Kaduna bandit attacks and the rest of us: Enough of these embarrassments

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By Ifeanyi Izeze

How do you rationalise that in the same Kaduna that houses well over 15 world class military facilities aside those of the police and Civil Defense we had attacks on airport, moving train, train station; and serial breaches on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway within a 3-day period? And those in charge are carrying on as if nothing spoil. Haba!

Were these attacks in Kaduna preventable? Did those concerned do enough? Why are managers and operators of our security agencies not thinking ahead of the bandits? Why are people in office not being made to account for lapses in their agencies? Do our political office holders know what shame means? These are all questions we need to answer if we are really sincere with ourselves as a people.

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Can anybody really say the government has a single clue on how to address the present security situation in the country particularly in parts of the north where even the poorest of the poor are not rest assured they are not going to be cut into pieces at any moment by a bunch of extremists whose identity and real mission has remained at best blurred and at worst obscured? Is governance not about people and their welfare which includes security of their lives and property?

Without mincing words, the inactivity or the inability of our security agencies to be more proactive and sincere in addressing the general spate of insecurity and senseless daily bloodshed across the country is a system failure. Thank God, the thing is now spiralling to the high and mighty and their families also.

We should ask what actually is the day to day function of the DSS? What is the actual work in specific terms of the agency? Is it only to hound down political opponents of those misruling this country? Is the DSS not supposed to be interfacing daily with the Police and other apparatuses on exchange of intelligence?

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The organization is supposed to be the Nigerian equivalent of the American FBI and the British MI5. How come that the Nigerian SSS functions only within and around State House, Abuja; around state governors and their government houses, and local government council headquarters?                 

What of the police? The police are represented in virtually every LGA yet they are always ten steps behind the bad boys. If we had an effective policing at the local government level there would not have been any need for the contraption we call the IG IRT.

Who diverted the major effort of the Civil Defense Corps to pipeline protection? Should all our national assets including the rail lines not be of interest to the Civil Defense? Does the average Civil Defense operative know that he or she forms the first line of the defense of our assets? Do they also know that they are a vital and critical source of information to the police and other agencies?

The truth is that years of horrible recruiting standards and poor training have landed us with the current comatose internal security infrastructure that is at best a mockery of the real McCoy.

Of course how do you expect quality service when we now have a security architecture where excellence and genuine hard work and patriotic commitment are being brutally scarified on the altar of the gods of sectionalism, favouritism under the guise of loyalty to those in power, indolence and eye-service? Those who can give us the desired results of service are grossly sidelined if not completely relegated to mundane assignments of carrying files from one table to the other?

How do you explain internal security apparatus with near- zero capacity to gather quality early-warning intelligence or investigate sophisticated leads at the planning stage of the attacks/criminal activities before the mayhem is launched on the citizens? Whether anybody wants to hear this or not, this thing is threatening to swallow this country?

There are too many sources to provide information that can be converted into useable intelligence. In fact, there is hardly anything concerning banditry in the North Central and North West that cannot be gotten from the open source.

The bandits terrorizing the country, where do they come from? Where do they live or rather where do they retire to after their mayhem, and how do they run their daily life routines when they are not in the bush terrorizing our peoples? Are they spirits that come from outer space and disappears after their mayhem? You see that unqualified and/or poorly-trained security operatives remains one of the most dangerous things that can happen to any country because it becomes just business as usual, no foresight nor hindsight.

As asked by a friend and brother Innih Akpan, a thorough-bred and world class experienced military intelligence operative (retired), “Do we have thorough breed professionals who can turn information into intelligence and transport same as quickly as possible to who should use it without compromising the need to know? Do we have dedicated personnel who are versed in interpreting indicators?

“Who coordinates all these layers of security outfits to play their roles before the Armed Forces can be invited as the last line of defence?

“Do we have professionals who will coordinate the collection of information from market places, motor parks, churches, mosques, etc? Today, it is an open secret that bandits need motorcycles for their movements but I cannot tell if the dealers in both new and used motorcycles are under watch. If we must break the chain of what sustains the bandits in the bush we cannot overlook certain things.

“We must agree that today in Nigeria virtually every manager at the topmost and strategic echelon of our security architecture are not thorough breed professionals. There will always be a gap if the man at the strategic level does not have a full grip or grasps of operations at the tactical level.”

There is no shortage of information that can be converted to useable intelligence; rather there seem to be a failure on the part of driving process.

According Akpan, “Sometimes, the drivers of the process behave as if they are waiting for direction from the Commander-in-Chief before doing the needful which should not be the case. One of the first thing I was thought in training which remain relevant to this day is the fact that security situation are always fluid and the cyclic events that leads to the production of intelligence should never ever be delayed, hindered or stopped even for a second because of the consequences of losing lives.”

It has been serially suggested that there is need to replace the office of the National Security Adviser with a National Security Council (NSC) that includes the Presidency, the heads of the Nigerian Police Force, the heads of the security services- NIA and DSS, and the Chief of Defence Staff. At least, this will harmonize the current disconnected efforts of the various security agencies and produce the highly needed synergy and interface among them.

No doubt, scraping all non-statutory security task forces and commissions and folding their expert personnel into one outfit (the NSC and NSAC) will provide for better coordination of efforts at tackling the current challenges posed by the activities of the terrorists. It is obvious that unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks, supremacy and territorial tussle among the security agencies is a major part of the problem and addressing that would no doubt help in our efforts to tackle the situation in the country.

The earlier we realize we are all in the same mess, the better for all of us. Sitting in your comfort zone and apportioning blame will not change the situation. Keeping on in the face of the mentioned drawbacks will not change anything either. God bless Nigeria!

  • IFEANYI IZEZE is a Columnist with National Daily Newspaper and can be reached on: [email protected]; 234-8033043009