The Director General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mr. Ekpenyong Esien Ita, has charged members of the academic community in Nigeria to work towards defining, popularizing and promoting the type of knowledge and perspective that would transform governance and security in the nation, Africa and at the global level in general.
Mr. Ita, who stated this recently while speaking during the Third Biennial International Conference organised by the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS), University of Ilorin, stated that nation building and security are too important to be left to politicians and core security experts alone. The SSS boss said that corruption, insecurity, poverty, and underdevelopment have remained endemic and widespread and continued to threaten Nigeria and Africa's democratization process.
He stressed that the sustainability of democracy on the continent depends largely on the extent to which it can deliver tangible results in respect of security, poverty reduction, and social advancement.
According to him, “People and states must be secure from the fear of violence at the local, national, and regional levels. States must be adequately protected against aggression and internal subversion and the lives of ordinary people must not be crippled by state repression, terrorism, violent conflict, or rampant criminality. He suggested that Africa must embrace reforms in all sectors especially the economic, political and security sectors, saying, security “is the super structure for the building of an enduring democracy and development”.
Mr. Ita, who was the Chairman during the conference, themed “Democratization, Development and Security in Africa: Challenges and Options”, disclosed that the return to democracy demanded the professionalization of the State Security Service to make it more effective in providing strategic intelligence and measurable contributions to national security.
He stated further that the Service had taken specific steps towards reorientation of its personnel and operations and called on the academia to contribute to the establishment of a democratic nation with institutions that promote economic development, consolidate political harmony, and avoid conflicts and violence. He noted that the academia and the broader research community are among the privileged minority that have the potential to contribute to national politics, development and security, and set agenda for democratization.
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, stated that the theme of the conference conveys the seriousness the University of Ilorin attaches to promoting peace, stability, and development in the continent and in the world at large. The Vice-Chancellor stated that the caliber of men lined-up as keynote speakers lend credence to the quality of leadership and positive future envisaged by the Centre.