Embrace technology, “The Battle has Changed”, Osinbajo tells Nigerian military elite

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo
Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday told the military elite to be on the cutting edge of technology to defeat cyber hackers and terrorists and create a better future for the citizenry.

He gave the charge in his address at the Silver Jubilee and graduation of 133 military and para-military participants of the Course 25 of the National Defence College, Abuja.

The acting president, whose message was titled: “The Battle has Changed,” noted that the nation was today facing new challenges and character in warfare, terror and all manners of insurgency.

According to him, terror groups and cyber criminals had used modern technologies to spread useless ideologies and defraud the people and the country cannot afford not to use the same strategies to respond to insurgency.

“I challenge the elite of our armed forces that if militants, terrorist groups and internet hackers are constantly re-inventing themselves taking advantage of emerging technologies, you have no reason whatsoever not to be at the cutting edge of technological warfare.

“You must consistently redefine your role in national security architecture,” he said.

The acting president reemphasised that the role of the military was as critical as ever not just in the traditional areas of terrorist threats and protecting lives and property.

He said that the military of the 21st century must realise that it had a role to play in supplying re-enforcement in the ideas that today define the world.

He noted that the military should realise that in the fight against religious extremism “it is much easier to win the war than to win the peace; it is easier to neutralise the extremists than to neutralise extremist ideologies.

“That is the critical challenge for us in the North East and the critical challenge for many countries that had to do with extremist ideologies and the insurgencies they had.

He asked that having won the physical battle against terror, how would the military position itself to win the hearts and minds of the people and win them over.

Mr. Osinbajo stated that one of the priorities of government was the comprehensive rebuilding of the North East.

He added that it was also part of the strategy to win the minds of the people by directly investing and restoring schools and hospitals and government institutions and so on.

According to him the stratagem was to send the message that government wanted to create a better life and a future for them.

“The lesson then is that in the future we must not wait until things are fallen apart before we show as a government and elite that we care for our people.’’

He said that going forward the military must prepare for the future before it unfolded and be able to anticipate and tackle embedded threats.

Mr. Osinbajo also noted the threats to electoral processes caused by fraudulent internet users and said that as Nigeria approached the 2019 elections those were the kinds of threats the nation would contend with.

He said that even in daily lives the people had to contend with fake news adding that a website operated from Ukraine had swayed the minds of the Nigerian youth even as it was neither based in Nigeria nor owned by a Nigerian.

Mr. Osinbajo said he was delighted to be at the graduation of the training institution for the high-ranking members of the military.

He described the graduating set as a special one having presented to him a priceless research paper on fighting terrorism and national security.

He said it was gratifying to note that the course played host to Nigerian and foreign nationals which showed the spirit of collaboration among nations.

He told the graduands that having achieved the academic feat they must explore further professional horizon.

He noted that it was better to learn from history in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

He noted that the armed forces represented a crucial component of the country’s intellectual population.

The acting president called on the Nigerian military to provide a strategic plan for the country to enter a post-oil era due to the dwindling oil revenue and the deadlines placed by developing countries to stop use of petrol vehicles.

“The future calls for our revisiting our dependence on oil,’’ he stated adding that it informed the diversification programme being midwifed by the President Buhari administration.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the acting President presented certificates and conferred fellowships to the 133 graduates.

Course 25 of the NDC was inaugurated on September 2, 2016 with participants from 15 military and para-military formations in the country as well as 10 nationals from Ghana, Mali, Zimbabwe, Cameroun, DR Congo, India, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Brazil and Tanzania.

By the 2017 ceremony, the college had graduated 2,134 professionals, among them 190 foreigners.

The event was also used to launch the college’s anniversary brooch and journal.

(NAN)


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  • thusspokez

    Readers, do pardon me for this shameful ego-massaging — as OBJ often do –, but something which I don’t often indulge in: Anyway, back in 2001, on a famous western Technology website, I had made a case for a new branch of nations’ armed forces. It was to be called ‘Cyber army’ and its weapons of choice will be the computer and software. Today, many western countries are heeding to my suggestion, but still not fully.

    Dear Mr. Acting President.

    Here is a chance to create a legacy for yourself by being the first (if not in the world then) in Africa to create this new branch of the armed forces. The next world war will be 50% cyber warfare and 50% conventional. In subsequent wars, the percentage of Cyber warfare will continue to rise. And as drones become more and more sophisticated, fewer and fewer human soldiers will be involved in wars.

    Mr President, the Nigerian Senate recently passed the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill. But Nigeria already has enough law enforcement institutions and organisations. What Nigeria is lacking and therefore existentially needs is a Cyber army which could be funded with the money that would be earmarked for this so-called Nigeria Peace Corps should it come to fruition.

    Entry into this new Cyber army must be very strict and only for people with university degrees in science-related subjects. Of course, exception would be made for technology nerds and training must be first-class. Further, given the face pace of technological innovation and upgrade, every Cyber soldier must have receive compulsory 2-months intensive technology update training programme every 12 months.

    Finally, any bill to create this Cyber army, must exempt the organisation from all anti-meritocracy constraints, e.g., no national reflecting of character imposition. It must operate purely on merit and meritocracy.

    thusspokez

  • Agidigba

    Sometime in the past, I wrote this piece to Mr. President,

    To Mr. President. TITLE: PRIORITIZING NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY

    Your Excellency,

    First, I send my condolences for the loss of innocent Nigerian citizens and Aids Workers in a recent IDP camp bombing error, I pray to God to comfort and grant the bereaved families the grace to bear the irreparable losses. Furthermore, I wish your Excellency a safe and a successful trip to UK on medical retreat.

    Your Excellency, the IDP camp bombing error has underscore the need to prioritize Cybersecurity Strategy as part of the critical component of our National Security. Whether we like it or not, the increasing terrorist asymmetry attack is being diversified and thus leading to the securitization of the global agenda. Consequently, International security policies and global economic dialogue have finally shifted towards Cybersecurity.

    I must commend your administration for inaugurating the establishment of Cybercrime Advisory Council in line with the provision of Cybercrime Act Prevention and Prohibition Act 2015. However, your administration needs to do more by acting swiftly, implementing comprehensive national cybersecurity program in line with National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2015.

    Cybercrime is perverse and a critical threat to our nascent democracy, national security and economy. Proactive preventive measures are better implemented and coordinated now than to respond to sudden large scale cyberattacks with near zero capability.

    For instance, Nigeria is a special country of interest in a matter relating to growing economy and strengthening democratic institutions in Africa, and addressing cyber threat and protection of Critical National Economic and Information Infrastructure. Our country has a largest growing economic and active presence on the Internet in Africa. The current global trade policies such as Trans Pacific Partnership has redefined international trade around cybersecurity, data protection and cross boarder digital data flow which will have unprecedented trade impact on our ability to negotiate a fair trade deal with other countries in the world. The real trade war is commencing and we must act now before it is too late.

    Secondly, it is notable that huge transnational economic activities, including critical information infrastructure are at high risk without proportionate cybersecurity measures. More so, it is a known fact that if Nigeria is under cyberattack, it would affect other nation’s interest directly or indirectly.

    Thirdly, implementing a comprehensive national cybersecurity program will create massive jobs and will help fast track innovative growth and the diversification of our economy. A digitally vulnerable economy create opportunity for a strategic intervention. Learning from UK approach, we can become cybersecurity exporting nation by identifying gaps, re-negotiating our regional trade deal, empowering our institutions, promoting and engaging our young professionals. A gap analysis obtain from conducting National Cybersecurity Assessment alone can create direct 2000 jobs with multiplier effect on the labour market. We have what it take to achieve it.

    Your Excellency, I would be engaging you more along this line of intervention on National Cybersecurity Porgram when you return back to the country. My finest regards!