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National Security: Interior minister seeks military, paramilitary cooperation

The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has reiterated the imperative of fostering closer collaboration between the military and paramilitary forces to bolster national security efforts.

The Minister said this on Thursday while receiving the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.

The Minister while expressing gratitude for the ongoing support from the Armed Forces, emphasized the pivotal role played by military personnel in assisting agencies under his Ministry during various operations.

He also stressed the need to bridge existing gaps between the military and the Ministry, advocating seamless intelligence sharing and resource allocation to effectively counter emerging threats.

Highlighting key areas of collaboration, the Minister emphasized the importance of training initiatives, particularly for personnel of the Nigeria immigration Service (NIS) stationed at border checkpoints, and officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) tasked with safeguarding the nation’s forest.

He, however, advocated for a memorandum of understanding to facilitate coordination and operational assistance between agencies under the Ministry and the Nigerian military.

He said: “There are numerous responsibilities that I believe the nitty-gritty can be worked out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our agencies and the Nigerian military, encompassing equipment, training (which entails know-how), and other operational assistance.

“I want it to be your legacy, my legacy, and above all, the legacy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that the military and the Nigeria Immigration Service were able to synergize and protect our border in such a way that any internal threat can be contained internally.”

General Musa commended the Minister for his proactive initiatives that have contributed to the Ministry’s progress since assuming office.

He reaffirmed the Armed Forces’ commitment to supporting the Ministry in its mandate to enhance internal security, stressing the importance of unity between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior in addressing contemporary security challenges.

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He said: “I want to assure you that the armed forces is fully with you. The Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Interior are one and the same.

“Those days, the Defence came in because we were fighting conventional warfares, mostly country to country, but now, the fight is within. We are fighting unknown actors -people you don’t know about. That makes it very critical. And, that’s why I want to assure you that we are going to collaborate with you,” he said.

Key government officials, including the Permanent Secretary, Directors, and Chief Executives of various security agencies, were in attendance.

The session also paid tribute to soldiers who recently sacrificed their lives while on a peacekeeping mission in Delta State.

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