Today, the 9th of December 2023, another set of Course Participants are passing out of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Bwari, Abuja. The successful students, comprising high level senior officers have been prepared for Command appointments in their respective services and organisations, are graduating after ten months of intensive specialized studies.
The Institute for Security Studies was conceived to address some shortcomings in the National Security Architecture. The previous design is apparently besieged by several challenges. These are what the ISS seeks to address among other things.
Some of major challenges in the security sector are leadership incompetence, discordance in relationships and working at cross-purposes. Other challenges that have bedeviled National Security in recent years are infusion of retrogressive practices that have undermined the integrity and relevance of the security process.
Other shortcomings that informed the setting up of the ISS were the undemocratic practices of virtually all security and law enforcement organizations in the country especially during the long period of military rule. The other major area of concern was human rights abuses. It is important to note that the country even with the advent of democratic rule contends with the excesses of security organizations.
The result was reactions such as the End-SARS protests. Complicity in electoral malpractices are other shortcomings. There is also the oppressive conduct of security operatives in the discharge of routine duties. Even under democracy, people are generally apprehensive about the conduct of some security operatives.
There is also the fact that some security operatives are plainly oppressive. Such agents not only oppress citizens but misconstrue their excesses as effectiveness. This attitude undermines the effectiveness of the national security agencies. Ironically, even after several years of democratic rule, some individuals in some security organisations still think that the oppressive conduct of operatives is what is required.
This is one area, the Institute for Security Studies has aggressively tackled in its lectures and reorientation regimens. In addition, inculcation of civility is another course offered at the Institute to address these weaknesses. Despite occasional incidents by some security operatives, it is observable that appreciable progress has been made by nearly all security agents in conducting themselves in consonance with democratic rule and principle of civility. The Institute for Security Studies, has without doubt, positively impacted on the conduct of these operatives in the country in the last few years. This is one of the expectations of the Institute.
The core purpose of courses in the Institute for Security Studies is producing officers in command positions that will appreciate the importance of intelligence in security management. The fact is, lack of intelligence in security work is the major deficiency of security services in the country. There is no doubt that the inability to have required intelligence value is a major handicap in all facets of security work in the country.
This is the major reason the importance of intelligence is emphasized in virtually all courses in the Institute for Security Studies. It is not surprising that participants of courses in the ISS proudly say that one of their major achievements is their being exposed to intelligence techniques and applications. All security organizations in the country testify that their exposure to intelligence techniques at the Institute has positively impacted the performance of nearly all participants.
The other importance of the ISS is support and consolidation of the country’s nascent democracy. As many security practitioners would testify, the important role of the Institute in the national security process is grooming personnel that could aid their principals.
The fact is just like in other climes, the nation faces a lot of security challenges. It is the responsibility of security agencies and other organizations charged with the responsibility of protecting citizens to collect needed intelligence to neutralize all forms of threats. The Institute for Security Studies closely works with all security and related agencies to sharpen their skills to collate and take action on all information about threats to National Security.
All security agencies and organisations that have responsibilities to protect the sovereignty of the nation are beneficiaries of the Institute’s responsible expertise. This is the reason why no country can be secure without strong security organisations. As a matter of fact, management in all sectors of the polity could be enhanced with required intelligence.
The other important course of study for course participants at the Institute of Security Studies are visits to other countries. Trainees visit some countries to share in their experiences. This has positively impacted on nearly all course participants.
The exposures to the experiences of other countries and practices have helped course participants competently address some local problems.
The other quality of the Institute is how it has inculcated in participants qualities of reliability and dependability. Consumers of the Course will testify that the products of the Institute are indispensable.
The fact is no organisation will fully succeed without input from the security services. The role of security organizations are sharpened by what they learnt at the Institute. The performance of all organizations with participants in the Institute is enhanced by their knowledge and techniques
acquired from the Course.
In order to have a comprehensive and holistic view of issues, the Institute also examines topical issues that have bearings on National Security. Some of the major challenges that have been studied in the Institute include regional and global issues as well as topical issues that have implications to national security. As earlier indicated, this approach makes products of the Institute knowledgeable in national, sub-regional and global issues.
Equally important to course participants at the Institute is imbibing principles of leadership. Course participants at all times reveal that some of the important lessons they have learnt include being frank and speaking truth to their principals. These principles stand out amongst qualities among participants of the Institute.
The exhibition of unflinching loyalty to their principals and systems are other qualities that course participants imbibe as rewarding benefits of attending the Institute. The management of the Institute recognizes this as a major contribution to enhancing capacity and loyalty. These are few of the benefits of attending courses in the Institute.
The outgoing course participants will recognise the contributions of the Institute in producing critical human assets that are important in solidifying the country’s democracy and stability.
The Institute wishes the successful set of 2923 Course Participants the best in all their future endeavours.
A. A. Gadzama OFR, MNI is the Chairman of the Board of the ISS and former DG of the DSS