In truth, the challenge in Nigeria is not absence of patriotic Nigerians to offer information on insecurity, but HOW their safety can be guaranteed after supplying intelligence on crime; thus Anonymous Mail-in Crime Report (AMICAR) intend to provide answer to this HOW?
Nowhere in the history of modern world has insurgency been defeated by only force of arm; it has always been by carrot and stick. Often time, people mistake separatist agitation for insurgency. More often than not, separatist agitation starts after complaint of marginalization by usually an organic group within a country, was ignored, by usually the dominant ruling group; while insurgency, particularly asymmetric variant in a multi-ethnic setting like Nigeria, is caused by combination of factors, like feeling of being “cheated” by ethnic group(s) within a geographical space. Political marginalization of a group within sub-nationals could also trigger insurgency within that enclave. Power struggle by political blocks within sub-national spaces, is another causative factor. Nigeria can easily contain the current asymmetric insurgency by strategic mobilization and deployment of the Collective Will of Nigerians to do so. The big question here is HOW?
It is hard to defeat known separatist group within a country, and even harder to crush asymmetric insurgency in multi-ethnic setting like Nigeria. Example will suffice here. In Sri-Lanka for instance, the Sinhalese ethnic group-led government was able to defeat Tamil Tiger separatist agitation after more than 30 years of fighting. Initially, authorities in Philippines thought it could defeat Hukbalahap gorilla insurgent movement with only force of arm, but discovered it was losing the war and sought help. The assistance came when the then President, Ramon Magsaysay was advised by General Edward Lansdale, to adopt a simple counter insurgency measures, this led to the death of Hukbalahap insurgent movement. What Nigeria needs to defeat the current asymmetric insurgency is the Philippines option, and that is, Strategic Mobilization and Deployment of the Collective Will of Nigerians to fight insecurity in the country. This is without prejudice to current effort of government in the fight against insecurity. In a nutshell, Direct and Indirect community based intelligence gathering system is solution to defeating insecurity in the country.
It appears to this writer that lack of understanding of the correlation between Insecurity and Insurgency, and how to go about it, is largely responsible for festering of insurgency in Nigeria. A simple dictionary definition of both words will suffice. Insurgency is defined as: “an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict”. On the other hand; Insecurity is: “the state of being subject to danger or injury”. A careful look at the two definitions shows Insecurity as being a by- product of the first leg of Insurgency, which is Subversion. From the definition of Insurgency, it has two components, (a) Subversion (b) Armed Conflict. It follows therefore that organized insecurity in Nigeria, is a product of successful Subversion of the Nation’s security system. For clarity, organized insecurity takes the shape of kidnapping, banditry, unknown gunmen killing, organized armed robbery and any other crime involving conceptualization and planning, and involves more than one person.
A brief interrogation of insurgency in the Philippines and separatist agitation in Sri Lanka will enhance understanding of insecurity in Nigeria and solution that may complement the effort of security agencies in fighting the menace in the country. In 1950s in Philippines, Luis Taruc-led Hukbalahap gorilla group, said to be Communist inspired, was on the verge of toppling President Elpidio Quirino-led Philippines government, though, Quirino managed to handover to Ramon Magsasay after a democratic election. Account has it that after his election, Magsasay, determined to put an end to Huk guerilla movement, invited General Edward Lansdale, an American who was believed to be the best counter insurgency expert in the world at a time; to help him wipe out the insutgents.
After surveying and assessing Philippines political landscape, General Lansdale who was invited for help by the country, advised Ramon Magsasay to: 1.Wipe out corruption in the country 2. Bring his government near to the people. President Magsasay followed Lansdale’s advice and achieved result. The situation was the exact opposite in Sri-Lanka. There are two main social groups in Sri-Lanka: Sinhalese ethnic group 75% and Tamil ethnic group 18%. The official language in the country is Sinhala. In a nutshell, what happened in Sri-Lanka was ethnic cleansing, but it took Sinhalese-led government more than 30 years to defeat Tamil Tigers. So, the argument in some quarters in Nigeria that Sri-Lanka option can be used to defeat insurgency, is at best, narrow because the setting is not the same.
The point this writer is trying to make is, though in Philippines, the then insurgent group was Huk gorilla only, but in Nigeria, the insurgent groups are amorphous in nature, worst still, they are working for different purposes. The insurgents are in almost all the geo-political zones in country. While it was easy for Philippines to localize Huk guerilla movement, it is difficult to realistically pinpoint insurgent groups’ leadership in Nigeria. This writer believes Philippines approach can be adopted with modification in Nigeria. One of the advices General Edward Lansdale gave to President Ramon Magsasay was to bring government nearer to the people. The question here is how will President Bola Tinubu bring his government nearer to Nigerians in terms of preventing and fighting insurgency induced insecurity? One of the ways to do this is via Anonymous Mail-in Crime Report (AMICAR). AMICAR seeks to make every Nigerian, without exception, a whistle blower on insecurity. If every Nigerian is a whistle blower, FG would have succeeded in bringing government nearer to the citizens, as far as insecurity is concerned.
Going forward, as part of thinking out of the Box, Federal Government via ONSA may institute a Community Based Strategic Security Ecosystem (CBSSE), within which AMICAR will be complementing other existing intelligence gathering channels in every community in Nigeria. Anonymous Mail-in Crime Report (AMICAR) is an intelligence gathering system that is aimed at preventing organized crimes in Nigeria. AMICAR will complement the efforts of: Traditional Rulers, Community Leaders, Religious Leaders and other stakeholders in security management in our various communities in Nigeria; if the President, at the national level and the Governors at the sub-national levels elect to offer Effective Leadership on AMICAR.
CBSSE will automatically mean that no community in Nigeria can genuinely complain of insecurity in Nigeria again. CBSSE can automatically stop or drastically reduce Kidnapping, Banditry, Unknown Gunmen and other organized crimes in Nigeria. Why would any community in Nigeria complain of insecurity when they can Directly or Indirectly supply information on crime to Police under CBSSE? AMICAR will complement other intelligence gathering systems, such that every community in Nigeria will have a full complement of information supply system. The good aspect of AMICAR is that the President and Governors can monitor it because it is a Data based programme. “Exact primary Data, they say, don’t lie”. If President Tinubu-led government via ONSA is interested in thinking out of the box, as far as insecurity in Nigeria is concerned, AMICAR complemented CBSSE is probably the solution.
Good enough, Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, made distinction between Effectiveness and Efficiency. According to him, efficiency is concerned with doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. Similarly, Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things. If Drucker’s thought on Effective Leadership – doing the right things, is juxtaposed with AMICAR, it will be seen that the task before President Tinubu under AMICAR, as the Apex Chief Security Officer of Nigeria, simple, ask Police authorities Data based questions and demand answers. Good enough, Nuhu Ribadu-led ONSA will coordinate the Data Harvesting, Management and Evaluation component of AMICAR, for efficiency and effectiveness.
It may interest Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led ONSA to note that research by statista.com on Trust in Police by country shows Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden as the top three (3) countries in the world. The citizens of these three countries have high Trust in operation of their Police. In Sweden, however, it was discovered that the country has National Council for Crime Prevention (NCCP). The Council’s mission is to reduce crime and improve levels of safety in society by producing data and disseminating knowledge on crime and crime prevention work. It also produces Sweden’s official crime statistics, evaluates reforms, conducts research to develop new knowledge and provides support to local crime prevention work. This is exactly what Anonymous Mail-in Crime Report (AMICR) under ONSA will be saddled with.
If Government, Federal, State and LGAs want to SCIENTIFICALLY end insecurity in Nigeria, Anonymous Mail-in Crime Report (AMICAR) should be adopted as auxiliary National Security Policy immediately. AMICAR is purely Intelligence Gathering Action Plan that seeks to make every Nigerian a Whistle Blower on Insecurity in the country. It ensures the safety of any Nigerian offering intelligence on crime in his community, as his or her identity will not be known. It is designed to prevent organized crimes in our various communities in Nigeria. It is non kinetic in nature. It ensures equality of access to intelligence offering in Nigeria. It gives the Chief Security in command (CSOs), the President, at the national level and Governors at the sub-national levels, real power to oversight Police managers via Exact Primary Data.It is capable of enhancing professionalism in Policing in Nigeria. It ensures the safety of Policemen, in and out of duty, as they will be harvesting intelligence on crime on 247 because it is anchored on Sun Tsu’s maxim: “if you know your enemy, in hundred battles, he will be defeated”.
AMICAR will eliminate Misinformation around insecurity like Insecurity tag & Profiling, Hate Speech and Fake news. Most of, if not all the reports linking Kidnapping, Assassination, Banditry etc to activities of Fulani herdsmen, are not entirely true, but because Nigerians don’t have the opportunity of utilizing a Secured and Protective intelligence gathering channel, to report criminal activities within their immediate environments; ethnic profiling has become the order of the day. When AMICAR comes on board, Nigerians will have the opportunity of divulging accurate information about Insecurity Masterminds and Perpetrators unhindered. This will render Hate Speech, Fake and Hate news purveyors irrelevant, as they will be ignored for good.
The Fundamental reason behind AMICAR is Trust: It appears the mindset of Nigerians on Police is that of mistrust. This Trust problem leads to apparent lack of Confidence in the police in the area of supplying information on criminality. Confidentiality Hazard: In effort at offering intelligence via phone, the problem of trace back to source occasioned by wire tap and hacking becomes another impediment. Fear that useful information supplied may be swept under the carpet or complainant becoming an accused; generally militate against effective policing in Nigeria. Thus in AMICAR, NIPOST will serve as Intermediary or go-between the citizens’ and Police towards intelligence gathering for crime prevention and fighting in Nigeria. In terms spread, NIPOST and Police run neck and neck, as far as presence in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria is concerned. With NIPOST having about 5000+ outlets scattered all over Nigeria, and with Police having even more outlets, hence the imperativeness of AMICAR.
It is instructive to note that work on AMICAR is about 95% completed. Both Police and NIPOST have been interfaced with, in line with directive from OSGF to the promoters, and report on the interface between the promoters and the two establishments on the action plan, had since been submitted to Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF). It is expected that the needful will be done on the report by OSGF in line with its constitutional mandate of monitoring, coordinating the implementation of government policies, and programmes, serves as the frontline advisory institution of the Presidency; drives policy formulation, harmonization, and implementation; and monitors Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The report in question contained the video of the power point presentation which the promoters separately made at Nigeria Police headquarters as well at NIPOST headquarters. The Police and NIPOST are however, expected to turn in their report to OSGF. To this end, it is expected that the normal channel of communication between ONSA and OSGF is opened so that all concerned will make input towards implementation of the programme.
The urgent task before Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led ONSA is the coordination of the final part of AMICAR so that President Bola Tinubu may issue Executive Order on it. Once Executive Order issued, AMICAR will automatically become a law in Nigeria. This will galvanize the interest of Nigerians on the programme. An Executive Order proclamation on AMICAR will give meaning to FG-led Community Policing, as every Nigerian will automatically take charge of security within their community. This writer believes that AMICAR represents a classical thinking out of the BOX towards solving insecurity problem in Nigeria.
Emeka Oraetoka is Advocate, Anonymous Mail-in Crime Report (AMICAR)
He writes from Abuja.