Certainly yes. Nigeria needs a Federal Anti-Terrorism Agency to combat the domestic terrorism siege on the country today. This does not necessarily mean exaggerating the impact of terrorism on the country’s resources and human psyche to the global community. For whenever the tide of terrorism goes down, such an agency can be merged with one of several security agencies and from there they can still be in veiled operations to checkmate those gangs and other emerging threats. As commendable as the military operations against terrorists are, these gentlemen were trained to protect the territorial integrity of the country and so may only try their best in the offensive that requires counter intelligence that is sophisticated and complex.
This is what zoologists refer to as evolutionary adaptability: as the predator evolves new ways to devour the prey, nature also makes it possible for the prey to evolve new ways to escape or evade the predator, so that it cannot be wiped out of existence. Terrorists are like wild animals- very dangerous, highly unpredictable and suspicious of every other animal except one of their kind. Knowledge of the behaviour of animals and animal studies has been used to extrapolate to human findings and this explains while those researches are valued and applied in developed countries. Psychologists and zoologists use animals to study behaviour and to predict patterns in them for human applications. Perhaps we need such an agency where these experts and graduates of these fields and other related ones can be called upon to serve their fatherland.
But do we value them, our complaint will first and foremost be about funding such an agency. Luckily, in his May Day address to workers, President Jonathan asserted that Nigeria is a rich country, so what are we waiting for. The biggest economy on the African continent cannot be ranked as poor, even if the wealth is not fairly distributed.
With the granting of amnesty to militants in the Niger Delta and the provision of some opportunities, restiveness in the region has abated save for some pockets of occasional flash points by those claiming to be sidelined or not well-catered for in the program. Curiously, the emerging threat of oil thieves operating in that region has impacted negatively on the national economy. This has often resulted in the dwindling allocations to vital components of the government machinery. More worrisome is the recent calls that oil subsidy should be removed. Stealing oil should be considered as an act of national terrorism against the economy and should be matched with appropriate force and enforcement. If at some point, certain militia were demanding to be outsourced for the protection of federal facilities especially oil pipelines that traverse their local domain, it only shows that such hands need to be properly engaged. Recent happenings show that there is no limit to allocating resources for security matters that affect our country; therefore existing security agencies must see the establishment of such an agency to combat terrorism as a boost to their collaborative joint operations.
The outstanding performance of our country in regional peace keeping operations and major Security Council role at the United Nations makes us (Nigeria) a global player in security issues which calls for the establishment of such an agency. For we will have no moral justification pontificating on regional and global security issues when our house is in disarray as a result of a rag-tag Boko Haram sect that is threatening us with extinction.
The planned massive recruitment into the army ought to be for a clearly defined anti-terrorism agency that apart from carrying out offensive in collaboration with other security forces with gather intelligence. With such an agency in place, it will be able to identify vulnerable locations and provide the information to the military to beef up security in such location. I don’t think with such an agency in place, those fatal school invasions would have occurred nor the Chibok incidence. It will be difficult to say precisely whether the military offensive against terrorists in the Northeast will end terrorism there, for it is a festering wound. Unfortunately, terrorism seems to be perennial wherever it occurs and this requires such an agency. An autonomous and independent agency in all time that will fight terrorism and coordinate all anti-terrorism security is needed and should be established. The anti-terrorism agency will definitely work in collaboration with other security agencies.
This will boost the security of Nigerians, instill confidence in foreign investors who will have greater level of confidence in the safety of their foreign direct investments (FDI), bring about development, and create jobs that will mop up potential terror recruits. Above all, it will send a strong message to the international community about our readiness to fight terrorism, that our shores are an unwelcome and unsafe territory for terrorists and terrorism, and that our country is a safe place for the citizenry, visitors and investors. In addition, a lot of opportunities will be created collaborating with other countries that have similar anti-terrorism outfits. This will generate a lot of good will among the people even though the beneficiaries may form an insignificant proportion of the populace as with other government agencies.
Emmanuel Tyokumbur. Via email@example.com