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Defence College Inaugurates 116 Participants for Course 31

The National Defence Collage (NDC) on Tuesday inaugurated 116 participants drawn from the military and other security agencies, as well as allied countries for the commencement of its Course 31.

The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, who inaugurated the course, said there were 68 military officers from Nigeria, 27 from the Police, other security agencies and strategic MDAS.

Magashi added that 21 international participants from 20 friendly countries within and outside Africa are attending the course.

The minister also spoke on the inaugural lecture, titled, “Building a Resilient Economy in the Contemporary Security Environment: Options for Nigeria”.

He said that the theme was relevant to contemporary challenges, considering the impact of disasters, climate change and increasing conflicts and fragility across the world.

According to him, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and now the conflict in Ukraine, the past few years have been turbulent for the global economy.

Magashi said global inter-dependence had become more apparent as nations deal with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

The defence minister, particularly said that the impact of climate change on environmental and socioeconomic systems, was compounding Nigeria’s fragility risks.

He added that extreme weather patterns were aggravating challenges confronting local communities in the country.

According to Magashi, extensive cultivation and overgrazing,  compounded by desertification, have rendered large portion of land in northern Nigeria unproductive.

“Similarly, unpredictable and higher intensity rainfall is resulting in the loss of crops and displacement of communities.

“Depleting environmental resources in every part of the country pose a serious food security challenge in the face of a rapidly growing population.

“As a result, there is a growing desperation over food supply and this in turn is driving resource conflicts across the country,” he added.

Magashi therefore said government must build resilience for risks that may threaten national security, economic prosperity and societal wellbeing.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari has placed priority in building the required resilience of the country to withstand the shocks.

“The Federal Government has over time emphasised on the link between combating corruption and improvement in economic performance.

“Creating a social investment programme dedicated to reducing youth unemployment; significantly increasing power supply.

“And providing enhanced support for agricultural production with the twin objectives of reducing food import and achieving self-sufficiency in certain crops,” he said.

The defence minister also said that responding to the 21st Century risks landscape requires an integrated approach that would anticipate global shocks and emerging risks.

He added that government and individuals must seize the opportunities offered by existing and new innovations to counter the threats.

According to him, resilience building is necessary at all levels, from individuals to systemic levels.

In his remarks, the Commandant, NDC, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, said the NDC Course 31 had the theme, “Building Resilience for National Security and Development”.

Bashir said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine demonstrated how crisis affects global economy and security.

The commandant said it also pointed to the compelling need for countries to be resilient in order to absorb the accompanying shocks.

He said that absorbing such shocks would involve countries identifying policy settings and mechanisms that could be re-calibrated to enhance national resilience.

According to him, the college has in the last 30 years graduated 2,649 participants comprising 2,370 Nigerians and 276 from friendly nations.

He said the college has been providing stimulating intellectual and professional training programmes that have earned it official recognition from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“Indeed, the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies of the National Defence College Nigeria is the ECOWAS designated Centre of Excellence for strategic level Peace Support Operations training.

“In addition to the conduct of strategic level training, the college promotes research and strategic level discourse on contemporary and thematic areas of international, regional and national security.

“This is in recognition of the critical nexus between security, peace and development.

“It is in furtherance of this goal that the college holds the annual inauguration lecture where internationally acclaimed political leaders, academics and subject experts present their views and experiences on topical issues,” he said.

The Guest Lecturer, Prof. Magnus Kpakol, in a paper titled, ”Building a Resilient Economy in the Contemporary Security Environment: Options for Nigeria”, said Nigeria must be concerned about things that are toxic to the economy.

Kpakol said that while it was important to watch out for what could affect the nation from outside, it was important to understand and be careful of things that happened within economy.

He said that issues of currency devaluation and removal of fuel subsidy should be handled carefully to avoid creating more problems.

“Sometimes we don’t have instantaneous resilience for some of these kinds of problems, not to speak of dynamic resilience, which we ought to build.

“Overall, I think that Nigeria is a very well blessed country, we have over 200 million people, the sixth largest country in the world in terms of population, that means great potential for human capital stock.

“With that number of people, I think that there is nothing we cannot do as a nation to be globally competitive.

“I think we should pay more attention to our endowment, the endowment that we have in our nation from oil to minerals, and then be able to train our people to use those endowments in order to build resilience,” he said. (NAN)

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