'Nigerians should expect more bombings'

2011-08-29
THE PUNCH Newspaper

Nigerians should expect more bombings in the months ahead, sources in the nation’s security services have said.



Top security officials who spoke to our correspondents on Sunday said the security agencies were not capable of stemming the tide of terrorism in the country.



A source said sensitive positions in the country’s security establishment were occupied by agents who were not properly recruited, were poorly trained and lacked the competencies needed to gather actionable intelligence.



“We are not making any attempt to stop bombings in the country. We simply lack what it takes to do so,” a senior official in one of the security services told one of our correspondents in Abuja on Sunday.



The shocking revelation came on the heels of the death of at least 18 people in last Friday’s bombing of the United Nations office in Abuja. The fundamentalist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, has claimed responsibility for the bombing which has attracted condemnation globally.



The source, who pleaded anonymity, said, “One would have thought that by now, the security agencies would have been able to find a lasting solution to the bombings.



“Then, we would expect that security agencies would also have been able to infiltrate the ranks of those responsible for the attacks.



“But I can tell you that there is nothing like that here. We are practically not doing anything either to stop the bombings or to even infiltrate the ranks of the bombers.



“The thinking in the security circle is that the bombing is a phase that would soon fade away. What we are doing now is what we call ‘fire brigade approach’.



“When bomb explodes somewhere, we go there with guns, metal detectors and other minor equipment. But after that, what else do you see? We leave after a few days and the old order continues.”



Another source in the security establishment said the government appeared not to be interested in making the agencies in charge of the nation effective. The source, who also requested anonymity, said government was only “interested in playing politics with everything.”



The source added, “When last did our people go for training? Even the so-called Anti-Terrorism Squad in the Police, where were they trained? Majority of them were drawn from the riot police without being given further training.



“It will be interesting to note that most security agencies rely on newspaper reports to get information. It is like we are being trained by investigative journalists now.”



The source and others bemoaned the fact that the government often sacrificed experience and competence for other considerations while making appointments into key positions in the security sector. They added that this situation had turned otherwise brilliant agents into frustrated personnel.



According to the sources, ethnicity, religion, political affiliations, personal relationships and other irrelevant factors are considered before merit.



One of the sources cited the appointment of one of the security chiefs as an example. He said when it was time to find a replacement for the former head of one of the security agencies, one of his deputies who had been prepared to succeed him “was dropped at the last minute because he was suspected in some quarters to be sympathetic to an opposition party.”



The US in a recent security appraisal report titled, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2010,” an annual congressional report that provides trends and events on global terrorism, states that Nigeria lacks the security apparatus and capacity to combat terrorism.


 

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