BY LT-GENERAL TUKUR YUSUF BURATAI
The dictionary meaning of ‘Peace’ is freedom from disturbance; tranquility. Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or heterogeneous (relatively foreign or distinct) groups. Peace is important in our daily social interactions because all of life is interconnected, our fear, hatred and anger decrease the peace in the world, whereas our love, joy and gratitude increase the peace. Why is peace important? Without it, the destructive tendencies of our species will continue to inch us closer to catastrophe (https://en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › Peace: July 2010).
Peace actually, is the antidote for stress and anxiety. Making the mind quiet and calm, prevents anxieties, worries, stress and fears, and awakens inner strength and confidence. Peace of mind is an inner condition and is independent of external conditions and circumstances.
There are several methods of Promoting Peace among Our Neighbors. These include among others ‘becoming more familiar with our communities, planning a peaceful event like the one you are doing now, exploring volunteer opportunities, making sure we have current contact information for our neighbors and attending and participating in community events’ like the one you are doing now. Note that several elements are useful in defining peace. On an individual level, peace may start with having calmness within oneself. Expanding outward, peace entails agreement and harmony among people. At its largest scale, peace is to live without violent conflict or war. In our country historically, we have experienced situations that have threatened our corporate existence as a nation. These situations may have been generated for internal or external gains, including individual, community, ethnic, religious as well as foreign among others.
Since assumption of office in 2015, I have in collaboration with sister security agencies to come up with several peace building initiatives. These include among others directing relevant department of the Nigerian Army in the formulation of several policies. Notable policies articulated in recent times include:
- Standing Operating Procedure and Regulations for Retired/Discharged Personnel Re-engaged by the NA.
- NA Policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual exploitation and Abuse for Internal and External Operations.
- Policy on Issue and Handling of Personal Weapon and Service Pistol to Officers and Orderlies.
Overview of Nigerian Army-Civil-Military Affairs
Army Headquarters Department of Civil – Military Affairs (AHQ DCMA) was established on 6 December 2010 to primarily serve as an interface between the NA and civil populace. Thus, the efforts of the Department have been geared towards promoting the image of the NA through effective partnership and collaboration with relevant stakeholders like we are doing now. Consequently, the Department has gained recognition amongst stakeholders by gradually correcting the negative perception of the NA (which is your army) with the objective of gaining public confidence and trust.
Just between 30–31 October, 2019, I directed the Department to organize a “Civil Media Military Relation Summit which was held at Headquarters, 82 Division Auditorium for the South East Zone with the theme: ‘Galvanising Citizens’ Support For Military Operations In Nigeria through The Media’ The summit was a prelude to the flagging off of EX ATILOGWU UDO I. The event was attended by my representation and Chief of Training and Operation Major General EO Udoh, the Ag. GOC 82 Division, Brigadier General Lasisi Adejare Adegboye, the Executive Gov of Enugu State, HE Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by the SSG, Prof Simeon Ortuanya, Elder statesmen such as Pete Edochie and Chika Okpala (the popular Zebrudia of Village
Headmaster), senior officers of the Military and Para-military Agencies, traditional rulers, clergymen, members of the press and other invited guests. During the event, a paper entitled, ‘The Military, Media, Peace and National Development: EX ATILOGWU UDO I in Perspective’ was presented by Dr Ifeanyi Didiugwu. The interactive session of the event received positive inputs from the participants. My representative during the event on my behalf urged media operatives to be positive and objective in their reportage about the NA as their reports help to shape public opinion.
The objectives of AHQ DCMA include but not limited to the followings:
- To introduce and transmit the core elements of effective civil military relations in the areas of interpersonal and organizational bonding, rule of law, accountability, communication, liaison, negotiation and conflict management.
- To enhance the value and integrity of the Nigerian Army as an agent protector and defender of the community and national interest through proactive CMR education and interaction.
- Liaison with Government authorities and local leaders within operational environment.
- Liaison with local civilian populace such as refugees or internally displaced persons.
- Coordinate all activities of actors in conflict environment, especially civil organizations.
- Acts as an interface between the multiple civilian population and organizations and the mission commanders by conducting both inter-organizational and inter-agency coordination in order to facilitate the achievement of the commander’s mission.
Overview Of Ongoing Operations
The security situation in the country has been relatively satisfactory inspite of some security challenges bedeviling the nation. The current security challenges facing the Nation include BHT attacks in the NE, and threats posed by the activities of bandits and Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) among others. In order to mitigate these threats, existing operations led by the NA and supported by NN, NAF and other security agencies are constantly being rejigged to effectively respond to the ever-changing nature of the identified threats. These operations are Op LAFIYA DOLE in Borno and parts of Yobe States, Op HADARIN DAJI to tackle the threats to security in the North West region of Nigeria. Others are Op HARBIN KUNAMA III, Op MESA is the generic codename for all IS Operations the NA is involved and Op SAFE CONDUCT which are conducted at different occasions and parts of the country. This would be discussed subsequently.
Security could be seen as the state of being free from danger or threat. Expanding the discourse, security means safety, as well as the measures taken to be safe or protected. Often this word is used in compounds such as a security measure, security check or security guard.
There are three types of Security Controls which are Preventative, Detective, and Responsive. Controls (such as documented processes) and countermeasures (such as firewalls) must be implemented as one or more of these previous types, or the controls are not there for the purposes of security. Meanwhile, protecting important data, confidential information, networks, software, equipment, facilities, company’s assets, and personnel is what physical security is about. There are two factors by which the security can be affected. Though, physical security is very important, it is usually overlooked by most organizations and institutions.
In today’s time, having a good background in security education and security training is important. During security training, the participants like you all here present gain a skill or a set of skills specific to a particular job. Security guards that lack information can expose valuable data in your community, state nation, company or business. Despite the good intentioned efforts by authorities without peace and security sustainable development would be a mirage.
Sustainable development is a noun which refers to economic development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources. Thus, it is advocated that international policies should support sustainable development. The most frequently quoted definition of sustainability is from ‘Our Common Future’, also known as the ‘Brundtland Report’, which says: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social needs. These three pillars are informally referred to as the people, planet and profits.
It is believed that, ‘Sustainable Development’ can be achieved by ‘Ending Hunger’, achieve ‘Food Security’, improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. The current administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari since taking over power in 2015, has focused on diversification of the nation’s economy through the promotion of agricultural activities among others. Though, there are clogs in the wheel of progress, with increased peaceful and secure environment created by your army in conjunction with other security agencies, we would continue to create the enabling environment for this desired national end state of economic diversification and sustainable development. Other ways of sustainable development is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It is also to ensure the sustainable consumption and production patterns as well as take proactive actions to combat climate change and its impacts.
Nexus Between Peace, Security And Sustainable Development
From the discussion above on peace and security, it has become glaring that for a nation to achieve sustainable development for the benefit of mankind at community, state, national and international levels, there must be as a matter of fact existence of ‘Peace and Security’. This is because as earlier highlighted without peace and security it would have been difficult to ‘End Hunger’, achieve ‘Food Security’, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. If not for the NA in conjunction with other security agencies sustained by you the Taxpayer, recent events of security threats would have brought the nation to her knees. Thus, sustainable development would have been a mirage. These security threats include, among others, banditry, terrorism, different manifestations of clashes, divisional tendencies through religious and ethnic cleavages and promoted through the social media and several other contemporary security challenges. Therefore, there exists a nexus between ‘Peace and Security, as Panacea for Sustainable Development’ in Nigeria and the world at large.
In the past one hour or thereabout, I have tried to bring to our notice and possible understanding the importance of “Peace and Security as a Panacea for Sustainable Development”. I also attempted to explore the meanings of “Peace, Security and Sustainable Development” with a view to bring us on the same page. It is my belief that if the members of the communities, states and nation and well as the international community come to this common understanding, our world would be a better place to live in.
I most sincerely thank you for the honour of inviting me to speak at this very important forum of ‘Vision Africa Radio 104.1 FM” being organized in collaboration with your US partners as a ‘Guest Speaker at the 6th Vision Africa Personality Award/Icons Music Reality Show, 2019’ to speak on the theme of the event which is ‘Peace and Security, Panacea for Sustainable Development’.
Thank you for you rapt attention.
Being an abridged text of lecture delivered by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Buratai, at the ‘6th Vision African Personality Award/Icons Music Reality Show that took place recently in Umuahia, Abia State. The COAS was represented by Col EJ Cleopas of the 82 Military Intelligence Brigade, Enugu