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AMACHREE: You Cannot Set A Date To Pronounce End Of Terrorism

By ODITA SUNDAY   |   12 December 2015   |   11:43 pm  

BokoMr. Dennis Amachree, a member of the American Society for Industrial Security, is the managing director of Zoomlens Security Solutions, a private background check, infidelity investigation and fraud investigation company. In this interview with ODITA SUNDAY, the former member of the Department of State Services (DSS) bares his mind on how to end insurgency in the Northeast.
Many Nigerians do not believe that the fight against insurgency will be this prolonged. Is the December deadline by the President feasible?

I DON’T agree with the President in setting a date. You cannot set a date to the end of terrorism. It’s good for the President to set a date for the military, so, that they will look forward to it. December will come and go and we will still have Boko Haram. The reason insurgency is taking forever, is because when this thing started, it was politicised. It was either All Progressives Congress sponsoring it or saboteurs in Peoples Democratic Party behind it, including the Chibok girls, and many people are not talking about them anymore.

As long as it is politicised, it will continue to grow, because they have affiliates with ISIS. They are either giving them arms or advising them. Basically, Nigerians should enter the war, and again, I want Nigerian government to declare it as war. You heard what the French President said: “France is under attack, we are at war.” We have not seen it as a war, but still playing kids glove with it. Some are saying let’s go and negotiate with them. You don’t negotiate with terrorist. Until we have the political will to fight Boko Haram it will continue to defeat us.

As long as it is politicised, it will continue to grow, because they have affiliates with ISIS. They are either giving them arms or advising them. Basically, Nigerians should enter the war, and again, I want Nigerian government to declare it as war. You heard what the French President said: “France is under attack, we are at war.” We have not seen it as a war, but still playing kids glove with it. Some are saying let’s go and negotiate with them. You don’t negotiate with terrorist. Until we have the political will to fight Boko Haram it will continue to defeat us.

What is the way forward?

First, you would pursue the insurgents and make sure that they don’t succeed again. Secondly, you have to prevent them from carrying out what they want to do. You then protect the country and take care of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), not by giving them food and keeping them under a tent. Boko Haram survived today, because they continued to grow amongst the poor. That is their market; they pay them to be members. Boko Haram actually pays them to become members; during that period they would radicalise them. The government itself should try to convincetheir target members to change their heart and mind.

There have been several alarms raised over the infiltration activities of Boko Haram insurgents into Lagos. Is there fear of possible attack on Lagos?
Lagos should be on top alert, top alert in the sense that Boko Haram had been in Lagos. The DSS had arrested some of them. Attempts had been made, but stopped by the DSS. This is the commercial nerve centre of the country. More people come to this state and stay. The interest here is too high. You are fighting with somebody and they think that they are losing the war. If we have any Boko Haram attack in Lagos, the impact is going to be very high. ISIS is in Syria, but they gained access to one of the biggest western cities in the world and carried out four simultaneous attacks. A terrorist is a solider that is not wearing uniform; he chooses his line of action.

I believe the security agencies in Lagos are trying by fishing out some of them and they would do more. But I do not like what some security agencies do, they will arrest someone, make a show of it, and that is the end of the matter. The people they arrested in Lagos, where are they? I don’t see why you will lock them up; they should prosecute and jail them. It was said that is as a result of laxity on the part of intelligence agencies that Boko Haram grew out of control.

Do you think that the various security agencies are doing enough intelligence gathering in this country?
They are doing their job, but one important thing is that they are working in different directions. It means that they are all doing their work on their own, the DSS is doing their work and getting intelligence, NIA, Police, Defence Intelligence are doing their work, even the customs and immigration are gathering intelligence, but when you gather intelligence and keep it to yourselves, they are all smiling in the dark. You have to share it, so, when they share it, they can work together. Apparently, they are trying to outshine one another or they are trying to say that what they have, they do not want other people to hear about it.

It is not uncommon for security agencies to do that, because by the nature of their job, they are secret services. It happened in the United States between the FBI and CIA, during the 9/11 attack. One agency had information that they are going to bomb the tallest building in the country, but they don’t know when or how. They did not tell the other people who were actually on the ground. You find out that the information was there, but it was not shared. If it was shared, they would have prepared for it. It is also on record that, because of that laxity, US created the Homeland Security and the head will be a member of the executive cabinet. I know that the person will be reporting to the President directly. Even in Nigeria, the head of judiciary reports directly to the President, the FBI is under the Ministry of Justice.

With over 10 security agencies in the country, you wonder why Boko Haram still persist. What could be responsible for this?
The problem I have is that Nigeria has too many security agencies. The NSA can serve as Homeland Security of Nigeria; we can also still form the Homeland Security thing. We have all these different agencies. All the security agencies, including the army, came out from the police. What is happening is that if a challenge comes up, to address that one, you form a different body, which will continue doing their work on their own. There is no National Security strategy whereby all of them come together and say that this is the security direction of this country. Everybody is doing their own, it has becomes a real big problem.

Recently, they said some powerful people in the North are behind Boko Haram insurgents, how could such allegation be made without the authority releasing their names?
There are definitely powerful people behind them. There is no way they will be running an organisation like that, acquiring sophisticated arms, food and other things. These things cost money. There are a lot of sponsors that they are getting within and outside Nigeria. You heard what the Russian President said; 20 different countries in the world of which some of them are part of G20 are funding ISIS. You discover that some people that were arrested confessed that some state governments were actually giving them money in the north. Some of them were giving them money not to attack their states. About naming those people we must have political will to deal with them.

What do you think we should do to our porous borders?
We have border security problem in many countries including, the United States. In Nigeria, people are concentrated at the border post, while the other bushes, people cross with ease. If you get there, you will see the legal, normal people passing the border, you stand aside, and you will see people passing through the bush going in and out of Nigeria. The borders are not demarcated at all, if you go to Maiduguri, I have been there before, Gamboru Ngala, you have houses where the bedroom is in Cameroun and the sitting room is in Nigeria.

Dennis Amachree

Dennis Amachree

There is a place you can stand with your two legs open and one leg will be in Cameroun and the other will be in Nigeria. There you find out that everybody is just doing what they like and Nigeria, unfortunately being the largest black country in the world, has a lot of Africans who are not Nigerians living freely inside this country.The borders are not demarcated at all, if you go to Maiduguri, I have been there before, Gamboru Ngala, you have houses where the bedroom is in Cameroun and the sitting room is in Nigeria. There is a place you can stand with your two legs open and one leg will be in Cameroun and the other will be in Nigeria. There you find out that everybody is just doing what they like and Nigeria, unfortunately being the largest black country in the world, has a lot of Africans who are not Nigerians living freely inside this country.

The borders are not demarcated at all, if you go to Maiduguri, I have been there before, Gamboru Ngala, you have houses where the bedroom is in Cameroun and the sitting room is in Nigeria. There is a place you can stand with your two legs open and one leg will be in Cameroun and the other will be in Nigeria. There you find out that everybody is just doing what they like and Nigeria, unfortunately being the largest black country in the world, has a lot of Africans who are not Nigerians living freely inside this country.



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