In furtherance to the resolve of his administration to address evolving security challenges in the country, especially terrorism and violent extremism, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the new Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC), on Tuesday 21 March, 2023, in Abuja.
The construction of the two state-of the art facilities was in addition to the giant stride achieved in strengthening the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022 (TPPA 2022), which provided for the establishment of the National Counter Terrorism Centre as the coordinating body for countering terrorism and terrorism financing in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, the President said it would serve as a major legacy to provide the incoming administration with infrastructure to effectively coordinate national security and counterterrorism efforts.
The President used the occasion to outline significant milestones achieved by his administration on National Security, including gains in combating terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, separatist tendencies, crude oil theft, piracy, militancy in parts of the country, as well as cyber-security.
President Buhari, who congratulated the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retired) and his team for this noble achievement, also lauded key security policy documents which were either produced or revised by this administration and supervised by ONSA including the National Counterterrorism Strategy 2016, National Security Strategy 2019, National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy 2021 and the National Crisis Management Doctrine 2022.
Earlier, The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno noted that the changing nature of the security landscape over the last three decades in the country and across the world has necessitated the broadening of ONSA’s mandate to accommodate the needs of emerging security threats.
The NSA said, while ONSA’s core mandate was to assess the security concerns of the country and advise the President on all matters bordering on national security, the dynamic nature of global and domestic security environments has necessitated the modification and expansion of some of the functions of ONSA.
“The new office for the National Counterterrorism Centre is designed to accommodate the additional workforce and improved technological capabilities of the Centre, particularly the Explosive Devices Analysis Office – EDAO, increasing activities of the Countering Violent Extremism – CVE Department and the Joint Terrorism Analysis Branch,” Monguno said.
Monguno added that the facilities would further enhance Nigeria’s already recognised contribution to global counterterrorism policy and practice efforts and give impetus to Nigeria’s internal, bilateral, and multilateral cooperation and collaboration in tackling the menace of terrorism and violent extremism.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his administration’s investment strategy in legacy infrastructure projects, saying the conceptualisation, design and development of the new ONSA and NCTC buildings were based on Mr. President’s vision of ensuring a robust national security enterprise for the country. The NSA also acknowledged the support of the National Assembly.
Similarly, in his goodwill message, the UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, commended President Buhari and his government for championing the NCTC, saying ”this is no doubt part of your legacy that will enable Nigeria continue to address domestic and regional security challenges.”
Schmale, who was represented by Kimaris Toogood, Peace and Advisor, Office of the Resident Coordinator (UN Nigeria), also commended the progress made by the Nigerian military to degrade the operational capacity of Islamic State West Africa Province and Boko Haram and to improve intelligence gathering on suspected terrorists.
In attendance at the commissioning ceremony were service chiefs, heads of the security and intelligence community, ministers, legislators, and representatives of bilateral and multilateral partners from the UN, AU, ECOWAS and other foreign missions.