As Nigeria celebrates her 61st independence anniversary amid rising insecurity, the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr Yusuf Bichi, has warned that states with weak institutions are most vulnerable to transnational criminal networks that seek to subvert legitimate authorities.
This comes as the Director-General, National Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, said the intention of colonialists was for West African nations not to survive for too long before being consumed by wars and strife.
Bichi and Odaghae spoke during the 2021 Distinguished Personality Lecture at the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Abuja.
The DSS DG raised concerns over the deliberate attempts by the elite in some countries to sabotage sustainable development.
“States with weak institutions and rule of law are most vulnerable to predications by transnational criminal networks which find ready partners in elite, local businessmen, security forces and ordinary citizens.
“In parts of West Africa, the States have been captured by elite. That is, politicians, businessmen, members of the security establishment, who seek to neutralise law enforcement and enable criminal activities from which they can profit”, he said.
Bichi noted that “from the rise of extremism in the Sahel, the emergence of religious radicalism across Africa has presented growing threats”.
Meanwhile, speaking as the guest lecturer, the NIIA boss, Prof. Osaghae, urged ECOWAS Member-States to emplace good governance through accountability, probity and other mechanisms that guarantee stability.
While drawing a nexus between good governance and security, the diplomat declared that “there is a disconnect between the state and the citizens”, when trust is lost.
“The perennial crises that had their origins in the malformation of colonial constructions. We have to see how we can manage them and I dare to say that by the time we succeed in West Africa against all odds – because the odds were so stacked against us and they still are.
“We were never programmed to survive and to continue to exist. We have shown that there is creativity and more creativity. Let us use those creative energies within the context of regionalism”, he said.
The lecture was attended by participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC 14), drawn from about twenty-four agencies of government, the Gambia, Ghana, and Liberia.