By Augustine Ehikioya witb material from Sani K Usman, mni
For their outstanding roles in security, safety, governance and leadership, some Africans were last week honoured at the 17th Africa Security Watch Awards and Conference in The Gambia.
Their assessment covered the years 2020/2021.
Prominent among the Africans included Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai (retired), Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, current Nigerian Army Chief, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya and his Air Force counterpart, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao.
Also at the Conference and Awards ceremony were Chairman of the Conference Faculty of SWAI Professor Henri Fouche, the Director General of Gambia’s Immigration Department, Mr. Seedy Touré, who was also an Award winner, a senior researcher at the Faculty of Security and Management Studies, North-West University, South Africa, Dr. Barend Prinsloo, among other distinguished personalities across the African continent.
The twin event at the Sir Dawda Jawara International Conference Centre, Banjul, The Gambia, between 9th and 11th November, 2022 offered opportunity for discussions on current issues that were important to Africa.
At the conference themed “Post-COVID-19: Sustaining Security in Africa,” Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai (retired), spoke on “Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency Fight in Africa: Causes, Challenges, and Deterrence.”
The Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu, spoke on “Countering Piracy in African Waters: The Nigerian Navy’s Experience.”
On his part, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, also presented a paper titled “Sustaining Security in Africa Through Good Governance: Panacea Against Insecurity,”
A seasoned maritime expert, Professor Henri Fouche, Chairman of the Conference Faculty of SWAI, presented a paper titled “Countering Crime in Africa’s Maritime Domain: Law Enforcement Intervention.”
Also at the Smiling Coast of Africa, Mr. Seedy Touré, the Director General of Gambia Immigration Department, spoke about “Effects of Migration on National Security: The Gambian Experiment,”
Dr. Barend Prinsloo, a senior researcher at the Faculty of Security and Management Studies, North-West University, South Africa, spoke about “Beyond State and Region: Counterterrorism Coordination in SADC.”
In its ten-point communiqué, the conference noted that “violent extremism and other security challenges are negatively impacting the socio-economic well-being of many parts of the continent, hence the need to tackle them holistically.
“It was also noted that a lot is being done to mitigate the myriad security challenges on the African continent in the post-COVID-19 era.”
It however, noted that the lack of a unified operational framework, uncoordinated intelligence sharing, and diplomatic issues limiting international support have dampened the effectiveness of regional collaboration in Africa.
It added “Notwithstanding, the gains could be improved upon through the establishment of a unified operational framework that encompasses intelligence, diplomatic, military, and economic lines of operation towards combating terrorist activities.
“Regional efforts to fight terrorism and insurgency could be more effective if people shared information and talked to each other in a diplomatic way.”
During the awards ceremony on November 11, 2022, military, police, and security personnel from various African countries who distinguished themselves in various spheres of their professions were presented with awards.
Similarly, some African military services were also honoured at the event.
Those honoured included Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff and Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai (retired), who was given the African Security and Leadership Award,
His Excellency, Udom Emmanuel, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, and his state, which got Nigeria’s Best Security and Safest State Award and Best Governor of West Africa, respectively.
The Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo Zubairu CFR, got Africa’s Most Outstanding Chief of Naval Staff’s Award, while the Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya CFR, got Africa’s Most Outstanding Army Chief Award, and their Air Force counterpart, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao CFR, was honoured with the Most Outstanding Chief of the Air Staff in Africa’s Award, while Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba CFR, was given the Golden Star Award for Exemplary National Police Service in Africa.
The Director General of Gambia Department of Immigration, Mr. Seedy Touré, also got Africa’s Golden Star Award for Exemplary Service in West Africa.
Ghana’s Inspector General of Police, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, was given the Most Innovative Police Chief in West and Central Africa Award; and Gambia’s Inspector General of Police, Abdoulie Sanyang, got the Golden Star Award for Outstanding Police Service in West Africa.
Major General Victor Okwudili Ezegwu, Commander of the Infantry Corps of the Nigerian Army, was equally honoured with an award for courage, commitment, and patriotism.
Other awardees include the Force Commander of the MNJTF, Major General Abdul Khalifa Ibrahim, Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Gwabin Musa, as well as the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, Major General Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, and Major General Waidi Shaibu, General Officer Commanding 7 Division Nigerian Army.
Similarly, the Directorate of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, was presented with the SWAI Golden Award for Security Information Management in West and Central Africa, while Assistant Inspector General of Police, Eboka Friday.
Brigadier General Lar, and Commissioners of Police Abiodun Sylvester Alabi and Kolo Yusuf were honoured with different categories of awards for a variety of outstanding achievements and contributions to peace and security.
The Commissioners of Police, Idowu Owohunwa and Ari Muhammed Ali of the Nigeria Police Force, were equally honoured.
Other recipients of awards include Chief Superintendent of Police Elizabeth Oluwatoyin Opadola, who was given the “Best Divisional Police Officer in West and Central Africa Award”, CSP Julian Wealth Igbudu for “Use of Technology in Security”, amongst others. In addition, a former Minister of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the late Engineer Bunu Sheriff, was posthumously honoured with an award.