We Can’t Defeat Boko Haram Until Nigeria Has This
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In 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.
Written By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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