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.