Our biggest friend, the United States, also happens to have years of experience in dealing with terrorists, and fighting a war against terrorism. It is expected then that the U.S is doing as much as it can to help us win our own fight against these insurgents called ‘boko haram’.
I wish to point out that the strain of terrorism Nigeria is grappling with is quite different from what the United States has been confronting over the years. The United States has had to fight terrorists in foreign countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen. But very rarely has the U.S government had to fight with such criminals who double as Americans on its own soil.
For me, this difference is significant. In places where the U.S government is engaged in fighting terrorists, although it is reported that progress is being made, we still hear news of terror attacks: Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. The immediate goal in those foreign countries is to reduce the spate of these attacks, to contain them, or to achieve some ‘good enough’ conditions, with the hope that in a future time, these criminals would be defeated. Nigeria cannot before such ‘luxury’ on her own soil. And I am certain the U.S would not accept such ‘good enough’ terms.
So it is good for our Nigerian defense chiefs to point this out and work together with our willing friends to develop a methodology that really works and wipe out this problem.
What I am saying in short is that the traditional method of soldier combat isn’t good enough for us if we really want to see these attacks completely stopped and made impossible on our soil. That means our entire security system needs a radical improvement, a sort of resurrection. The police, road safety, immigration service, institutions responsible for vehicle registration and drivers’ licensing, the army- everything needs a major shift upward. Specialized training on how to treat sensitive information and to deal with these crooks is highly needed.
Something like the U.S version of ‘homeland security + counterterrorism unit + CIA + the army’. Nigeria already has a skeletal copy of these institutions. But skeletons hardly achieve much. These things need to put on flesh, receive breath and live.
Therefore, I am expecting to see the government’s strategy to counter terrorism; I am expecting that security becomes a crucial part of our election debates; I am expecting to see real security structures: offices, equipments, and teams, springing real soon. Such developments please me and reassure me far beyond holding a national conference that costs the government twelve million naira per seat.