Intelligence, insecurity and Nigeria’s economy

Security intelligence, as the phenomenon denotes, is typically regarded as the supposed hallmark of effective and efficient operations of any worthwhile security apparatus nay high-quality governance the world over. But the apparent failure of Nigeria’s security intelligence over time appears to be the bane of marked, much expected socio-economic development in the country as of now.

Military Intelligence, according to Wikipedia, an online free encyclopedia, is an armed forces’ discipline that “exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions.”

On the other hand, John Burnham, an intelligence chief, describes Security Intelligence (SI) as the “real-time collection, normalisation, and analysis of the data generated by users, applications and infrastructure that impacts the IT security and risk posture of an enterprise.” The goal of SI, according to Burnham, is to provide “actionable and comprehensive insight that reduces risk and operational effort for any size organisation.”

Though, “safeguarding the sovereign, independence and territorial integrity of the state” is purported to be the central pillar of the Nigerian national security policy, what’s happened to and consequently, become of the nation’s security intelligence gathering efforts and related issues in the wake of daily, ceaseless but unprovoked attacks on Nigerians and foreigners in their midst, is fast becoming the predominant concern of a broad spectrum of the stakeholders in the Nigerian enterprise.

Lately, one actually witnessed live another of such reported confusion, panic and economic losses the continual insecurity in the land usually causes at Ikeja, Lagos. That was the bomb scare, instigated by a parcel supposedly planted members of the Boko Haram sect, right in the Ikeja Local Government Secretariat.

In a jiffy, the rumour and ensuing confusion spread like a virus to the ever-busy environs, including the Ikeja Along Bus Stop, Police Barracks and multi-billion Naira popular “Computer Village” where information and communication technology software, hardware and accessories are bought and sold in Lagos, making pedestrians and motorists to run over one another in a bid to escape from the vicinity.

Amid the disorderly circumstance, several people within the axis, simply abandoned their wares, shops, offices and scampered for safety while certain social miscreants cashed in on the confusing atmosphere to perpetrate a looting spree.

In economic terms, for instance, aside from sundry other socio-economic losses, human and material, befalling other towns, cities, locations and states across the country since the return to civil rule in 1999, the Plateau State Government, one of the recent hotbeds of hostilities in Northern Nigeria, was reported to have revealed to the press recently, that Plateau lost about N43billion worth of property to avoidable crises in 2008 alone.

How about thousands of Nigerians who are indigenes of other geopolitical zones of the country who suddenly, lost their jobs in the Abia State Government’s employ lately? Abia State Governor Thoedore Orji, while explaining the rationale behind the action, pleaded with state governments of the affected former staff to show understanding and re-absorb them. He allegedly explained that his inadvertent action was induced by the continued crisis in the North from where his fellow Abians were forced to return home en masse.

Incidentally, assuming other states of the Federation follow suit and start to send parking indigenes of other states in their employ, will this country be far from eventual disintegration soon?

In respect of a possible conspiracy theory between the state security apparatus and armed militias, whether Boko Haram or otherwise and why his state remains a crisis-prone locale ever since, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, again, out of frustration in a chat with the press, shortly after a recent meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in an encounter with the press, blurted thus: “Boko Haram members have penetrated the security institutions, wearing uniforms.” His piercing allegation then, provides the security operatives a clue to investigate the source of funding and logistical dexterity of this devious sect.

Following this caustic allegation by the supposed Chief Security Officer of Plateau State, the Police, the Military, and the State Security Service (SSS) must look inwards, integrate and coordinate their operations with a view to devising and deploying superior security intelligence while curbing criminal activities before they occur at all.

More importantly, the accustomed refrain of a ‘bounty’ “reward of N25 million is being offered for information that could lead directly to the apprehension or conviction of Mamman Nur”, the alleged mastermind of the United Nations’ Building bombing in Abuja, emanating for the office of the SSS spokesperson may not do the magic. As supposed intelligence professionals, they rather should concentrate on resolving the identified knotty security issues and tracking down the perpetrators and their sponsors than talking too much via the mass media.

The Presidency also, must guard against issuing unguarded statements and pronouncements when it comes to sensitive security issues afflicting the country. This idea of saying, “We know the perpetrators”; “We will find the bombers”; “We have discovered who their sponsors are”, among others doesn’t seem engaging to most Nigerians any more. It rather attracts sneer from the generality of the people.

With the aid of modern technological equipment as intoned by Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi (retd), National Security Adviser (NSA) sometime ago, the security services need to inject sophistication in their investigative process. Nigeria Police officers and security personnel should be well-equipped, motivated, and inadequately trained in modern intelligence gathering as well as DNA tests and analyses in crime resolution which they still take abroad to do.

The nation’s leadership, at all levels of governance, inevitably need to entrench good and efficient governance to curb corruption; provide social and basic amenities needed to enhance quality human living. Providing all these naturally, promises to promote adequate security.

The killings in some parts of the country including bombings, kidnappings and fatal armed robbery attacks being perpetrated on a daily basis with barefaced brutality must stop if this economy is to survive and make any headway towards contributing to the realisation of Mr. President’s avowed Transformation Agenda. Nothing meaningful and sustainable can be accomplished in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity of lives and property.

Written by
Gbenga Kayode
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