Orgies of banditries, kidnappings: experts proffer solutions

Orgies of banditries, kidnappings: experts proffer solutions

By Sunmola Olowookere
It is no longer news that Nigeria is going through a mind-boggling tumult; one that threatens its very existence. The tenuous hold on the cord that binds the three major tribes together seems to be about to come loose.

Recently, Nigeria lost another beautiful soul in a senseless killing spree which have characterized our highways. It was one death too many which has left the nation in a daze as it was a tragedy more felt among the elites.

A woman of substance, Madam Olufunke Olakunori, nee Fasoranti was consumed in a gale of bullets let loose on defenceless travellers along Ore highway by raging bandits which most Nigerians believed to be Fulani herdsmen, though the police holds a contrary opinion.

After over a decade of violence that seems to grow in leaps and bonds despite Nigeria’s security agents efforts to curtail it, there seems to be no end in sight to the nightmare.

Like a hydra-headed monster, it takes on new forms and different shapes as soon as we thought it has been curtailed; from Niger/Delta militancy, Boko Haram insurgency to Fulani herdsmen/Shiite, there seems to be no end in sight to the nightmare.

Nigerian leaders, including, the national leader of Pan- Yoruba  socio political group Afenifere Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the father of the slain Olufunke have just realized that Nigeria is going through a war.

The Bishop of the Akure Diocese of the Anglican Church, Right Rev’d Simeon Borokini shared the same sentiment on the degree of insurgency that characterized the Nigerian polity.

He expressed worry at the level of eruption of violence in most parts of the country and decried the spate  of kidnapping which made Nigerians to live in palpable fear over their lives.

Reacting to calls by some groups that other tribal groups should stop buying cow meat as a way of humbling the Fulani herdsmen, he wondered if it would not be best to steer clear of eating cows if it would curb the issue of herdsmen unleashing violence on the people from other tribes around them in states where they settled to rear their cows.

He urged the federal government to find a lasting solution to the spate of violence in several parts of the country, as the lives of Nigerians are no longer safe either while travelling or at home.

 Borokini challenged the government to consider creating state police in order to boost Nigeria’s security as the state police would be those  from the localities and would easily be able to fish out strangers in their midst.

He was against the idea of Christians taking up arms by themselves in case of any uprising, and urged them to report issues of violence to the appropriate authorities as they have the gadgets to combat crimes.

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Adoption of state police formation has also been identified as one of the major measures that would nip crime in the bud in respective States of the country.

Making this assertion was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adekola Olawoye, SAN, where he expressed a firm belief that Nigeria was overripe for state police.

Claiming that most crimes, committed in the state were carried out by people from other States, he believed that having a state police which would be constituted by citizens of the state that understand the terrain and  have their ears to the ground.

He stated that the advantages of state police formation far outweighs the federal police as strangers from far away states that are posted to a state could not understand the terrain like a native.

A university Don, Professor Boniface Kayode Alese is an expert on Cyber Security at Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) feels that Nigeria is not addressing the issue of insecurity in the nation with urgency and  seriousness it requires.

He stated that the federal government need to give the required training and equipment to its security agents in order to build a formidable outfit that would be able to tackle the country’s unabating security challenges.

His words” the security agencies are faced with challenges and I don’t know where the challenges are emanating from. We cannot really identify the source. It is not that our security agencies are not working, it could be that we are not giving them enough support; either as individuals or as governments.

“We need to make the resources available to all the security outfits while they too need to acquire the required expertise that would tackle  insecurity in the nation”.

He cautioned against placing importance on the use of ammunition only as means of combating insurgency as he stressed emphatically that the solution to the security problems of any nation today including Nigeria is beyond buying ammunitions.

“The  security strength of a country is no more based on weapons they have but on the intelligence ability. When we talk of the intelligence ability, we are moving towards the area of cyber security.

” I am not just saying this as an individual but as a professional who have sat at conferences and meetings with Chief of Defense Staff of other nations that are well developed such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America,” he explained.

In tackling the rate of banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes in Nigeria and other countries of the world, he disclosed that scientists are said to have invented a chip that could be placed under an individual’s skin and such a person’s location could be tracked in case of attack.

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” Even in your phone, there is something like a chip. It can also be put inside a car to monitor it. Yes, it is also available for tracking human beings. Even a call can be tracked. All these are available options. Technology is advancing all over the world and Nigeria need to progress beyond the point it is now.”

He advised that for Nigeria to adequately tackle eruptions of violent crimes and insurgency, it needs to take a step further beyond securing ammunitions and develop its technical hub.

He said that the location of kidnappers can be tracked as they are calling, making demands for ransom through tracking by these chips.

“If our telecommunications industry is working the way it should, if they cooperate with security agencies to build an effective database, then we will be able to do an effective tracking. Like what the police is doing now; if I lose my phone and make a report, they will track it and recover it,” he explained.

“Nigeria need to concentrate more on intelligence gathering and also train their officers in working along those lines. Like in the Nigeria Defense Academy, they have a department known as Cyber Security Intelligence. I remember that the Police University established in Kano State also has such a department,” he recalled.

He wondered why It was not being practised yet.

” That’s why they need support. And it must be backed up by political will to make it work. If the political will is not there, there will be problem. As technology is advancing, so also, is terrorism. About four years ago, I went to the United Kingdom. There was a terrorist attack in France, under 24 hours, they were apprehended. So also some Nigerians that went to rob in Dubai, they were caught quickly. It was the technology,” he recalled. Alese stated that if Nigerian police have been using modern  method of intelligence gathering, it is not having the right impact.

 He expressed hope that he would want to see Nigeria’s military and police getting more involved in cyber security.

He cited an instance of Rwanda when it was faced with genocide in 1994, and now fast forward to 2011, technology wise, it has really developed and it is known as the tech-hub of Africa today.

He stressed that in the developed world, all aspects of their lives are  leveraged on IT.

The don lamented that many of Nigerian citizens that have such skills are wooed over by other countries that valued their skills.

He urged that rather than exporting those skills that will help the country to develop, we need to harness them, so that, we too can develop.

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“Today, if the police wants to recruit, they should recruit graduates of cyber security. “Fighting insecurity is beyond ammunitions now. You can have the ammunitions and weaponry and they could be demobilized”. He argued.

In addressing this issue, the government should consult the right people, he reasoned while saying that the federal government should also know that intelligence abound in the academics.

” They should invite us to a meeting together with the security agents. Some officers in the NDA did their PhD in cyber security here at FUTA. They should not just be dumped in the university to lecture. This is because solving Nigeria’s problems is beyond acquiring ammunitions.

“We need to be talking of intelligence gathering and this need the right IT skills. The challenges are just starting,” e warned

” There is something called steganography; it is an act of hiding the existence of a message. In those days when terrorists wants to send a message, they will get  compact disc with videos of what you don’t expect terrorists to be watching; very nasty films. If it is a three hours film, the film will occupy the first one hour, twenty minutes, the message may be in the next ten minutes and the film will be in the remaining part so that nobody would suspect them.” He narrated.

The solution to the security problems of any nation today including Nigeria is beyond buying ammunitions. And I am not just saying this as an individual but as a professional who have sat at conferences and meetings with Chief of defense staff of other nations that are well developed such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America, he stressed

“I am not saying ammunitions are not important. I’m just saying that the issue could be better tackled. These insurgents go in and come out as they please and in spite of the chips we have been talking about, their location have not been discovered. And they are based somewhere around. Why have we not been able to locate where they are? Why have we not been able to locate their movements or their source of funds through which they buy ammunitions?

“I was in a state in the USA in 2014. A group was discovered to be sending money, huge sums of money to a particular widow. When it was investigated, they discovered that the widow was being used to finance terrorists in the state.

“It was Minneapolis. And the widow was tagged “Somalia Widow”. So we need to know how the terrorists here are being financed. So if you block the source of their funding, to a large extent, you have crippled them,” he  added.

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