Early warning and response mechanism as a panacea for emerging security threats – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

Almost every part of the country is embroiled in one crisis or another. TOPE SUNDAY writes about the activities of the National Center for Early Warning and Response Mechanism in Nigeria and its determination to address security challenges across the country.

From east to west, south to north, Nigeria grapples with security challenges on all fronts caused by various factors. At present, civil unrest is rife in most towns and villages across the country where these towns have been negatively affected. In most cases, the activities of these insurgents have caused a high level of tension among the citizens to the point that each is suspicious of the other.

Despite various government efforts, the threat appears to be persistent because, according to the investigation, the root causes have not yet been clearly identified and addressed. This explains why the threat of Boko Haram and other security threats have persisted for so long.

To prevent the plethora of internal security problems in the country, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in collaboration with the federal government, created the National Alert and Response Mechanism Center. early in Nigeria, headquartered in Abuja.

His role

According to the ECOWAS Commission, the center aims to be a community instrument of solidarity, essential for the prevention, management and resolution of the conflicts that afflict the West African sub-region.

It is also a result of the strategic framework for the establishment of national early warning and response mechanisms adopted by the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS at the 45th Ordinary Session held in Accra, Ghana, July 14, 2014.

The major objective of the national coordination center of the early warning mechanism is to strengthen the ECOWAS strategy for information sharing among member states in order to prevent or minimize threats.

The role of the center, further specifies the commission, is to warn the government of threats to human security, to propose appropriate actions, to coordinate and to ensure the follow-up of the implementation of the response to the alert, to optimize the collection of information, to analyze the quality through a participatory approach involving all the actors and stakeholders.

Why was it designed?

According to an ECOWAS document obtained by Blueprint, the idea of ​​the center is to tackle insecurity in Nigeria and other ECOWAS member states vulnerable to risks associated with emerging threats.

In a recent interview with Blueprint in Abuja, Ms. Ayowale Salvador, Chief of Staff of the National Center for Early Warning and Response Mechanism in Nigeria, said that the center was established to respond and from the start to disasters, to conflicts, life issues and human rights. .

“Some African ECOWAS countries have already set up their centers. We are just trying to start the Nigerian office here in Abuja. We tour the 36 states. We will ensure that the Abuja office is properly set up to be able to reach all other states.

“We will cover human trafficking, earthquakes and, in general, things that happen in the environment like insecurity. Additionally, we will deal with conflicts in local government areas and things that can escalate into a major challenge.

“We will also work on the floods; before the rainy season we would have gone through the whole report, we need to know the areas that will be affected and find out how to minimize it. The flood is a natural disaster and you can’t say you want to stop it completely. We don’t want the consequences of the flood to be bad. Meanwhile, we will promptly warn the government and affected people that they should be evacuated while the government should build drainage for communities that do not have them.

“We will talk about accidents, human trafficking, human rights and domestic violence. In short, this center is for the prevention and management of disasters, ”she said.

Also speaking, the centre’s director general, Dr Oluwafemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, said the center was designed to effect the paradigm shift from disaster response to more preventive measures.

He said: “This center will bring about a paradigm shift from a response to more prevention. It is published for intensive research, to prevent a lot of things and to alert between emergency and intervention.

“The bottom line here is that we want to reduce the vulnerability of our people to disasters; we want to improve their resilience to disasters; we want to reduce the mortality, the morbidity, the deaths that are associated with disasters. Everything that threatens human security, this center wants to nip in the bud.

How to get there

Although the center, which reports to the office of the vice-president, has not yet been fully inaugurated in Nigeria, it has nevertheless started substantive work in his office located in Asokoro, one of the upscale neighborhoods of Abuja.

While describing the operational system of the center, Oke-Osayintolu said: “This center in one way or another is set up by the ECOWAS Commission because in December 2014, all heads of state of states ECOWAS members adopted the establishment of the early warning system. and response mechanism center. This is because some of the member states have experienced deadly problems which have been devastating for their states.

“Should we be talking about the Boko Haram insurgency? Should we talk about Ebola, human trafficking or climate challenges? So with these, they decided that there had to be an agency that would nip all these things in the bud. And they try to collaborate with the existing agencies in each Member State to be able to respond effectively to emergencies.

“With that, we have 777 field agents in the Member States. In Nigeria we have seven officers and our plan is that each in each unit we have an early warning mechanism department.

“In each local government, we have an early warning mechanism department. We are going to carry out a risk mapping, a resource risk mapping, vulnerability analyzes that will allow us to know what each local authority must be regulated with. With this, we will proceed to build the capacities of local governments that are vulnerable.

“With this, we will conduct empirical research, share information between stakeholders and ensure effective and efficient collaborations between key agencies involved in certain challenges.

“In addition to collecting information, we will process and share it and also know what is happening in other Member States. There is no clear geographic demarcation between Ghana and Nigeria and this is what we saw when Ebola erupted in Liberia and spread to Nigeria.

“If the disaster is not handled properly, it will affect our economy. You will also agree with me that the money we spend to manage disasters goes far beyond putting in place a structure to prevent disasters.

Undoubtedly, this initiative would not have come at a better time, given the plethora of security concerns that are ravaging West Africa from time to time. Analysts are of the opinion that this project must be implemented effectively to ensure that the sub-region is spared from the bloody skirmishes which are rapidly dotting the country.

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