As a follow-up to my article titled “Killing spree amid intelligence gap” (Daily Trust, April 6, 2018), I once again address the costly impact of the huge intelligence gap in the way the Nigerian military and police tackle Boko Haram terrorists, ethnic militias, armed bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers that capitalize on the gap to perpetrate their crimes.
Though the military and police personnel engaged in these confrontations are constrained by many challenges that explain their failure to achieve a decisive victory, the ineptitude of the country’s three major security intelligence agencies i.e. the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the State Security Service (SSS) and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) remains the most critical of all the challenges.
The way the military often reassures Nigerians that a decisive victory against the terrorists and the other armed groups is just around the corner only for more attacks to follow afterwards, suggests the sheer level of ineptitude that characterizes the operations of the country’s intelligence agencies, which are supposed to continuously gather, analyze and process sensitive security intelligence for the military strategists to come up with appropriate combat tactics accordingly.
This ineptitude appears particularly obvious when viewed against the backdrop of the fact that the terrorists and the armed groups aren’t sophisticated after all, and they in fact operate in circumstances that any intelligence agency worth its salt can easily subvert their structures and activities. For instance, they still rely on the mainstream communications networks in the country to communicate, secure weapons through relatively basic means of arms smuggling, get regular supplies through relatively basic supply chain and apparently access funds from their local and international sponsors through some relatively basic money laundering transactions. Besides, the pattern of their attacks and sometimes even the timing and their targeted communities and victims are quite predictable.
It’s indeed a pity that even under these circumstances, which are supposed to be favorable as far as the country’s security intelligence agencies are concerned, yet armed bandits, Boko Haram terrorists, ethnic militias and other armed groups continue to unleash death and misery at will particularly in northern Nigeria.
It’s shameful that Nigerian security intelligence agencies are too ill-equipped to maintain an effective communications interception system on the armed groups to continuously collect critical intelligence about them, monitor their movements and locate their hideouts. It’s also utterly disappointing that the agencies’ supposedly trained spies are too incompetent to infiltrate the ranks of the armed groups, let alone conduct audacious operations e.g. targeted assassinations of the terror leaders.
By the way, one may wonder why despite the fact that Boko Haram is rightly regarded worldwide as one of the most dangerous terror groups in the world, yet the international community isn’t committed enough to assisting Nigeria in its struggle against the group as it (international community) does elsewhere. Well, this is also due to the cluelessness of successive generations of Nigerian political leaders in terms of the politics of tackling modern-day terrorism and organized violence. I may, in due course, address this particular issue in a separate article.
Anyway, in the face of the incompetence of its security intelligence agencies amid escalating insecurity in the land, Nigeria should urgently consider any viable short-term alternative to check the situation before it escalates into overwhelming anarchy across the country, God forbid.
Perhaps the most appropriate strategy to consider in this regard at the moment is to outsource the services of security intelligence gathering to professional private security intelligence firms equipped with the most advanced intelligence gathering, analyzing and processing technology, and which, from their operations rooms thousands of kilometers away can intercept suspected communications, locate and eliminate fixed and moving targets using advanced satellite-based communications interception technology and the most sophisticated remote-controlled unmanned aerial reconnaissance/combat drones; all these and more without having to be physically available in Nigeria.
It’s equally imperative to outsource other critical services to other relevant professional private intelligence firms with the expertise to identify the sources from which Boko Haram terrorists secure weapons and funds, and also the channels through which the weapons are smuggled into Nigeria as well as the means through which the funds are laundered for them within the country, of course including the identities of all accomplices involved.
With effective intelligence coverage of this quality and close coordination with Nigerian military and police on the ground, achieving a decisive victory against the terrorists and other armed groups in the country would be within reach. Yet, to fast-track the process, Nigeria can also consider engaging the services of professional mercenary commandos to embark on breaking into the terrorists’ hideouts and eliminating them right in the woods, desert and the other difficult terrains they are taking advantage of to hide.
Though these services are very expensive, yet they are worth it especially at this particular juncture of the country’s already difficult journey to socio-political and economic stability. This however doesn’t underestimate the equally urgent need for Nigeria to embark on modernizing its security intelligence agencies, military and police to enable them to keep pace with modern-day security challenges.