Military intelligence: Northern group demands restructuring

The Northern Advocacy for Peace (NAP), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately remove all heads of the military intelligence units and take further decisive actions to stop the wide spread Boko Haram/ ISWAP and bandits attacks on communities across the country.

The group in a statement signed by its Convener, Ambassador Khalifa Shuaibu, particularly pointed failure of intelligence gathering to the massacre of 30 soldiers and policemen in Shiroro local government area of Niger state.

The group decried the rising spate of bandit attacks, widespread kidnappings and general insecurity in the country, calling on the president to act now and save the country.

“The current mechanism used for gathering intelligence and acting upon it has failed woefully. This nation cannot continue to depend on unpatriotic elements who have failed in securing the nation. Boko Haram and bandits in large numbers operate freely for many hours without any counter response from military. Effective intelligence gathering would trace their movement because they are usually in large numbers,” the group said.

NAP explained that the manner bandits have operated in the last quarter of the year indicate a total failure in the intelligence unit of the military. “It suggests a complete breakdown of intelligence gathering, a sell out by the unit, poor evaluation of intelligence or inability of the military to respond swiftly to available intelligence provided”

NAP maintained that, in the last seven years, President Buhari has approved huge financial interventions in the security sector, leading to purchase of modern technology combat weapons for the security agencies and wondered why with such weaponry, the nation’s armed forces has been unable to get rid of BokoHaram / ISWAP and banditry in the country.

“Many communities have been taken over by Boko Haram/ ISWAP fighters and bandits who have imposed heavy taxes on communities and held residents hostage making life unbearable for citizens in their own country.

“Several months, after the Kaduna train attack, bandits are still holding kidnapped victims hostage, yet the military has been unable to provide intelligence for the release of these hostages. Similarly, large numbers of school children are kidnapped and moved into the hinterland yet the military fails to track down the kidnappers until some are killed and huge ransom collected before their release. This suggests sabotage or collaboration within the security architecture.

“In the last few weeks, there have been attacks in Kajuru LGA leading to the death of 14 persons and kidnapping of many, Farfaru and kwari communities in Jibia, Mada district in Gusau LGA in Zamfara, Alkaleri in Bauchi and many others.

“There has been a news reports that terrorists using a helicopter killed 33 people in Kaduna LGA. If this news is anything to take seriously, one will wonder how a helicopter will get into the Nigerian airspace unnoticed”, the statement noted.

The group warned that if the military does not rise up swiftly to nip the insecurity in the country in the bud, the latest attacks on churches might be a ploy by enemies of the country to plunge the nation into a religious war.

“Terrorists have been attacking and kidnapping priests. Recently, in Kujama LGA, Rev. Vitus Borogo was shot on his farm. Similarly, the lifeless body of Alphonsus Bello, a reverend father, was found on a farmland behind the Catechetical Training School, Malumfashi in Katsina State. The Owo Church attack is still fresh in memory.

Ambassador Khalifa Shuaibu insisted that insecurity has rather risen in the last few months with more daring attacks. This calls for President Buhari to take determined action maintaining that the security architecture needs to be urgently restructured.

“We have called on Mr President in the past to sack service chiefs and shake up the intelligence gathering in the military. Today we have more reasons to be vehement and vociferous in this demand. Mr President must act now”, the statement added.