Interview with Commandant of the Intelligence School of Nigeria, Commodore Abdul Qader

How to pass on ideas of national security in a country of 160 million people

 An interview with the Commandant of the Intelligence School in Nigeria, Commodore Abdul Qader 

By Ephraim Lapid, Brigadier General (Res.)

The Intelligence Schoolin Nigeria, a militaryinstitution, is the country'shighest-level seniorintelligence institution. It is an integral part of theDefense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which reports directly to the Chief of Defense, the equivalent to a defense minister in Western countries. The school offers coursesand seminarsto nationalsecurity organizations: the military (Army, Navy, Air Force), the police, relevant governmentoffices(Foreign Affairs, Justice, Energy, etc.). At this institution it is fascinating to seerepresentatives ofgovernmental agencies and services (thosein uniformandthosein suits) holdingjoint discussionsand, in particular, creating a socialnetwork which helps to better coordinate performance in such a largeand complex country. We need to remember that Nigeria is the 8th most populous country in the world (about 160 million people) and covers 925,000 square kilometers, about 45 times the size of Israel. The School Commandant, Commodore Abdul Kader, points out with pride the remarkable professional ability developed in various courses and in the unique atmosphere of cooperation that exists among the students.

Nigeria's national security components

Nigeria's national security: is based on four pillars: military capability, foreign policy, society and economy.These are driven by the country's major national security goals: to defend the government and its institutions, to protect, the nation's natural resources (oil andotherminerals), to deal with domestic terror (of priority: pirates, kidnappings) and to fight against crime and corruption. Only recently was Nigeriasubjected tothreesuicide attacks carried out byglobal terrorists. As a result, Nigeria has become aplayer in the global fight against terrorism.

 Utilizing Military Retirees

Part of the school staff is comprised of army retirees. This is a result of the school's approach that experience of such professionals should be utilized for the benefit of the entire system. For example, in a national security course that took place recently, under the aegis of the Galilee Institute in Israel, the chief Nigerian official was Lt. Col. Odoma Odopia, who had retired three years ago after a long, period of career service. In Nigeria, military service is not mandatory, and the military system relies on professional personnel. There is, however, a form of National Service that is mandatory for 21 year-old university graduates. Those who serve in this service are stationed at various civilian and military units for one year.

 Abdul Kader (50), a Muslim who has visited Israel, has a very high esteem for the Israeli intelligence community. Another country which, he believes, is suitable for lesson learning and implementation is Brazil, which faces similar challenges. Because today's wars are asymmetric and global terrorism is so relevant to almost every country, it is even more important to utilize civilian agencies of national security (like the Police, Customs, the Foreign Office) and maintain international cooperation in the battle against terrorism. Just to illustrate how complicated matters are: Nigeria shares its borders with seven other countries in the Gulf of Guinea, all of which have to protect a vital and central area of oil distribution upon which the entire world depends.

 The Military-Media Relationship in Light of National Security

The school hopes to incorporate journalists into the student body of its regular courses,in order to strengthen the military system's relationship with the media. Nigerian people expect the media to express a deep understanding and sympathy with the country's values, and to be very considerate in its coverage, ideas which may sound remote to Israeli or other foreign ears. The military's relationship with the media also enables the conduct of Information Operations in support of various national needs. The media also have an important role in determining the population's morale.

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