Chris Steven, Abuja
Eighteen months after 219 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok were abducted in their school by terrorists, the BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) advocacy group has charged the federal government and the military to step up the nation’s intelligence gathering in the ongoing counter terrorism war.
The BBOG at a press conference held in Abuja on Wednesday to mark the 18 months that the Chibok girls were kidnapped said it has always called attention to the costly weakness of the nation’s intelligence gathering which it noted has failed not only the kidnapped girls but thousands of Nigerians killed and abducted by the Boko Haram sect$
“Right from the very beginning of our advocacy, our Movement has persistently called attention to this costly weakness of our national intelligence that has failed not only our Chibok girls but several thousands of our fellow citizens who were either killed or abducted in circumstances that effective intelligence gathering and use could have forestalled.
It is clear from objective assessments of the victories by the Nigeria Army on the one hand, and repeated bomb and other attacks by the terrorists on the other hand since coming into power of the new administration, that our weakest link and highest area of vulnerability in this counterinsurgency effort is ineffective intelligence, evident in our inability to preempt and prevent the enemies.
It is therefore of utmost urgency for the federal government to consider how and why it collects information and to identify ways of promptly converting this information into intelligence and effectively deploying same in a timely manner to prevent these attacks, and make arrests.” The group said
Speaking at the press conference, one of the leaders of the group, Aisha Yesufu lamented that the number of multiple bomb blasts that have killed and maimed citizens in recent times called for an urgent action to reposition our insurgency war, to become fully intelligence-led.
“The Nigeria Army has over the last four months begun to regain its professional capability as seen in the string of successes it recorded against the terrorist organization and its foot-soldiers.
However, it is now time for all the processes of our counterterrorism war to become embedded in a well-integrated and coordinated local and national levels of intelligence, surveillance, security, and policing.
The foundations for such effective intelligence architecture and landscape certainly depend on how well our military and security teams manage our ASSETS which include the following” she said
The group also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to remind all the seven key countries– United States, France, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, China, Australia – which previously offered help to come back to the table to support the nation’s intelligence systems build up under our own leadership and direction.
“All these assets along with a strong military/security/intelligence interagency synergy, cooperation and understanding must be appropriately and speedily put in place for our nation’s intelligence infrastructure to begin to work effectively and rebuild the confidence of our endangered citizens. ” It said