Security: Reps Speaker Calls for Collaboration of Stakeholders, CSOs, Media

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, on Tuesday, stressed the need for all stakeholders to collaborate towards security of life and property in Nigeria.

 

While stating that the 10th House is committed to providing all the legislative support needed to enhance security in the country, Speaker Abbas called for better collaborations between the legislative and the executive arms of the government as well as the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media.

 

The Speaker made the call in a keynote address at the 2024 Nigeria Defence Governance Forum Organised By the Africa Centre For Strategic Studies in Abuja on Tuesday.

 

Speaker Abbas noted that the forum added a significant voice to the ongoing national conversation on fostering dialogue and collaboration between key stakeholders in national security governance. He noted that the importance of the forum was even more obvious, considering Nigeria’s strategic importance.

 

“Security challenges have significant implications not only within our borders but also across West Africa and the broader African continent. The persistence and complexity of these issues underscore the critical need for regional and continental collaboration. Collaborative efforts are essential to address the transnational nature of terrorism, facilitate intelligence sharing, and harmonise economic and social development strategies, which can mitigate the root causes of insecurity,” he added.

 

The Speaker also stated that since the return of democracy in 1999, legislative control of the security sector in Nigeria has progressively improved.

 

He said, “Our standing committees have become more assertive in holding security sector agencies and actors to account,” adding that the scope of the activities of these committees has included monitoring the funds the government has budgeted for the sector, ensuring accountability in the use of allocated funds and personnel, and overseeing other issues such as hardware, human rights, among others.

 

He stressed the need for collaboration between the National Assembly, security and defence sector officials, and the public through the media and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as “not only desirable but also constitutionally mandated and expected.”

 

He added: “Security sector agencies should commit to open communication, regularly providing accurate and detailed reports to the National Assembly. This includes adhering to legal and ethical standards and facilitating external audits and evaluations.”

 

On their part, Speaker Abbas said CSOs and the public could bolster these efforts by maintaining active engagement with legislative processes, offering independent assessments, and voicing concerns or recommendations.

 

The Speaker further said the legislature also required the assistance of security agencies, alongside stakeholders such as the public, CSOs, development partners, and the media, to integrate constituent and citizen perspectives into defence and security strategy and policymaking.

 

By facilitating inclusive dialogues and public forums, he stated that the diverse viewpoints and community needed are communicated to lawmakers.

 

“We expect CSOs and development partners to provide expert analyses, data-driven insights, empirical evidence, and international best practices to enrich our debates and decision-making. It is also important for the media to amplify such discussions, ensuring widespread public engagement and transparency. This collaborative approach will inform legislators with a broad spectrum of opinions and experiences and help us tailor security policies and laws to reflect the actual needs and aspirations of the citizenry.”

 

Speaker Abbas also called on the media to focus on rigorous reporting and coverage of security sector activities, highlighting compliance and discrepancies in the officials’ engagements with the legislature.

 

“Through this multifaceted approach, we can ensure continuous oversight and enhance the security sector’s governance, which aligns with best practices for democratic oversight.”

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