to effectively address them.
“Our dialogue must be guided by a shared commitment to promoting regional stability, countering violent extremism, and enhancing resilience againat emerging non-traditional security challenges confronting our nations is both diverse and formidable.
“In response, it is imperative that we adopt a holistic and forward-looking approach that leverages the full spectrum of our respective capabilities and expertise.
“Moreover, the nexus between security and development remains intrinsic to our collective efforts to foster sustainable peace and prosperity.
“It is imperative that we adopt a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses the root causes of insecurity, promotes inclusive economic growth, and empowers marginalized communities to build societies resilient to exploitation and radicalisation,” he said.
He said the dialogue also provides a unique opportunity to deepen the bilateral cooperation across a wide spectrum of security domains, including defense capacity building, intelligence sharing, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and maritime security.
He added that harnessing their respective strengths and expertise, we can enhance our collective ability to anticipate and respond effectively to emerging threats, while fostering greater trust and interoperability between our defense and security establishments
The NSA emphasised the importance of nurturing the next generation of security and defense leaders through enhanced collaboration in education, training, and professional development initiatives.
As we confront the complex challenges of the 21st Century particularly with the advent of artificial intelligence and robotics, investing in human capital and cultivating a culture of innovation and excellence are paramount to ensuring the long-term resilience and effectiveness of our security institutions.
The UK National Security Adviser, Tim Barrow, represented by his Deputy, Dame Sarah Macintosh, said the Uk operates in a relationship of mutual respect and supportiveness and share a determination to make its contributions separately and together to a better world and to peace, security, stability and prosperity at all.
He said the two countries can through this security and defence partnership and dialogue, advance those shared objectives and deepen partnership and friendship to build on their national security.
“UK is fully committed to our friendship and partnership with Nigeria and we thank you for your commitment to that partnership there too and I’m personally delighted to be part of strengthening and deepening it through this dialogue.
“As security challenges around the world grow, it has become increasingly crucial to support our allies to uphold regional and international peace.
“This week we reaffirmed our commitment to Nigeria, building on progress made since the last UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership dialogue, from tackling -terrorism and countering violent extremism to defending against cyber-attacks.
“I extend my sincere appreciation to the Government of Nigeria for their partnership and look forward to continuing to deep our cooperation across our Security and Defence Partnership,” he said.