Modern military technology recommended to halt Nigeria’s festering security challenges

Nigeria is currently plagued by diverse criminal activities perpetrated by terrorists, killer herders, kidnappers and cultists. The attacks once common to the northern part of the country are gradually sneaking to southern parts with institutional and governmental structures appearing helpless in curbing them.

Kidnapping-for-ransom now booms and terrorists sack helpless villagers in coordinated attacks which leave many in mourning mood. In the past few years, Nigeria has recorded attacks and kidnappings with victims paying huge amounts as ransoms in naira and foreign currencies.

In 2009, the terror group, Boko Haram and soldiers clashed leading to heavy casualties between July 26 and July 29, 2009. The attacks happened in four different locations viz  Bauchi, Bauchi State, Maiduguri, Borno State, Potiskum, Yobe State, and Wudil, Kano State. The clashes were believed to have marked the dawn of violent attacks by insurgents in Nigeria.

In the past years, the country has been in the grip of mindless bloodletting perpetrated by insurgents and strangely, ‘unknown gunmen.’ Many villagers were rendered homeless, necessitating emergency internally displaced persons’ camps.

Lately, on March 28, 2022, a train of the Nigeria Railway Corporation heading for Kaduna State from Abuja was attacked in Katari, Kaduna State with 168 passengers kidnapped while eight passengers died during the coordinated attacks. The abductors used explosives. After the attack, the abductors release the hostages in batches upon ransom payment.

Similarly, gunmen killed a pregnant woman, Harira Jibrin and her four children at Isulo in the Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State on May 26, 2022. The attack also claimed the lives of six others.

On June 5, a mass shooting and bombing occurred at a Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State. The incident claimed the lives of over 40 worshippers including children and women.

On July 5, 2022, the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, Abuja, was attacked and inmates freed.

A militant group, the Islamic State’s West African Province claimed responsibility for the attack which it carried out to free some of its incarcerated fighters.

In July, the terrorists also ambushed the presidential advance team in Dutsinma, Katsina State, injuring two security men in daring attack.

However, despite the abysmal level of security in Nigeria, statistics-based site monitoring defence-related information globally, GlobalFirepower, ranked the country’s military as 35th most powerful in the world and fourth in Africa.

Notwithstanding these attacks, security experts noted countries employed advanced with high-powered technological devices used to tackle insecurity to achieve a better approach to defence and national security. Some of the devices they identify include drones, GPS tracking, gunshot detection, satellites, Artificial Intelligence, airplanes, tanks, computers, artillery and video surveillance among others.

During his inauguration as Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency, Dr Halilu Shaba, harped on the need for the development of satellite technology in the country to curb insecurity plagued the country.

In his view on the issue, a security expert, Adamu Sagir, stated that the security was based on human intelligence and intelligence gathering through the use of technological devices capable of rescuing Nigeria from its current security challenges.

He added that many states in the country had several forests which terrorists and other criminals use as hideouts to carry out their nefarious activities.

Sagir said, “Apart from the fact that the military does not have enough facilities, one can’t send a soldier to guard a forest and pay him N1000 for example. There’s an obvious issue of underpaying soldiers which can be traced to corruption. Sadly, there are budgets for defence every year but they are not properly utilised.”

He noted that fighting wars and tackling insecurity globally had advanced, urging Nigeria to seek help in copying the security models.

He added, “The military should by now be using drones to gather information across the threatened states. We have heard that the criminals use of the locals to get information to operate across states.’’

The security expert added that if security agents used the equipment to gather accurate intelligence, they would be able to forestall attacks and tackle them as they come.

Also, a security and safety consultant, Oladele Fajana, noted that before insecurity could be properly tackled in Nigeria, the military had to understand the operational modes of the terror groups.

He said, “By now, Nigeria should have abandoned the idea of confrontation and deploy technology such as drones in tracing these groups. That is the only alternative technology that can be used today. Look at the number of soldiers that has been lost in the country in the fight against terrorism. If technologies are deployed, it will drastically reduce the number of casualties on the side of the nation’s military.

“How can a group carry out an attack in the Federal Capital Territory and leave without being apprehended? The military needs to engage the groups using technological developments of international communities.

“Look at the Abuja-Kaduna train attacks, some of the victims are still in captivity. The government can deploy drones to track the perpetrators and identify their locations. The National Identification Number is another technology not used in the right way. The criminals communicate with the families of the victims through phones. The NIN should be used as an advantage to track them.’’

Fajana noted that indeed if the military was trying its best at the moment, then it was not enough.

He urged the military not to wait anymore until places were attacked by terrorists but to always be ahead of them of the criminals by anticipating attacks using modern devices for security and safety.

A security consultant, John Eweliku, noted that apart from the regular approach used by the military, adopting technology would create a paradigm shift and fill the gap of tackling insecurity which the country had faced over the years.

He said, “Look at CCTVs that we see in supermarkets and stores, this is a technological device that can be crucial in curtailing insecurity in Nigeria.  In Kano State, there are CCTVs in many areas of the state and at the governor’s office; there is a control room which they use in monitoring occurrences in the state. One can see the rate of reduced criminality in the state after the adoption of this technology.

“If you compare Kano State to other northern states such as Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto states and others, you will realise that there is a huge gap and a working security.’’

Eweliku noted that down to the country’s oil pipelines, trackers and CCTVs could be placed in strategic areas to monitor and send information to the control rooms to know when criminals were vandalising the pipelines.

He said, “Another state doing well is Borno State. The state has also made use of CCTVs in monitoring the state. You will note that the war against insurgency in the state is making a lot of progress.”

Eweliku, however, stated that there was the need for a high maintenance culture if Nigeria intended to use technology in fighting crimes. He also noted that replacement culture was vital so that with immediacy, any faulty technological device would be replaced.

He added that without imbibing these two cultures, it would be almost impossible to record successes in the fight against insecurity.

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