Intelligence failures from Chibok to Dapchi…where next? By Agada Stephen Michael

“Borno and Yobe States in Northern part of Nigeria have been the theatre of an ongoing insurgency attacks perpetrated by the terrorist group ISWA (Islamic State in West Africa) since 2009. ISWA evolved from the Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad (more popularly known as its alias- Boko Haram)” – Gboye.

Intelligence failure has been on the front burner of both national and international political discussions. The September 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, the terrorist attack on the Madrid railway system, the London bombings in 2005 and the war in Iraq, have given the success or failure of intelligence communities (ICs) tremendous prominence in various news media across the globe. Public consciousness of intelligence efficiency, or the lack thereof, and its influence on government and security decision-making, regarding public safety is at a previously unknown level. Despite these setbacks, the US intelligence community has witnessed some successful operations. For instance, US intelligence correctly assessed the state of Libya’s nuclear and chemical weapons programmes in AQ Khan Nuclear network. In spite of the massive effort and the reported efficiency and professionalism of a large part of the US intelligence community, there have been many intelligence failures. The following are examples of where there were lack of warnings prior to occurrences which were of obvious importance to the US: the German attack on the Soviet Union, June 1941, Pearl Harbour, December 1941, the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1979, the wrong evaluation of the presence of WMD in Iraq prior to the Coalition invasion in 2003.

Let me not bore you with my many stories, but the contention has always been terrorists came disguised in Military fatigue with many villagers and innocent students thinking that they were Soldiers who came around for normal military operations in the ongoing clearance of Boko Haram. Report has it that military personnel drafted to troubled zones like Dapchi left the theatre of conflict and some girls were kidnapped…how did we get here?  Where’s next? Is it that going to school has become taboo? Do this girls have to experience such inhumane treatment? These are some of the questions most Nigerians are processing.

The waves of attacks, killings, and ambush on people plying highways, boys & girls kidnapped in their sleep or classroom, on their farms and in their houses has been going on in some parts of the North East for a long time now. No day passes by without Nigerian lives (including those of military and other security agents) being put on the line, ranging from suicide bombings, farmers killed and crops destroyed on a large scale this is not obtainable in a civilized society if Nigeria claims to be one… If such happens elsewhere, heads would have to roll, some people will have to resign or even get jailed for negligence.  In light of this, no day passes by without planned attacks on at least a community or two in some local governments of Borno and Yobe and other parts of the north east and middle belt. This can be attributed to intelligence failure on the part of Security Operatives and those charged with the responsibility of providing one of the objects of government, which is to provide security for citizens.

There have been clarion calls from Nigerians for the president to address this issue since it was one of his campaign promises…what is the reality of this promise? The government came out some weeks ago with a claim that BH has been defeated but waves of attacks still persist such as the kidnap of our dear daughters. Despite billions of dollars voted for insurgency the story still remains the same. In some quarters, it is believed that as a president not just that but ‘BABA,’ has not seen it fit to visit the theatre of conflict. Recently, the president made a comment: “I don’t have to go out to the field before I take actions against killings.’’ This is an unnecessary statement. “For a good leader, reticent action is not enough. You go to the field as an act of empathy and solidarity” – Gboye. This horrific journey will not go beyond Dapchi. Collectively we must insist on a holistic and prompt response to intelligence reports regardless of where they fall on the map. We will not dance to the nonchalant attitude of the rulers of Nigeria brandishing their closed minds and attending weddings at the detriment of national disaster, we will not dance to that tune any longer. The sermon has always been we have defeated BH, they have been technically dislodged, Shekarau dressed as a woman, he died, he resurrected, not acceptable going forward. Until there is no more kidnapping, no more suicide bombing, no more bloodletting then Nigerians will be at peace with the current status quo but anything short of that will lead to a declaration of constant demand on government on what needs to be done. Victory cannot be mere declaration – it has to become a living reality. Regrettably, again we have to say, #BringBackOurDapchiGirls!!

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Intelligence failures from Chibok to Dapchi…where next? By Agada Stephen Michael

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