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Published On: Mon, Dec 15th, 2014

‘Intelligence’ deficit of war on terror (II)

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By Charles Onunaiju

The Boko Haram fighters who kill women, children and the elderly they come in contact with, are not revolutionary guerilla fighters who depend on a friendly civilian population for supplies of essential needs. Boko Haram terrorists have no relationship to rural civilian population of “a fish to the water”, as both chairman Mao and Enersto ‘che’ Guevara, two outstanding guerrilla warfare theorists and practitioners likened the revolutionary guerillas, they both led in China and Cuba respectively to socialist victory.

Boko Haram terrorists last April boldly entered into the town of Chibok in Borno State and abducted over 200 hundred girls in their hostel and went away with them. The federal government who has assumed total security responsibility in the state, with its proclamation of state of emergency bickered for days, weeks and months over whether the girls were actually abducted and even infamously traded blames with the helpless state government over who lost the girls. When it finally realized that the girls were actually abducted: what indeed would it have cost the intelligence service to have their personnel planted in the schools, disguised as mere labourers or gatemen? At least, with that, the federal authorities would have known who was complicit in the abduction of the girls and that the government has no idea of what happened and pointed fingers in all directions, actually means that the heads of the intelligence services would have their sabbaticals in rural labour camps.

The confused head banging and finger pointing of the federal authority led to the loss of a crucial initiative in the aftermath of the infamous abduction of the Chibok girls. The indefatigable Carl Von Clausewitz has advised in his classic text “on war” that “it is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past”. With “the time of action past” the fate of the Chibok girls has receded into the dungeon of ineptitude, remorselessness and stratagem that drives a mediocre regime that has rewarded its personnel with stupendous wealth and over bourgeoning egos.

With lightening raids to opposition party facility and arrests of their staff, without any such effort to slip few of their personnel into the Boko Haram bandits, the secret service shows itself as the proverbial laggard who choose to hunt for rats while his house is on fire. For the avoidance of doubts, the Nigerian intelligence service community have a clear responsibility to track and find how the terrorists procure the Hilux trucks they drive in a convoy, where and how they fuel it, procure sophisticated gadgets and explosives which they now use to deadly effect as in the Kano mosque attack. Where are their foot soldiers that captured towns in Adamawa state and made spirited efforts to capture Damaturu government house, recruited and trained. Is it not time, that the intelligence community put forth their personnel’s to be “recruited” by Boko Haram.

How could Boko Haram recruit hundreds of fighters without the intelligence service offering its covert operatives to be recruited? How would the DSS have such generous supplies of hooded covert operatives for elections, especially in opposition strongholds like in Osun state, but evidently demonstrated cold-feet in infiltrating the bigoted band of Boko Haram extremists? The unintelligent strategy of encircling Abuja with army barricades that traps hundred of motorists who work in the city especially from the Keffi-Nyanya axis in a deluge of traffic jam must end. It does not take any special insight to appreciate that gathering thousands of motorists and other commuters in a single place in the name of security check would in the long run prove an attractive choice for the blood thirsty mass murderers. Concluded

 Charles Onunaiju is reachable on

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