- President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to strengthen the Defence Intelligence Agency as Nigeria seeks to defeat terrorists and bandits
- A coalition of CSOs and NGOs urged the president to ensure the DIA is not distracted by its core duties due to internal wrangling in the military
- The group also noted that the shortcomings of the DIA have also affected the efforts of the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Mongonu (rtd)
FCT, Abuja - A coalition of Civil Society Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) in order to win the war against insurgency and banditry in Nigeria.
A statement sent to Legit.ng jointly signed by, Dr Aliyu Bello of Peace and Conflict Resolution Initiative and Ambassador Jude Uchenna of Alliance for Justice and Peace gave the advice to the president.
The group noted that the failure of the DIA in providing links that will lead the troops on the battlefield as well as rancour within the military hierarchy has affected the fight against insurgency and banditry
Giving insights as to why the war against insurgency and other violent crimes is persisting in the country despite huge support given to security agencies, the coalition stated that efforts of the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Mongonu (rtd), is being hampered due to lack of coordination.
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The groups lamented that:
“Monguno, a brilliant and determined intelligence officer who understands what national security entails seems to be caught up in this whole battle or web.”
According to them, unless urgent steps are taken to resolve internal wranglings in the military architecture and the DIA effectively strengthened, the challenge of insecurity may regrettably persist.
Killing of 322 police, 642 soldiers, indicate we are in very difficult circumstances, Northern Elders lament
It further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to look inward and right some of these wrongs stressing that they are fundamental lapses that should not be allowed in the military especially within the intelligence unit.
The group noted:
“The attacks on military formations and some communities makes one begin to question the Defence Intelligence Agency strategy of intelligence gathering.
“This is because the agency is vested with the responsibility to provide an efficient system of obtaining military intelligence for the Nigerian Armed Forces and ministry of defence and enhance military cooperation with other countries, protect the lives of Nigerian citizens, and maintain the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“However, blame must be squarely put at their doorstep for failure to provide the best intelligence possible to deal with the terrorists.
“Very importantly, there is sabotage even within the military and other security agencies involved in the war against terrorism. There seem to be ill feelings within the ranks of the military as a result of the violation of the seniority and ranking order of appointing heads of formations.
“The head of the Chief of Army Staff and the head of Defence Intelligence Agency are of course 37. With these appointments, all seniors in the intelligence unit, especially in the army have been moved to the Army Resource Center.
“This has relegated the experience of the members of the course 36 participants. This is seen as a grave injustice to course 36 and capable of nurturing sabotage and even mutiny.”
Group blames intelligence failure for the increase in terrorists, bandits' attacks
Recall that a coalition of 76 NGOs and civil society activists have knocked the intelligence arms of the military and the Department of State Security Services (DSS) for continued attacks on military formations and other infrastructure of the state by terrorists.
The activists also lamented over the kidnapping and robbery by bandits saying the attacks were not only a setback to the war against insecurity but a blatant embarrassment to the armed forces and Nigeria in general.
The group particularly made reference to the recent kidnapping of travellers in broad daylight along Abuja-Kaduna road, an attack in Borno that resulted in the killing of an army chief and three other soldiers, and several others as clear instances of intelligence failure.
Nigerian military accuses CJTF commander, of aiding bandits in Kaduna
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Military has accused a commander of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), Aminu Sani, in the Rigasa area of Kaduna of aiding banditry in the state.
Sani, popularly known as Bolo in the area was arrested by troops of the Operation Thunder Strike and Whirl Punch.
Speaking on Sani's arrest, defence spokesperson, Brigadier-General Benard Onyeuko said Sani was arrested because he was aiding bandits in the state with their operations.