What is National Security?


National security has to do with the safety and peaceful coexistence of citizens and non-citizens living in a country. It is a system that protects people’s lives and property against external and domestic aggression. It ensures that lives and property are safe.

Agents of national security ensure that people respect the rights of other people. National security also means that the country is protected from aggression from other countries. For example, if a neighboring country encroaches on Nigeria’s land, Nigerian soldiers will fight to secure the piece of land.

Threat to national security

A threat is any thing or a person that could be dangerous. Constant internal conflicts, particularly conflicts that lead to violent destruction of lives and property, constitute a major threat to national security. Examples of such are religious riots and ethnic disturbances.

National security may also  be threatened by disasters, both natural and man-made. Disasters such as flood, drought, wild fires, accidents, and epidemics may threaten national security.

Economic depression, high level of inflation and unemployment may threaten national stability. This is because the generality of the people, who are the victims of these problems, may start off a revolt.

National security is also difficult to maintain in a country with a high level of illiteracy. Illiterate people generally, do not know their rights as citizens of a country. They also do not know their duties and responsibilities towards their own country.

Those who do not love the country can easily use the illiterate citizens to destabilize it.  During riotous situations, the people who actually destroy lives and property are illiterate people who have been paid little sums of money by a few wicked but powerful people. Those miscreants who carry out such destruction do not even understand their own actions

The role of citizens in maintaining national security

Every citizen of a country should be security conscious. We should all be patriotic and loyal and join the government to protect our own lives and property, and our country in general. This can be done in the following ways:

  1. Those who have information on national security (who know special things on how the country is being protected) should not give out such information to foreigners.
  2. A citizen should not join or assist a foreign army against his own country.
  3. We should not talk evil about our country and our leaders before foreigners in our country and when we are outside our country.
  4. A good citizen should willingly join the army whenever he is called upon to do so.
  5. We should not sabotage the government’s efforts to develop the country. Those who vandalize pipelines, set public buildings on fire, steal public funds and destroy other public property are doing something very bad and should be punished severely when caught.
  6. Citizens should obey the laws at all times.
  7. Those who have information on the activities of criminals should give out such information to law enforcement agents, who will promptly stop the activities of the criminals.
  8. If communities, ethnic or religious groups have a disagreement, they should settle the disagreement in a lawful way, instead of rioting and destroying each other.
  9. We must not buy or import weapons of war

National security agents

The importance of national security shows that it is not the duty of an individual or agent alone. It is a collective duty, however, some agents are to specifically handle national security.

Here are some of them:

The military

Military organizations of any country consist of the army, the navy and the air force. Military also relates to war. In Nigeria, the three organizations are collectively referred to as the armed forces of Nigeria.

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Defense and National Security

The army is established, trained and equipped to fight on land. The navy is meant to maintain security in the sea. Those in the navy are trained and equipped to do the job, they have the ships and weapons they need to work on the sea.

The air force maintain security in the air, members of the air force have the aeroplanes, weapons and other equipment to fight in the air, if they need to do so. They have been specially trained to do their job.

The police

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Boko Haram: Nigerian Army contradicts police on officers’ abscondment

The police is the official organization whose job is to ensure that people obey the laws of the land, here are some of the duties of the members of the police force as regards national security:

  1. To prevent crime and discover it wherever it occurs
  2. To apprehend offenders.
  3. To maintain law and order
  4. To protect life and property.
  5. To ensure that people obey the law.
  6. To control traffic so people can drive and move peacefully and safely

The civil defense

Members of the Nigeria security and civil defense corps consist of volunteers and regular members as may be recruited. The functions of the corps are as follows:

  1. To assist in the maintenance of peace and order.
  2. To rescue and protect people in times of emergency
  3. To maintain twenty-four hour surveillance over infrastructure, sites and projects for the federal, state and local governments.

Civil defense corps has in many cases provided invaluable assistance to people in Nigeria during emergency periods. They are usually found in areas such as the site of collapsed buildings, flood, etc.

The state security service

The state security service (SSS) is part of the Nigeria police, it is a branch or department of the Nigeria police. However, its operations differ a little from the normal police service. In the first place, SSS officials are not made to wear normal police uniforms, they are allowed to put on normal civilian dresses. Here are some of the duties of the members:

  1. They serve as secret agents for the government, in other words, they service as spies to secretly get information or watch people for the government.
  2. They investigate criminal activities in the country.
  3. They work hard to discover any act that may endanger national security.
  4. Generally, they monitor criminal activities, detect possible threats to peace and arrest suspected criminal for possible prosecution in the law court.

Nigerian immigration service

Nigerian immigration service was part of the Nigeria police force until 1958 when it was made autonomous. It operates under the supervision of the ministry of internal affairs. The organization, because of the importance of its duties, has offices in major towns throughout the country. Its general duties include:

  1. Handling the travel documents of all those who are arriving and departing Nigeria.
  2. Issuing residence permit to foreign investors and other expatriates wishing to reside in Nigeria.

As they perform their duties it, will be difficult for a group of people to come in to cause trouble in Nigeria.

The Nigerian customs

This organization does the following to maintain national security:

  1. It makes sure that people do not import dangerous goods.
  2. It monitors the importation of arms and ammunition into the country.
  3. It assists the NDLEA to check the import and export of hard drugs.
  4. It assists NAFDAC to check the importation of fake drugs which are harmful to the nation
  5. It ensures payment of customs duties and taxes to sustain national economic security.

Revision activities 

  1. What is national security?
  2. Give three situations which may threaten national security
  3. Mention and explain five ways in which citizens can help to maintain national security
  4. Mention three agencies of national security
  5. Explain two ways in which each agency maintains national security