We Can’t Defeat Boko Haram Until Nigeria Has This

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boko instaIn light of the recent and tragic Nyanya bombings, the boko haram chatter amongst Nigerians has increased. Most people are discussing how to counter boko haram, some have suggested prayer, some have suggested the good old army search and destroy strategy, some have even hinted that newspapers might hold cryptic messages that can help us find boko haram…

But the fact it that terrorism is not a new phenomenal, its happened before in other parts of the world and the truth is that it is very very difficult to fight.

But there are things you do, fundamental systems that you put in place that make the fight a bit easier and more winnable. However in the case of Nigeria we ignore these things and instead resort to the spiritual and military solutions ignoring the big glaring hole in our system … a hole that makes the fight against boko haram almost impossible.

From the President to the Army to the Press to Critics…we all ignore it. We ignore the fact that Nigeria has no National Identification system whatsoever. How can you fight an enemy that you cannot see an enemy that you cannot track. You will be constantly chasing shadows. And that is what we have been doing for years…chasing shadows and cleaning up blood.

We have talked about a National Identification system, run adverts on it, probably even given out the contract, but to date we do not have a National ID card system. I mean you could board a domestic aircraft in Nigeria today with any plastic card with a passport picture, your full name and a fake business logo printed on the card and you will be allowed to fly anywhere in Nigeria. Anywhere!

If that is happening in our airlines, then what is happening in our bus systems at our borders? In Borno? It’s like having a house and not knowing who is entering and leaving.

Now don’t get me wrong, we need security, but not just the Gun and Bomb type security, we need paper security. And the ammunition for this paper security are National ID’s. That is how America fights terrorism, it is not bombing and blasting, they simply track and track, although not a perfect system, they strive to know who is entering their country at any given time, they can identify a terrorist cell network by linking phone data all tied to what…a National ID!

Because we don’t have this system in place, everything we do is trivialized, intelligence is stupefied. Even the great ideas we generate become useless. For example mandating that all sim cards are registered to individuals is a phenomenal idea on paper but its mockery in execution. Why? Because it has no foundation, how can you register individuals without a well defined identification system?

If a terrorist or criminal is caught in America, they can link him with people they spoke to last, they can even tell what food he ate the night before and who he slept with and for how long (in some cases..lol).

That’s how they sway the war on terrorism to their advantage. Because the fact is this…even America cannot protect its entire citizenship, they cannot stop a lone shooter from picking up a gun and killing people with it, they can’t stop a high school student from stabbing his classmates to death, they can’t even stop a veteran solider from tossing a bomb into a fortified military cantonment. They can’t stop any of that.

But what they can do, and what they do is make it difficult for large terrorist networks to operate. They disrupt the networks so much that they (the terrorists) find it difficult to plan coordinated large scale attacks, so instead what happens are loners, lone shooters, lone terrorists executing small scale attacks on their own.

Their Nuclear capability, the number of times they pray in church or cryptic messages in the newspapers is not how they fight terrorists or what keeps them safe. Its the data and the unit of data is a well defined National ID system.

So when the Nigeria military turns off cell phone towers, the Americans amplify theirs because they want to gather intelligence.

Ask yourself why on earth does Nigeria not have a National ID system by now? Why? It’s 2014. Until a President or opposition party makes a National identification system a National priority, we would just be chasing shadows and cleaning up blood. And that’s the sad truth.

Nigeria, the problems are plenty, but the solutions … at least some of them are very basic and starring us in the eye.

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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39 comments on “We Can’t Defeat Boko Haram Until Nigeria Has This

  1. wolewonder@gmail.com on said:

    Well said sir,it is sad that if the system of creating I.ds is put in place some people will use it as a source of income…they either sell the gadgets to be used or make the exercise difficult so people can pay extra for “express” delivery just like they do with drivers license. Still our government must do something to have intelligence.

  2. Quite insightful. I began my identity card process some months back; i was given a temporary one pending on when the original would be ready. I doubt I’d ever get it though

    There are good initiatives in this country but truth is if you give a ferrari to a 5 year old, he’d inevitably crash it. Nigeria is that 5 year old and until we grow up, we’re still going to remain here.
    kayode latest post is The JourneyMy Profile

  3. Ow do those ones in d rural areas get d ID’s, some will even tell u its of no use to dem and they won’t do it, do not forget most of the bh boys are illiterates. You can only track d registered ones.

    • Dupe…it is step by step. If we are not mandating it in the city it will definitely not work in the VIllage. But if we start in the city and push it…it will eventually trickle to the city.

  4. We’re like minds. This is my own response some 24 hours back. Check the third sentence.

    “What do you expect. Dem no dey plant orange dey expect mango. Database is non existent in the country, our infrastructure and technology is backward, and our people are too busy trying to get more than enough share of the national cake to give a fuck about anything but self. Na to leave am for God like we always do. Feel free to type “Amen” if you believe.”
    trae_z latest post is The CuratorMy Profile

  5. “Nigeria, the problems are plenty, but the solutions … at least some of them are very basic and starring us in the eye.” That quote right there…that quote! Sometimes I sit and wonder what kind of brain the people running our dear country possess! I mean, it’s 2014 for goodness sake…and yet with all our “supposedly large economy and wealth”…we’re still unable to sort of the most trivial of issues. We have got our priorities so fucked up! Pardon the language, I’m really upset. This even goes way beyond the boko haram and National ID issue. The sad part is, when you’re on social networks like blogs and twitter…you’ll realize they’re actually a lot of very enlightened and forward thinking people in Nigeria…they’re just not in positions of power, kinda makes you wonder how that happened..makes it really hard to be patriotic…really hard.

  6. Interesting, I think you have given a concrete path to preventing what is turning out to be a long term fight against terrorism. The thing with the national ID card system is that it will also address crime and be a better means of identifying casualties. What happens anytime there is a large number people that die in Nigeria is that some people remain unclaimed for some time.

    I think technology is another friend in our fight against these terrorists. We need CCTV, bomb detectors, phone tapping. We also need to have undercover agents and infiltrate the group. Cooperation with our neighbors and foreign countries is very key. We need to track their source of funding and weapons and shut it.

    I daresay the security situation should be the number one priority for every Nigerian and every Nigerian government.
    Sir Farouk latest post is Here’s The Thing: Death, Terrorism and NigeriaMy Profile

    • Sir Farouk…I could hug you! “What happens anytime there is a large number people that die in Nigeria is that some people remain unclaimed for some time” you hit the nail on the head. In other countries when people die, you know who they are, you can identify them but there…nothing. No whereabouts nothing.

  7. Lack of these identification means is just one of the problems. I think Sir Farouk mentioned some other key things too. If the Govt were to launch this thing now. They’d first set up a “committee” then those ones go “thief” our money and then they’d set up another committee to investigate and that’s how the “thing” go dey go. The whole structure is just too bad. Anybody is entering anywhere, anyhow. Once you fix corruption. You have fixed Nigeria. This National ID thing might take time to fix if they start now (like years) because nothing is working. And we need something that’ll work NOW!

    • Sadiq you are quite right. But there are ways around it. What if Credit/Debit Cards had picture IDs on them. That will be a start, that way you can use your Card as a means of Identification..in doing so the responsibility has shifted out of the governments hands. What if voter registration cards could be used as ID cards…that could be renewed every 4 years, there are plenty ways, but we are not talking about them. Simply because National ID is not a Government priority!

  8. Well said bro. I have always said that our problem stems from a lack of structure or even a desire to put one in place. This problem is across the board. We have a tendency to think that because each day comes and goes without the so called ‘structure’ being there, we don’t need it. Shame. I think you used the word ‘some’ loosely, it not ‘some’ of our solutions, it’s ‘ALL’ of our solutions are rather simple, we just love to make things unnecessarily cumbersome…

    • Thanks KDL. Just getting time to respond. First of all thanks for the awesome articles you write on religion. On your comment you are quite right…most abi all of our problems have easy solutions because other countries have experienced it and overcome it. So all we have to do is….copy…finito!

    • The National ID one is really tricky. But I think we can start from domestic air-flights and then Ekene Dili Chukwu dem. If we can pass a bill or initiate a bill that requires valid ID (Passport, Drivers License or NYSC card) to be used before boarding then we might..just might be able to trigger a pattern of requiring National IDs across the nation.

  9. bisiogun33@gmail.com on said:

    Wow. Well said! I agree with you 100%. If I could move back to Nigeria to help put a successful National identification system in order without pay I would definitely do it! This is something our country desperately needs not only for the sake of fighting terrorism.

  10. tejflow@gmail.com on said:

    I did the biometrics for a National Identity card sometime in 2009 and I am still awaiting the outcome. Such pathetic identification process and no one cares enough that a contract implemented is not being carried out!
    The problem however starts from each one of us. It starts from those little greed we overlook around us everyday. A scenario is a case where I put some confectioneries on my office table for colleagues to come and take one and at least help keep their mouth busy while working as I work within an extremely fast paced environment. One colleague at times may get to take 7 sweets out of 10, another may take 3 out of the remaining 4 while one or two persons have actually taken everything in the bowl. Very few people get to actually take just one amidst the plenty on my table. Everyone is looking out for themselves and their immediate satisfaction not considering the other staff in the building that may feel perkish after a bout of sheer hard-work. Another scenario is at a filling station during extreme fuel scarcity where one person comes and fill his car tank, his two 25ltrs jerry can, his generator tank and even collects another jerry can from the filling station to buy extra fuel and by the end of the day, the fuel finishes as soon as he is done and other motorists are just there to express outrage and shock at such blatant display of selfishness. That’s greed for you in Naija. Everyone is afflicted. Or in another relatable scenario where you attend a seminar, church, parties or even at a public cinema and you see people keeping empty space(s) for people still at home or on their way while the person(s) asking if the seats are occupied stands with his/her kids/hubby/spouse/friends looking lost with packs of popcorns and drinks threatening to fall off their respective hands. Where am I heading with this: new recruits come into government and public power every year and start their own companies and have opportunities to contribute to the development of the nation but what do they do? They get to power and recycle the same ol’ bulls**t by restarting another level or a newer phase of corruption, wanting to take out what they can for just themselves and their relatives while still there and using the same inferior tactics, fraudulent products after being given the contract; NYSC clothes, T shirts, boots are all proof that corruption and greed does not lie with the government. No one is willing to be different and be honest as we all, friends (all of us) and families(all of us) are quick to berate people that choose to stand alone and say “there is nothing you can do o just forget it” and the band wagon welcomes a new corrupt recruit. The National Identification process was a contract that was awarded to some bodies to execute but because there were(are) no policies in check to ensure a successful process and no one even cares enough since all greedy and affected parties have collected their contract execution funds, such is bound to happen(and will still happen) if (when) keep saying “they”, “them” but we actually make up the “they”, “them”. Let integrity, honesty start with each one and watch the society change. It’s like working for a company where laziness is not tolerated nor encouraged. Even after a while of trying to exhibit your laziness and you notice the laziness culture won’t survive, one will blend. So let the change start with us. Let’s report any chaos, trouble, dishonesty, greed and stop embracing greed and corruption when we are genuinely asked to participate in any business that will contribute to a positive growth of the nation by asking the famous question with shiny greedy eyes already calculating the material gain expected from the deal and lips smacking mouth already forming eagerly the famous “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME”?

    • Wow…actually read everything you wrote. I feel your frustration. You are right its all of us that are guilty in one small way or the other. I experienced this one you talked about below:

      “Another scenario is at a filling station during extreme fuel scarcity where one person comes and fill his car tank, his two 25ltrs jerry can, his generator tank and even collects another jerry can from the filling station to buy extra fuel and by the end of the day, the fuel finishes as soon as he is done and other motorists are just there to express outrage and shock at such blatant display of selfishness. That’s greed for you in Naija. Everyone is afflicted.”

      Fuel did not finish but I was there for about 30 minutes longer than I should have. Because Oga wanted to fill up everything.

  11. Another brilliant idea! Yet I don’t see it achieving its purpose, A good number of Nigeriens and Chadians are registered voters in Nigeria. It’s not hard for this miscreants to get registered in whatever registration scheme anyone comes up with. Nigeria is that porous.

    • Adaeze…my belief is that it is one step at a time. The system will not be perfect at first, but if the administration keeps emphasizing it…it will develop and be better. What is missing is the emphasis.

  12. Well said. I’m suprised we dont have a functional identification system in place..yet we acheive giant economic strides on paper..even it if means partnering with the telecom guys by utilizing their data base. For the fact that these activities happen every now and again and yet with dont have a single clue about who the perpetrators are is just sad. These guys need to fished out somehow..
    Emeka latest post is A lesson Life has to teach youMy Profile

    • Thanks Emeka. Its sad that we know more about AlQueada leadership than BokoHaram. Ask the average Nigerian (myself included) who the BokoHaram sect leader is and we don’t know, we don’t know how he looks. But Osama Bin Laden…some of us wey no sabi draw can draw him off head! #irony

  13. O_Intuition! on said:

    You couldn’t have made a better suggestion – National ID card system… Well Said!

    I have always said same – we need some sort of National Identification in Nigerian…be it a SIN or whatever form of government-issued identification. For me, that is the first step in ensuring safety, welfare and protection of the total populace… and many more.

    Honestly every day living in Nigeria is a Risk!… One literally lives in paranoia…

    Thank You!… and Please keep sharing your fabulous insights.

  14. Well said..! I must say that the challenges that face us today look big from the outside but in the real sense they require basic inputs of action to make things better; ranging from electricity,agriculture, banking and what have you. Also we don’t lack the capacity to them but the will alone is lacking. Great piece again..!

  15. Christian chinedu on said:

    We don’t have a national id card system and this reality is laughable. Id’s don’t guarantee fool proof, but like you said, makes it difficult for mass and organised security breeches. If a mission is difficult less people indulge in it. Thanks men.

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  20. im clearly late to this conversation…hope im still allowed to intel..get it? – chip in. the other aspect of this national ID system that is ignored is the amount of jobs it will create if implemented. this is revenue that builds the middle class and adds to the economy…further driving down crime poverty n desperation a freakin win-win for any president. the fact that p.ticians dont see it lets me know that every criticism leveled against naija leaders at every mama put and point n kill ..durin every barca/real madrid game…or anywhere palm wine is served, must be true. inept leadership manifested as boko haram is killing us.

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