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Africa’s Spy Chiefs declare social media a security threat, exploited by subversive elements

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•Vows to measures to checkmate usage while guaranteeing citizens rights

•May not achieve agenda 2063, Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020

Senator Iroegbu

The Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) has declared some activities in the social media as a national, regional and continental security threat.

This was contained in a Final Communique issued at the end of the 16th Ordinary Session of CISSA at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Abuja on July 14-20, 2019.

In the Communique made available to journalists at the weekend, Director-Generals and Heads of Africa’s Intelligence Services noted that “despite the many benefits of social media, it is increasingly being exploited by some subversive elements and negative forces to destabilize African countries.

“Conference therefore agreed that social media represents a threat and resolved to take necessary measure to check it whilst at the same time guaranteeing the citizens’ rights to information.”

The Conference also noted with concern, the increasing security threats experienced by some African countries and resolved to support efforts by Governments to restore peace and stability in these countries.

Also read: Nigerians-emerge-as-chairperson-executive-secretary-of-africas-intelligence-services-cttee

To this end, the Conference reaffirmed its commitment to further enhance mutual confidence among members and to exchange intelligence to serve their common objectives, including the attainment of the goal of a conflict-free Africa as envisioned by African Heads of State and Government.

CISSA further took stock of the gains made since its 15th Conference in Windhoek, Namibia in contributing to the building of a “conflict-free African continent as per the African Union Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by year 2020”.

In a related development, the Conference extensively deliberated on the theme: Illicit Financial Outflows from Africa and Their Impact on National Security and Development’, noting that “a common thread that permeated throughout all the presentations was that Africa loses billions of dollars annually in Illicit Financial Outflows (IFOs), which has become a serious threat to the continent’s sustainable development, governance as well as peace and security agenda”.

The Africa’s intelligence and security Services umbrella body warned that this threat of IFOs undermines the efforts to combat terrorism and the attainment of its Agenda 2063, including its flagship project of Silencing the Guns by 2020.

The 4-day 16th CISSA Conference at the NIA Headquarters Abuja came to a close on July 20, 2019
The Director-Generals and Heads of Africa’s Intelligence Services at the 16th Ordinary Session of CISSA at the National Intelligence Agency, Abuja

Against this backdrop, CISSA in the Communique said it has examined various means by which Member Services could support national, regional and continental efforts to combat IFOs, such as tracing and recovery of the illicit funds lodged outside the continent and the proper utilisation of theses recovered assets for national development.

Also read: Buhari-tasks-africas-spy-chiefs-to-deny-terrorists-criminals-access-to-financial-systems

The Conference commended President Muhammadu Buhari for gracing the event and more importantly, underscoring the continued relevance of CISSA in the fight against transnational organised crime, terrorism and other security threats on the continent.

Buhari had during the opening session of the Conference, expressed concern that IFOs have reduced Africa’s tax revenues, undermined trade, investment opportunities and deepened poverty thereby impacting negatively on the state of human security on the continent.

Also read: 52-heads-of-african-intelligence-agencies-in-abuja-for-security-summit

At the end, the Conference commended NIA, the Nigerian government and people for excellent hosting of the event as well as reaffirmed its acceptance of the offers by Egypt and Botswana to host the 17th and 18th CISSA Conferences in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

CISSA is made up of 52 Intelligence and Security Services of the 55 African Union Member States are members of CISSA with the exception of only three including Morocco, Eritrea and Seychelles.

The 4-day 16th Ordinary CISSA Conference brought together under one roof, 52 Intelligence Chiefs of the continent; President Muhammadu Buhari who declared it open; the African Union Chairperson, the Commissioner of the AU Commission Peace and Security Committee (AUC PSC), as well as CISSA Strategic Partners (SP), Regional Mechanisms and other special guests in attendance.

This saw the emergence of Nigeria’s NIA Director-General, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, as the Chairperson of CISSA, effectively taking over from the incumbent, Amb. B.K. Likando of the Namibian Intelligence Service for a period of one year until the next Conference in Cairo, Egypt. It also produced another Nigerian, Ms. Zainab Ali Kotoko as the Executive Secretary of CISSA, replacing Mr. Shimeles W. Semayat; after expiration of his five-year tenure.

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