The National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, says intelligence remains the most effective instrument in fighting insurgency and banditry.
Monguno stated this on Friday, in Abuja while speaking at the public presentation of a research report titled ‘Terrorism and Banditry: The Nexus’; conducted by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF).
The NSA, who is one of the panelists at the event, said that evolvement witnessed globally in the 21 century had made tackling insecurity more difficult, hence the need for intelligence.
He said that while intelligence came in various ways including human intelligence, technical intelligence, cyber intelligence and others, human intelligence derived from the local community remained the most important.
“For as long as an agent of government decides to franchise or eliminate the agent of community, then you are depriving yourself of the most important oxygen, which is intelligence from the local community,’’ he said.
Monguno said that what Nigeria needed to do in tackling its current security challenge was to learn from the experience of developed countries.
“Intelligence is the driver of operation.
“No matter how much you spend on defense forces- land, air, maritime or police, if you lack the relevant intelligence, you will just be like three blind men operating in a dark environment.
“You can imagine what that will amount to,’’ he said.
According to him, while intelligence comes in various layers it must be fused together and acted upon timely, saying intelligence in itself has a very short shelf life.
“From the moment you get intelligence if the operational elements do not respond with the speed required that intelligence becomes stale and it compounds the problems that will come later,’’ he said.
Another member of the panelist, Crisis Group’s Nigeria Senior Adviser, Nnamdi Obasi, stressed the need to scale up security presence in the country, especially the ungoverned areas.
Obasi also stressed the need to improve on humanitarian assistance to those affected by insecurity.
On his part, a former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, stressed the need to improve the capacity of security agencies and deal with the issue of bad eggs among security agencies.
Another member of the panelist, Ruth Olofin of CLEEN Foundation, said much attention should be paid to the effect of banditry and insecurity in the country on the education sector.
Olofin also stressed the need to conduct researches into the effects on the gender group, especially women and children who had been affected by insurgency in the North East.
Dr Chris Kwaja, a researcher, making a public presentation of the report said that its research focused on four key states in the North West- Kaduna, Kastina, Niger and Zamfara.
Kwaja, is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa.
He said that research identified social economy, farmers-herders, failure of government institutions, insufficient policing system, as we as geography and topography as five factors that drive banditry.
Kwaja said that the report also listed the effects of banditry in the states as the devastation of communities, threats to food security, further imperils and worsen economic outlook.
He said that the report also acknowledged that the banditry activities provided cover for fundamentalists groups to spread, while it also threatened the education sector.
Kwaje said that the report on ways to address banditry and terrorism in Nigeria recommended the need to review ECOWAS protocol on transhumance, undertaking of research and studies, and to raise community security awareness.
He said that the report also recommended supporting boarder management bodies in Nigeria, the Niger Republic and Benin Republic as well as targeted social-economic intervention to ameliorate poverty and lack opportunities.(NAN)