On Potency of Intelligence Gathering for Averting Carnage(s)
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
Over the years, the act of intelligence gatherings and information sharing have proven to be a veritable tool and weapon in the fight against terrorism and other forms of criminalities.
Through these strategies, a lot of terrorists’ cells were busted and members got apprehended which resulted into neutralizing several security threats prior to their emergence.
Thus, at this present context of volatile security challenges bedeviling the country, the aspect of Intelligence gatherings can never be downplayed.
This is necessary especially when looking at the recent revelations made by the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Lucky Irabor, on how combined efforts of security forces were able to foiled a mother of all attacks in Abuja and Kano city respectively.
According to him, had the attacks been conducted, it will be the worst episode of terror attack to have ever happened in any state across Nigeria.
Furthermore, Irabor also revealed that a large cache of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) making materials were also intercepted and retrieved as part of the operation to avert the tragedy.
In his words: ” We recovered a large quantum of arms and ammunition and other materials which, of course, the criminals were intending to use in various parts of the country, including Abuja.”
However, this revelation is coming a few days after terrorists in their large number stormed Catholic Church in Owo area of Ondo state where they gunned down not less than 40 worshippers and injured more than 80 people who are still nursing various degrees of injuries across medical centers in the state.
While the Owo tragedy was fated as it couldn’t be thwarted, but the Kano and Abuja incidents were ruined courtesy of formidable collaboration among the military and other security forces including the Department of State Service (DSS) etc. especially in areas of intelligence gatherings and sharing as noted by CDS Irabor.
“Perhaps, you may not know that just only the same week of the Owo incident, in Kano, for example, given the intelligence available to security agencies, we were able to botch what would have been the most catastrophic incident within our country.” Irabor said.
Therefore, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a military institution responsible for providing intelligence to Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and the Ministry of Defense should sustain this prominent role as it is very vital for the success of every operations by the security forces.
Meanwhile, this hydra-headed problem of insecurity in Nigeria should be confronted with a whole of society approach using non-kinetic strategy in addition to military operations. This is very urgent because terrorists have since started expanding beyond their territory thereby establishing new bases and cells across the length and breadth of the country.
Because, the National Security Council of Nigeria has recently identified members of the dreaded terror group wreaking havocs in northeast, the Islamic State West Africa Province(ISWAP) as the perpetrators behind Owo cathedral massacre. Prior to that, residents of some villages in Kaduna and Niger State have been raising alarm about the presence of Boko Haram sect members in their communities.
These unfolding developments as regards to territorial expansion and busting of criminals’ cells are all clear indications and wake up call to the security architectures to ‘walk the talk’ by implementing security measures capable of truncating all activities of non-state actors within the nook and crannies of the country.
The former Chief of Army Staff and the incumbent Ambassador of Nigeria to Benin Republic, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai (rtd) has advocated a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic measures as a way of tackling the challenge of insecurity in the country. He also proferred local manufacture of military equipment as a panacea to raging criminalities in the country.
Buratai spoke while delivering a lecture titled, “Politics and Insecurity In Nigeria: Way Forward” at a one-day symposium on national security at the Arewa House, Kaduna.
According to him, such non-kinetic approaches should include negotiation, dialogue and integrated approaches that could end insecurity through involving traditional and religious leaders, media, security and intelligence agencies among others.
“There is a need for the public to be constantly sensitised and enlightened on their roles as stakeholders in the security architecture of the country through agencies such as the National Orientation Agency, among others,” he said.
Buratai also harped on the need to revitalize the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) in order to mitigate the challenge of lack of specialised equipment and platforms for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to curb insecurity.
The retired General also made case for a better welfare and equipment for police, as well as establishment of a national border force as is obtainable in other parts of the world as a requisite step for curbing illegal trafficking of Small And Light Weapons around our borders.
To that effect, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), chaired by Babagana Monguno, a retired Major General was advised to collaborate and employ all means to block supply of all forms of logistics to terrorists.
Nevertheless, we should remember that, for the ship to navigate the storm and sail toward a brighter future, all passengers must pull the rows together. Thus, the whole society must contribute their quota for Nigeria to be able to surmount the present emerging security threats.
The Department of State Service should also intensify its efforts in gathering of actionable domestic intelligence and transmitting same to other sister security agencies for necessary action.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with the Emergency Digest.
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