Opinion: Nigerian security agencies’ failure in the fight against Boko Haram

by Abubakar Sadiq Aruwa

Joint-Task-Force

A growing trend that must also be checked by the NSA is the allegation that some of the nation’s security agents seem to have been compromised either ideologically or financially by those fighting against the stability of our country. In fact, some former intelligence officials believe that our security agencies have been infiltrated by the dreaded Boko Haram.

Please accept my humble sympathies fellow Nigerians if you have been so unlucky to be at the receiving end of a demonic onslaught against innocent and defenseless citizens by a devilish Radical Sect called Boko Haram whose only mission seems to destroy the peace and harmony of the Nigerian state.

Emerging as a radical sect in 2002, the group which at one time was dubbed the Nigerian Taliban for their similar ideological stand against anything western has certainly gone beyond its boundaries as a sect.
With the ubiquitous bomb blasts and terrorist activities hunting Nigeria today, most Nigerians are of the opinion that the security services have failed the nation despite huge yearly budgetary expenditures in the name of “security votes.” But despite these perceived failures in performance, many citizens continue to plead for support and encouragement of the government and its security agencies.

But, how do we encourage security agencies that refuse to use intelligence information sent to them by citizens or fail to coordinate intelligence information from various security outfits and government agencies?

Recently, a fellow gave sensitive information to a policeman on some suspicious activities within his workplace but the policeman waved it aside that even if he tells his boss, the officer will not trust his information or may accuse him of belonging to Boko Haram. Now how do we encourage the government or security services when a junior policeman does not have confidence in his superior officer?

Some years ago, a report by the Associated Press (AP) quotes a top Nigerian security official, who begged to remain anonymous because he was not authorized by his superiors to speak, as saying that the security services once arrested and later released Mamman Nur, the wanted mastermind behind the August 26 UN House bombing, and others who were caught with bombs, guns and lots of cash in 2007, “They were caught with explosive devices and other ammunitions. Some of them were also caught with large amounts of cash,” the Nigerian official told AP.

But as usual, the arrested men could not be prosecuted for political reasons.

The Nigerian security official disclosed to the AP that top security officials in the administration of the late President Umar Yar’Adua ordered their release without prosecution. “Top security officials in the administration of then President Umaru Yar’Adua, released the rounded-up men shortly after their arrests, with some facing a few hasty sham trials,” the Nigerian security official, who spoke to AP, said.

It is now apparent that the rampant failure of our security agencies to curb the insecurity in Nigeria is due to the unhealthy synergy between heads of our security agencies and politicians who will do anything, including bastardizing our national security, just to win elections.

A painful scenario prevalent among our security services is that there is little inter-agency co-operation or interface among themselves, regardless of what they may want members of the public to believe.
It is now obvious that all our security agencies are only focused on being individual winners rather than collective winners as a team in the fight against terrorists and unwholesome groups.  It seems to observers now that our security system is gradually being focused more on protecting Mr. President to the detriment of the people the president is elected to protect. As long as Mr. President is fine, nothing else matters!

If Nigeria is to get out of these chaotic security challenges bedeviling her at this period of our nationhood, the security agencies under the supervision of the NSA must be proactive in the areas of intelligence gathering, sharing and implementation. The National Security Adviser must therefore be in the vanguard for a new approach to counter terrorism in Nigeria, starting with the intelligent usage of every available tips of public information; infiltration of bars, communities, cabs, religious groups etc with more intelligence operatives and the strengthening of the Counter Terrorism Unit domiciled in his office.

A growing trend that must also be checked by the NSA is the allegation that some of the nation’s security agents seem to have been compromised either ideologically or financially by those fighting against the stability of our country. In fact, some former intelligence officials believe that our security agencies have been infiltrated by the dreaded Boko Haram.

Just as the intelligence agencies have penetrated the Boko Haram sect, the group has equally moved into the ranks of the agencies, because they quickly adjust their strategy almost as simultaneous as the security agencies plan against them.

The NSA must therefore move fast to rid the security services of all these compromised elements who are consistently disclosing counter-terrorism strategies to their paymasters.

There should also be the formation of an inter-agency cooperation mechanism to help retrieve and analyze information coming in from all security operatives including Para-military agencies especially Customs and Immigration Services who have most times been neglected by the core security agencies.

Also, the NSA and other top security chiefs should start planning ahead on how to curb attacks that may come in the form of bio-chemical attacks like the use of Anthrax or Sarin Gas in offices or populated places. It happened in the United States and Japan, it can also happen here. The terrorists may want to provoke the government in that huge magnitude so as to get their message across while same time putting extreme fear among government officials.

Finally, a solution to the escalating problems of these arms insurrection and terrorism against the state lies in dialoguing with these groups (Boko Haram, MEND, MASSOB etc) rather than preparing to fight guerrilla warfare with any of them. They really have nothing to lose…….not even their lives, for they do not really care! They already believe they are dead men walking. Though the deployment of soldiers on the streets in various cities is helpful in the interim, it will not succeed in the long run.

Therefore, the Nigerian government must address the multitude of injustices that are motivating these people to willingly commit these heinous crimes against their own people because even after all the above and other security strategies are put in place, DIALOGUE IS INEVITABLE.

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This post was published with permission from Abusidiqu.com

 Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

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