Security expert Dr Ona Ekhomu has advised the Federal Government to take urgent actions to counter the infiltration of terrorists from the West African Sub-region into Nigeria. He said that Nigeria’s already dire security situation will be severely aggravated if it is further complicated with attacks by foreign Sahelian Jihadi groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS).
President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu was reacting during the weekend to the intelligence provided by the Americans that ISIS and Al-Qaeda terror groups were on the march to Southern Nigeria through the Northwest of the country. He said that the rising spate of terrorist/bandit attacks in the Northwest states of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger State was sufficient evidence of the rapid occupation of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria, from where attacks were being launched.
Dr. Ekhomu said that since Nigeria’s porous borders have made it hard for the authorities to prevent infiltration into the country by foreign terrorists, the law enforcement agencies should detect and arrest these terrorists once on Nigerian soil.
He described the intelligence from the Americans as “timely, and a wakeup call for the Nigerian authorities to strengthen the security infrastructure of the country. Unfortunately, the terrorists have access to illicit weapons. So they are armed and dangerous and must be confronted with overwhelming force”.
The security expert called for robust intelligence analysis and decision analysis by the authorities. He argued that a network analysis would reveal that Boko Haram is related to the Talibans which is related to Al-Qaeda network and ISIS. He characterized ISIS as the most recent incarnation of these violent extremist organizations (VEOs). He said that this network charting was presented in his new book titled: “Boko Haram: Security Considerations and the Rise of an Insurgency”.
He said that the Jihadi terror organizations linked in the network analysis (BH, Taliban, ISIS, AQN) have common goals of repudiating western education and western civilization and proselytizing conversion to Wahabi Salafi Islam or death.
Dr. Ekhomu said that the Jihadi infiltration of Nigeria is a clear and present danger. Said he: “It’s a wicked problem. It’s a messy problem. The solution cannot therefore be the product of feeble thinking. This problem requires robust structured analytic thinking for its resolution. I would advise our military and intelligence analysts to use a powerful analytic tool such as morphological analysis. This will enable the analysts array the threat analytic data into a matrix, set up the dimensions of the problem, and examine permutations of possible different combination of the matrices.”
He advised the Federal Government to redouble efforts at combating Boko Haram and the northwest bandits as they were now coordinating and collaborating their efforts. He said that incursion by jihadists/terrorists from the Sahel into Southern Nigeria would undermine Nigerian unity as it could be misconstrued that the North was exporting terrorists to the South to conduct attacks. He said this could trigger violence throughout the country.
Ekhomu advised that citizens should be mobilized to recognize threats before they become loss events. He urged Nigerian security officials to identify TAPIs (terrorist attack pre-incident indicators) which should be disseminated to the public thereby enrolling them in the prevention of terror attacks. He said that a neighbor who is amassing ammonium nitrate in his house is probably planning to bomb a critical asset. He said this should be reported to the authorities for further action.
Ekhomu advised banks to make suspicious activity reports (SAR) when customers make unusually large cash deposits, as the fund could be proceeds of kidnapping. He urged communities in the South to look out for the foreign terrorists who may be using foliage as cover and report them to the authorities.
Ekhomu advised the office of the National Security Adviser to set up special terrorist hotlines where members of the public could report suspected terrorists. He advised that a cash reward of not less than N5 million be given to citizens who blow the whistle on terrorists and prevent attacks.
He counseled the federal government to utilize the whole of nation approach to prevent large scale attacks on Nigerian soil.