African Security Blog

Temi's Personal Blog on African Diaspora Security Issues


Providing strategic commentary on security issues impacting on Africans in the Diaspora and the Africa Continent.

Temitope Olodo is an author and strategic analyst on African Diaspora security issues and an expert is strategic stakeholder Engagement...

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Nigeria Insecurity Challenges - The ABC of Security Management

Posted by Temitope Olodo on December 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

It is interesting to watch and read that Nigeria legislatures are getting worried about insecurity in the country especially when it is becoming clearer that Boko Haram and other copycat violent extremists could overrun their premises anytime.

 

For security analysts and people with the security know-how, it is clear that any government structure could be penetrated with little effort and security operatives easily frustrated through applications of simple things but I will not go into that now

 

I just want to ask some few security questions to buttress my point:

 

- Have legislators participated in security drills in their so-called legislative building?

 

- Are they aware of security measures to take during serious security breach?

 

- How often in the security plan of the legislative building updated?

 

- Are legislators aware of first and second assembly points including what to do in the likelihood of a terrorist attack that includes chemical attack?

 

- Does the legislative building have a business continuity plan and standby building to operate from if their current building is destroyed in an attack?

 

Every government infrastructure should have a risk register which is reviewed and updated regularly. Security in government establishments should be tighten based on intelligent gathering and tension monitoring system also called early warning system collated by security analyst and transmitted regularly (do we have one in Nigeria - laughing)

 

So, if the legislatures do their security oversight job properly and invite security experts to brief them on what to look out for or how to view Nigeria security infrastructure then they will be able manage it well

 

The current approach to security oversight and questioning by legislators is not good enough. The legislators invite security operatives for closed door meetings (understandable) and nothing is changing and I get frustrated when I have to lecture grown ups on how to do things properly.

 

Two examples of best practices for our legislators -

 

- On the issue of Boko Haram, the USA legislators held a session and invited people from Nigeria. Why can't Nigeria legislators invite experts from abroad and Nigeria diaspora experts to give them fresh outlook

 

- On the issue of gun and knife crime in the UK, the British Parliament invited New York Police Chief to share with them how he addressed the problem. Why can't Nigeria legislators invite US, Israel or UK Police Chief to share with them some methodologies

 

The 'we are on top of it' statement is not working...

 

Maybe, the 'security cost' allocated to legislatures can help shield them from insecurity.....history will tell!

Introduction to FOI - Educating the uneducated

Posted by Temitope Olodo on December 27, 2012 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Having read the analysis provided, I thought it would be helpful if i explain the basic FOI principle because there is a misundetstanding of the whole process?

 

My understanding of FOI stems from over 9 years of designing, managing and implementing FOI Strategy in government departments in the United Kingdom and I am also the author of FOI book entitled "Freedom of Information Act 2011 - A Practical Guide For Nigerians". So I have read and studied the practicability of the Act.

 

There are three simple questions I will answer and I will provide reasonable explanations after...

 

Can a citizen demand information about the State finance from the governor? Yes

 

Can a citizen demand information about meetings? Yes

 

In an ideal situation, the citizen should be directing information about finances to the appropriate finance department but there is nothing in the FOI Act 2011 that discourage demanding that information from the Governor because the Act actually accommodate that situation

 

In the FOI Act, if a request is received by a public body meant for another section; then the law provides procedure for handling that process

 

I believe the question that we need to ask at this point is why a citizen will prefer to send the information to the governor instead of the commissioner of finance or the finance ministry and we all know why:

 

1. Lack of Informatiom about how to obtain that data conveyed to the citizen

2. Lack of publication scheme which is a requirement under the law that all public institution should publish the list of data that the public could demand to see

 

On the issue of the govenor's meetings and getting access to these information. As a rule of thumb, minutes of meetings held by the governor should be published and I normally advise government officials not to write down or talk about what they are not comfortable to make public (laughing). However, it is important to state that not all meetings held by the governor are accessible for the following reasons:

 

1. Security meetings are exempted (State Security)

2. Meetings linked to policy formations are exempted

3. Personal meetings are exempted

 

There are other exemptions such as issues about international relations, active investigation, etc but it is sensible and better to be proactive by publishing everything if you have nothing to hide as a government

 

Doctor-Client Relationship are protected under the Act but where state funds are issued in procuring treatment; there are ways to extract information within the law if the service of an FOI Expert is employed ...

 

Contrary to the assertion of the previous writer below; the purpose of FOI is openness thus it is not unreasonable to infer that FOI is a checkmate against abuse of power by government officials and it is meant to embrass them if they get things wrong...

 

It is also important to state clearly that the Governor is not protected by immunity clause but rather right to private life; meaning that no citizen can demand to know about the personal movement of the governor or the governor health of the governor except where it is in the 'public interest' that the information is known... At this point, you need to define 'public interest' for that, I will refer you to my book (www.lulu.com)

The First Evidence of True Democracy Is Connectivity

Posted by Temitope Olodo on December 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

When I read this news extract below (Guardian Newspaper), I was a bit saddened because it further reveals some of our serious hurdles in our journey to greatness as a nation.

 

"While U.S. and Nigerian government sources say Nigeria is among those countries from where Obama has received congratulatory messages and that Obama is looking forward to calling President Jonathan by phone, Nigerian Foreign Affairs officials are also said to be bringing a hard copy of President Jonathan’s congratulatory message to Obama to Washington DC by weekend..."

 

The effectiveness of a president is revealed by the quality of the team that works with him and this is always the case from ancient times when even a king could be 10 years old but he is surrounded by wise individuals. Whilst a quality education is critical component for that role, what is more important is exposure and ability to learn quickly or transpose ideas from other sources to make the work exceptionally brilliant is essential

 

I remember vividly my encounter with Prime Minister Tony Blair when I was publisher of The Integrity Magazine at No. 10 Downing at an exclusive press conference. I asked the Prime Minister a question which he dealt with promptly; however, i was really impressed with how quickly the transcript of the press release was posted on their website - 10minutes! Nigeria, you will be lucky if the President's speech appears on their website after 72 hours - http/www.nigeriafirst.org/

 

I have the greatest respect for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR and it is impossible for him to do all the work alone, that is why he recruited all the Special Advisers etc but he needs to have proper performance indicators for all of them with SMART objectives because they are making his job of governing and connectivity with people extremely difficult. Why is the taxpayer giving The Presidency all the billions of Naria in the budget and yet he is daily losing his touch with the ordinary Nigerians.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said at a roundtable some days ago that it is only in Nigeria that politicians say one thing in their manifesto and do something completely different when elected. Our politicians need to understand that connectivity with the people is the first evidence of true democracy. During President Obama visit to Ghana he said Africa is experiencing sprinkle democracy and lacks strong institutions because public officers fail to do their jobs properly. One lesson from the Obama and Rommey election saga, is their personal connectivity with the people; they both talked passionately about the people they met and that is vital.

 

When President GEJ was to be elected, he talked about walking with bare foot and able to connect with the people and he is trying but his team needs proper exposure to guarantee is connectivity with the people.

 

Can someone advise me, how long it takes to get an official letter into a diplomat bag, on the plane and straight to Washington D.C?

 

If I am unhappy about something quite important to me and my family, I can write to Prime Minister David Cameron or email including send him a fax (http/www.number10.gov.uk/contact-us/). I have done it and I got a response!

 

It is reported that the US President, Barack Obama, personal replies to 10 letters personally and how you can contact him is available on the White House website - http/www.whitehouse.gov/contact

 

Even the president of Ghana could be contacted and you will get a response - http/www.presidency.gov.gh/ask-president and it is important to understand that connectivity with the people is essential.

 

We need a listening president but more importantly we need a president that could feel the pulse of his people

Nigeria Police Reform - Is the engagement strategy inclusive enough?

Posted by Temitope Olodo on May 6, 2012 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (1)


My confidence in Nigeria Police Force was coagulated when I read the Acting IGP Mohammed Abubakar speech to his senior officers "The Nigeria police force has fallen to its lowest level ... police duties have become commercialised and provided at the whims and caprices of the highest bidder". My hope is that the ongoing Police Reform will complement the current effort of the new IGP and provide a platform for a meaningful reform that addresses not only the infrastructural defect but review strategically the revamping of the human asset beyond mere training to include its social/moral contract with the Nigerian people and interaction with Nigerians in the Diaspora.

 

The reform panel set up by the Federal Government to harmonise the recommendations of past panels has started its work. The panel chaired by the Police Service Commission Chairman, Parry Osayande, is expected to come up with recommendations that would make the police better and the new IGP approach on security is encouraging.

However, it would be interesting to observe if the engagement strategy of the new panel will go beyond the general public hearing and presentation of papers to innovative modern consultation tools like usage of the internet since majority of Nigeria youths both home and abroad use the internet/social network forum in their daily engagement.

 

I am personally interested in Nigeria’s youth and diaspora contribution to the reform because the next generation’s perception of Nigeria Police Force is essential. Having experienced how my involvement in British Police as a volunteer changed my perception; I believe the adoption of some basic but fundamental changes will have a positive impact.

 

Therefore, I want a Nigeria Police Force that:

 

- Provides a practical community policing with community leaders contributing to how resources are use for local policing

 

- Adopt new innovate ways to recruit and attract talents into Nigeria Police Force including experience Nigeria Diaspora

 

- Introduce a meaningful social contract that engages ordinary Nigerians to know their rights within the law and for Nigeria Police to know their legal boundary.

 

This panel must prove that it listens....

Nigeria Terrorism and Community Tension Alert System

Posted by Temitope Olodo on May 5, 2012 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)



Almost all Nigeria security agencies have series of contact numbers that they have promoted to Nigeria people to call if they see or hear anything worth reporting on terrorism but there is no feedback mechanism from them to the people.


With more than four terrorist incidents recorded in Nigeria this week alone, I believe it is time to join other concern Nigerians both home and abroad to call for the establishment of a tension monitoring system in the country to enhance security management, boost trade and more importantly increase community confidence in Nigeria security agencies.


Many observers of Nigeria current insecurity would agree that Nigeria security agencies had been adversely affected by the ongoing terrorism saga and the introduction of a community tension and terrorism monitoring/alert system will increase collective responsibility on the issue of security.


Public perception of safety in Nigeria is at its lowest ever in a decade but with today’s threat environment looming on the populace – it is only best practice that a proper monitoring and alert system is introduced to eradicate the negative rumours culture.


I believe such a team should sit within Nigeria Police Force but with a structure that is inclusive of all other security and emergency services. This approach will involve having members of other security agencies having some of their officers seconded to the tension monitoring team to complement its work.


We have the skill-set in Nigeria Police Force to deliver the project but would it be implemented?

 


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