Unilorin unveils research centre for national security

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The University of Ilorin (Unilorin) has unveiled a Research Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity and Sustainable Development.

Inaugurating the centre, Prof. Wahab Egbewole, SAN, the Vice Chancellor of Unilorin, on Monday in Ilorin, said it was the institution’s sustained efforts to contribute to national development, especially in the area of security.

Egbewole said that the university recognised that community leaders constitute an indispensable component of any effective security architecture.

He explained that the university and its scholars intend to combine traditional and the native knowledge of intelligence gathering with modern emerging technologies to secure Nigeria, saying that effective security is a collective affair.

Egbewole assured that the centre, when in full operation, would serve as the hub of idea generation, documentation and drive plans for a secured society in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to him, it will embrace a practical and indigenous approach to national security with the involvement of traditional rulers for an effective real-time intelligence gathering.

Speaking on the topic: “Do not Despise little Beginnings”, the vice chancellor said: “At the University of Ilorin, our desire is to contribute meaningfully to national discourse and join hands in finding lasting solutions to the emerging trend of crime in our society.

“To do this, we have realised the need to bring on board critical stakeholders to interrogate the issues and creatively harness potentials in providing platforms and policy framework to address insecurity in our nation.”

The Coordinator and Team Leader of the project, Prof. Rasheed Jimoh, described rising insecurity as a global challenge, noting that ivory towers are no longer insulated from the security challenges that threaten Nigeria’s long term objectives.

“The recent rise in crimes and insecurity in Nigeria poses a serious threat to the country’s long-term progress and sustainable development.

“This unfavorable situation has had a negative impact on the economy of the country and, indirectly, that of the neighbouring nations,” he said.

Jimoh explained that this has in turn affected the performance of key areas of the economy,  including agriculture, foreign investments, and local industries and enterprises.

“The sad story has extended to the supposed insulated environments such as university campuses with serious security threats to life and properties.

“In recent times, we have had cases of lecturers being kidnapped, injured, and in extreme cases, killed thus almost making our campuses dreaded zones,” he lamented.

The don noted that it is on account of sad development that experts from within and outside Unilorin have come together with research ideas, which aimed at harnessing ways of addressing the challenges.

He also revealed that the event is a pilot project, which would on be extended to the national level.

On his part, the Balogun Fulani of Ilorin, Alhaji Sidiq Atiku, appreciated the university for coming up with the idea.

He said that although traditional leaders in Ilorin South Local Government Area hold security meetings regularly, finding a partner in Unilorin is very encouraging as he assured that they will participate most actively.

The District Head of Akanbi and Daudu of Fufu, Alhaji Muhammad Alege, expressed delight that such an important national and potentially international project is being piloted in his domain.

Similarly, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the ‘F’ Division Tanke, CSP Onyeabo Oseloka, urged traditional leaders to impress the need to monitor and guide the youth, as many young people are getting inclined towards crime.