Boko Haram: Why we must involve citizens in the fight – Expert

Boko Haram: Why we must involve citizens in the fight – Expert

Community intelligence gathering has been recommended to the military and other security agencies, as a way of tackling insurgency in Nigeria. The recommendation was made by the Managing Director, Frontier Risk Management Nigeria Limited, Mr. Cosmas Ekeogu, during the maiden seminar on “Community Intelligence Gathering: Panacea for Enhanced National Security” organized by the Nigerian Armed

Community intelligence gathering has been recommended to the military and other security agencies, as a way of tackling insurgency in Nigeria.
The recommendation was made by the Managing Director, Frontier Risk Management Nigeria Limited, Mr. Cosmas Ekeogu, during the maiden seminar on “Community Intelligence Gathering: Panacea for Enhanced National Security” organized by the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi, Lagos.
Two hundred and fifty-six retiring military personnel of the Armed Forces were trained on a procedure for gathering intelligence during the seminar.
According to Ekeogu who was one of the discussants at the two-day seminar, the clamour for national security could only be achieved if civilians were engaged to gather intelligence and assist the military to achieve its ultimate aim of providing security for the country.
His words: “There has to be engagement of communities in national security policies. In the past, community intelligence was relegated to the background. By doing so, they (security agents) were not able to gather as much information needed to proffer solutions for policy statements.
“And even for commanders, intelligence community should step up a little more, by engaging the locals to get information so that they can take a proactive policy statement.
“One thing we have to understand is when you talk about community, you talk more of civilians because in times of peace missions, communities gain from the successes and in terms of failure it is the community that will lose more.”
Explaining how community intelligence could help solve the myriad of security challenges in Nigeria, Ekeogu said: “First of all, we must understand the techniques in intelligence gathering. We have what we call Human Intelligence Gathering and Open Source Information Intelligence.
“Times are gone when intelligence was all about covert intelligence. In the 20th century, there is a clandestine way of getting information and through secret service. But as it is now, with the use of internet, emails, radio and televisions, we are able to gather information, from where they are analysed.
“On the Niger Delta and North-East for instance, government should be able to get liaison officers who are able to gather information. When they get any information, it should be transmitted to command information centres, from where it will be analysed and thereafter, disseminated to government.
“By the time this is done, commandeers and mission, as well as policy makers are able to make proactive engagement or statement, so that national security can take place.”
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, had earlier charged retiring military personnel to re-awaken their intelligence gathering techniques as they will be required to be the eyes and ears of government when they leave the service.
General Olonisakin called for synergy and cooperation among other elements in the national security configuration in other to enable the military surmount various security challenges around the country.

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