News / Africa

Nigeria Government Lacks Security Strategy, Says Analyst

Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan, visits the site of the police headquarters bombed by a suicide bomber in Kano, Nigeria, January 22, 2012.
Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan, visits the site of the police headquarters bombed by a suicide bomber in Kano, Nigeria, January 22, 2012.

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  • Clottey interview with Hussaini Mongunu, a Nigerian security analyst

Peter Clottey

A security analyst says Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration have failed to implement an effective strategy to combat the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Hussaini Mongunu called on the administration to focus more on gathering actionable intelligence on the group so it can be defeated.

“Boko Haram doesn’t wear a uniform. They don’t have any place marked Boko Haram. Therefore placing military with uniforms there will never solve the problem,” said Mongunu. “What we need in all their strongholds are enough plain clothes intelligence people who will gather intelligence about the Boko Haram activities.”

Mongunu called on the government replace security forces in the sect’s strongholds with plain-clothed undercover police.

Some Nigerians are expressing concern the militant group seems to be gaining momentum following Friday’s bombings in the northern city of Kano that left at least 131 people dead and scores injured. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the assault which largely targeted police stations and government buildings.

The government and other civil society and religious organizations have condemned the violence.

Mongunu said security agencies have failed to decisively deal with the challenges posed by the militants. He faulted the police for not gaining intelligence when it captured one of the leaders of the group before his death.

“If Mohammed Yusuf [sect leader] was alive today, we would have been able to know who was funding them and who is giving them training,” said Mongunu. “The [police] have [failed to get information on] where Boko Haram is taking their training their funds and their expertise. So, the police are part of the problem.”

He also said the lack of information is self-defeating.

“Government needs to know who armed Boko Haram and for what purposes. Government needs to dig more [about] who the politicians [backing them] are,” said Mongunu. “If they are ready, [the public] will give them intelligence on who are responsible. But, as it is today, the government is not ready to do it. So any day, when we have a responsible government [which] is ready to tackle this problem with genuine interest, we will surely assist.”

Mongunu also said the administration has yet to live up to its mandate, which he says is to protect Nigerians and their property.

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