The inauguration of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) by President Muhammadu Buhari some years ago commenced the process of whaving an institution dedicated to well-informed study and research into contemporary security challenges in the country.
The setting up of the NISS was apparently in the wake of the devastating effects of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country and sundry security challenges that severally erupted in other parts of the country. Other security threats that complicated the security situation in the country were lawless herdsmen and armed bandits.
Additional security challenges that necessitated the setting up of the National Institute for Security Studies were the lack of uniformity and coordination in the activities of the security and paramilitary organizations. There were also the challenges of lack of adequate fighting material and manpower in most of the security forces. To complicate matters, the security forces were very often fighting at cross-purposes. These shortcomings contributed to the inability of the nation to promptly deal with the security challenges. These were not all, there were also the problems of bad leadership in some of the security forces. Worst still, were the problems of lack of coordination of the efforts of those involved in fighting the security challenges. Very strategic in the setting up of the National Institute for Security Studies was stopping the mayhem. The Institute was set up to ensure better coordination of all intelligence efforts. It became evident that a much more coordinated centre was required.
Without doubt, the security forces needed a better coordination and sharing of valuable intelligence among other things urgently among security forces. The National Institute for Security Studies, with time, therefore started the process of aggressively addressing the problems of lack of coordination required to deal with the security challenges facing the nation. The challenges and shortcomings addressed over the years were lack of coordination in the working of security and law enforcement agencies. The other major situation was the lack of coordination among all groups fighting security challenges facing the country, especially failure of sharing of intelligence. As a result, courses of studies at the National Institute for Security Studies, were carefully designed to promote intelligence sharing and support to the country’s nascent democracy. Participants of Courses at the Institute are similarly taught to imbibe the culture of support to the country’s nascent democracy. Imbibing democratic principles and support for each other are similarly accorded attention and importance. Fighting anti-democratic attitudes is a major course of study at the Institute.
As a leadership training institution, NISS dedicates substantial part of its resources and time to groom senior personnel aspiring to hold Command Appointments. Participants are extensively taught the principles of effective leadership in security organizations. They are groomed on how to effectively manage men and materials under their control. Of special interests is managing critical security situations. Expectedly, the major courses taught in the Institute are those designed to improve management capability and skills of participants. It is not surprising that many course participants, after attending the Institute, attest that the knowledge they acquired from the Institute have benefited them immensely. Course participants usually confess to have enormously benefited from the experiences and courses they were exposed to at the Institute. They also admit that their experiences at the Institute contribute to their being better informed and confident. Among exposures are visits to foreign countries and sister institutions in the country and abroad. These experiences have contributed immensely to courses in the Institute.
It will be recalled that the incivility and lack of respect for the rights of the citizenry were major problems of security practice in the country. In the past, the use of force to abuse the right of the citizenry was common place. Other practices and behaviour that have drawn condemnation from the citizenry apart from the excesses of security operatives is manipulation of the political process. The fact is, manipulation of electoral process in the country is done with the active connivance of security operatives. The Institute for Security Studies has studied and made strong recommendations against the manipulative conducts of security operatives. The National Institute for Security Studies since inception encourages civility and best practices by security agencies and organizations as part of modern security practice.
Security agents in all situations are enjoined to be protectors of the rights of the citizenry and safeguarding democracy instead of constituting themselves into threats. It is emphasized that intimidation and oppressive conduct by security operatives have no place in modern security practice. The contention of those behind setting up the National Institute for Security Studies is, the security forces should promote the possibility of friendly approach in crisis situation and in their relations with members of the public instead of resorting to intimidation.
The National Institute for Security Studies as part of its critical responsibility strives to encourage civility in modern security practice. The Institute encourages those in all security positions and duties, especially encouraging democracy in law enforcement, to imbibe the principles of fairness and justice. The National Institute for Security Studies notes that the country, without doubt, is fraught with behavioural tendencies and practices that could precipitate unfavourable reactions and constitute sources of conflicts. Other forms of behaviour that could precipitate violent reactions are sectional and attempts to foist ethnic supremacy. The other potential sources of violent reactions are rejections of injustice and manipulation of things which otherwise could be straightforward.
As previously observed, one of the major reasons for establishing the National Institute for Security Studies is to provide a forum where qualified senior officers aspiring to command positions could be taught basic principles of security management. Management in contemporary security should be about providing fairness and justice. This is the reason why lectures are regularly held on best management practices in security organizations and the dispensation of justice. Worst still, some management practices are retrogressive and contrary to democratic principles. It should be noted that any practice that encourages inequality and injustice is a recipe for crisis. Therefore, as noted earlier, the major courses of study in the National Institute for Security Studies incorporates demands that participants should at all times insist on fairness for civil rights and democratic principles. It is important to note that the National Institute for Security Studies is also at the forefront of inculcating in officers aspiring for command positions, exemplary conduct and respect for rights of others. Course participants attending courses in the Institution are taught to imbibe the principle of civility at all times. It is important to note that participants on courses in the Institute in the last few years are extensively lectured on the principles of contemporary security practice. Conscious efforts are made to discountenance the use of forceful conducts in security practice at all times. The conduct of security operatives is guided by the principles of respect for human rights and civility. Other principles and attitudes encouraged include accountability and responsibility.
The other principles constantly emphasized in the Institute to course participants are accountability and speaking truth to power. As observed earlier, the necessities of purging course participants of undesirable character traits are major requirements in security management and rejection of attitudes acquired from the past and unwholesome behaviour.
Those holding command appointments and leadership positions are expected to be refined and exemplary. A major requirement of courses at the National Institute for Security Studies are demonstration of exemplary leadership and conformity to global best practices in the handling of security challenges affecting nations, sub-continents and the globe. These are informed by the fact that some of the challenges are interrelated and have effects on other parts of the world. Examples of these are the threats of terrorism, proliferation of dangerous weapons and illegal human trafficking. Also, some of the security challenges found in the country are interrelated and found beyond the confines of one country. Security issues therefore require intervention of world organizations and agencies.
On the whole, the National Institute for Security Studies is a well-conceived creation planned to give the country well-grounded forum of understanding of contemporary security challenges.
A. A. GADZAMA OFR, mni is Chairman National Board of Security Studies