Technology and Nigeria’s National Security: Challenges and Prospects

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TECHNOLOGY AND NIGERIA’S NATIONAL SECURITY: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

INTRODUCTION

1.Human existence has been characterized with attempts by man to apply technology to control his environment with a view to improving his material existence. This has resulted in epoch making developments such as the discovery of gun powder and the invention of industrial machines both of which have had significant impact on the development of the society.[i] These technological innovations also had significant effect on the evolution of nation states and the need to maintain national security of states within the international political system. This has thus made the application of technology a critical factor in the maintenance of national security.

2.In the past, national security was synonymous with physical security of the state, but later expanded to include efforts geared towards improving the material condition of the people.[ii] In line with this development, the maintenance of the socio-economic and psychological quality of life of the people has now begun to occupy central position in the security agenda of nations.[iii] The shift in emphasis has, however, not completely eroded the importance of safeguarding the sovereignty of the country.[iv]

3. The United States of America (USA) relies on the effective application of technology to enhance her national security. One of such technological innovations is a new Predictive Screening Project currently being used to derive observable behaviour that precedes a suicide bombing attack.[v] Developed by the Directorate of Science and Technology, the new devise has inbuilt monitors capable of identifying and alerting personnel to indicators of suicide bombing behaviour.[vi] The potential operational benefit of this new technological innovation is the enhanced ability to interdict Improvised Explosives Device (IED). This has assisted the Department of Homeland Security in its mission of preventing terrorism, thus enhancing the country’s national security.[vii]

4.The Republic of South Africa (RSA) has also been leveraging on technological innovations in her agricultural sector as part of the country’s agenda to enhance her national security. Towards this end, the country established the National Agricultural Research Council to coordinate and link agricultural research and technology with industry.[viii] Through the application of biotechnology and experiments in genetically modified seedlings, the RSA has been able to increase agriculture’s contributions to the country’s Gross National Product (GNP) from about 1.4 per cent in 2006 to about 1.9 per cent in 2009.[ix] This is comparable to an average of 2.1 per cent by the European Union in the same year.[x] The application of technology in agriculture has improved food security in RSA, thus enhancing the country’s national security.

5.Nigeria has a number of agencies devoted to promoting the country’s technological development. Two of such agencies are the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).[xi] Both agencies have the goals of moving Nigeria to technological development.[xii] However, the efforts of the country to leverage on technology in enhancing her national security have not been encouraging. For instance, the Technology Achievement Index ranked Nigeria 66 in its list of marginalized countries in areas of technology creation and diffusion in 2009.[xiii]

6.Thus, Nigeria has to contend with a number of challenges arising from her inability to attain the desired level of technological development. Consequently, the country still expends a bulk of her resources to import goods and services which could have been produced locally through effective adaptation of technology. The gaps in technological advancement could further constitute a major hindrance to the country’s quest for development.[xiv] These have...
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