The immediate past Vice – Chancellor of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has emphasized the need for Nigeria to invest more in research and innovation in order to ensure safety of investment, protect welfare of citizens and resources.
Ogundipe stated this on Tuesday in Ikeja, Lagos while delivering the keynote speech at the 2023 summit of the Education Writers Association of Nigeria, EWAN.
He spoke on the theme, “Research for national development: Nigeria’s internal security in focus”.
Prof. Ogundipe who is the Chairman of the Lagos State Research and Innovation Council, (LASRIC) added that research and innovation can help to create effective strategies, technologies, and policies to deal with various security issues, such as kidnappings, banditry, ethnic and religious conflicts, and cybersecurity attacks.
He also explained how insecurity affects Nigeria’s economic and social development in various ways, such as constraints on SMEs, rise in cost of doing business, negative perception by investors, displacement and refugee crises, breakdown of social structures, vulnerability of women and children, impact on transportation networks and reduced agricultural productivity.
The LASRIC chairman, also gave a brief historical overview of the various internal security issues that Nigeria has faced since colonial times, such as the Biafran War, the Niger Delta Militancy, the Boko Haram insurgency, and the Farmer-Herder Conflicts and emphasized the need for innovation and research to address these crises and improve the security situation in the nation.
Ogundipe mentioned that the comprehensive approach to addressing various security challenges relies on several key factors. These he said include thorough analysis and intelligence gathering to better understand and prevent new threats.
“Additionally, the adoption of cutting-edge technology and surveillance measures enables the monitoring and protection of critical infrastructure and public areas.
“Adequate cybersecurity measures are vital to safeguard information systems and networks against cyber-attacks. Collaboration on border security and cross-border cooperation is essential in managing and preventing transnational threats.
“Moreover, fostering collaboration and trust between security agencies and the public through community policing and public engagement ensures effective implementation of security measures.”
He also stated that addressing the root causes of conflicts and promoting stability is achieved through conflict resolution and peace building efforts. Continuous training and skill development enhance the professional growth and capacity of security personnel.
“Also, Public awareness and education initiatives aim to raise community resilience and knowledge, as well as promote peace and unity. To improve emergency response capabilities, disaster preparedness and emergency response measures are implemented, facilitating efficient coordination of emergency services.
“Finally, policy formulation and evaluation based on data and evidence play a crucial role in developing and assessing security policies.”
The Chairman of the Lagos State Research and Innovation Council concluded the speech by calling out the Federal and state government to look at the capabilities and potential found in the ecosystem of research and innovation.
In his words, “Nigeria must prioritize research and innovation in order to establish a strong internal security framework. To protect the security and welfare of the people of the country, this entails utilising state-of-the-art technologies, implementing evidence-based tactics, and constantly adjusting to new threats.
According to him, a significant portion of the nation’s internal crisis can be resolved if the government makes use of the wealth of research expertise that exists in the nation.
“In light of this, I am calling on the Federal and State governments to look at the capabilities and potential found in the ecosystem of research and innovation in order to address the diverse crises that exist throughout the nation.”
In their goodwill messages, the Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education Tolani Ali-Balogun, who was represented by Director Education Resource Centre, Akinlade Omolayo and the Chairperson, Nigeria Labour Congress, Lagos State Chapter, Funmilayo Sessi opined that security is a collective responsibility and EWAN is trailing the blaze with proactive discussions and solutions towards securing Nigeria internally.
Earlier, EWAN Chairman, Mr. Mojeed Alabi, said the summit was avenue for researchers, policy makers and academia to brainstorm on the way forward with focus on national development and internal security.
While seeking a lasting role in governance for educational institutions, researchers and journalists to achieve relatable solutions, Alabi pledged the readiness of EWAN to continually contribute to the development of Nigeria.
The summit had three sessions that looked into specific issues raised.
The first session, moderated by veteran broadcaster, Mrs Bimbo Oloyede, had representatives of the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC and the Nigeria Security Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, on the panel that discussed Ogundipe’s paper.
The second session with the theme, “Financial security and future of banking in Nigeria, what needs from researchers,” was sponsored by UBA Plc.
The third session had the theme “Food security, health safety and environmental sustainability: What nexus? Researchers’ perspectives”, had Prof. Taibat Olaitan Lawanson presenting a paper on urban and regional planning.