THE FORCE HEADQUARTERS BOMBING
The June 16 bombing at the car park of the Nigeria Police Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja by the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram, is a sad commentary on the nation's internal security system.
The attack, regarded as the most vicious and audacious by the sectarian group, underscored the fact that the nation's security is lax and uncoordinated. It is sad that the security agents were caught napping by the terrorist group.
We condemn the dastardly act aimed at destabilising the polity and call for a reorganisation of the internal security system with a view to making it more proactive and effective. The government should not be hamstrung by the activities of the outlawed group. It should not allow subversive elements to overwhelm security agents. The heinous attack should be thoroughly probed. The investigative panel should get at the root of the problem to prevent future attacks or nip them in the bud.
It is unfortunate that the police have proved most inefficient in checkmating the excesses of the ubiquitous Boko Haram sect. That the group has been getting away with its unwarranted aggression against the Nigerian state shows a failure of intelligence on the part of the security agents.
Their attitude to the attacks has been reactive instead of proactive. They are certainly not on top of the situation. Waiting for a bomb to explode before acting is, indeed, unhelpful. The Boko Haram group is an invisible enemy of the state. To contain its aggressive and destructive tendencies, the security agents must deploy more intelligence. There is need for more information sharing and use of secret agents and informants than the usual deployment of armoured tanks and uniformed men.
When the US government warned the nation of the existence of terrorists in our midst, it was greeted with official denials and dismissed with a wave of the hand. Similarly, when a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdul-Mutallab, was arrested for attempted bombing of a US aircraft, it was treated as an isolated case.
Today, the truth is clear. It is no longer hidden that there are terrorists in our midst. The Boko Haram bombings have confirmed it. The group is waging war against the state, killing innocent citizens and destroying property.
Government should overhaul the Nigeria Police Force. Tired hands in the Force should be replaced with young and agile officers. This change has become imperative now that the present leadership of the Force has proved incapable of handling the problematic security situation. Bringing in foreign experts to assist the police at this time is good, but we advise the government to use the occasion to develop local capacity to deal with the emerging security situation. The police need more secret personnel to burst the plans of Boko Haram. Police should be prepared to pay their informants very well and shield their identities.
More emphasis should be on intelligence. For this to work well, the police should be well equipped with modern gadgets. Unfortunately, these are lacking in most police formations throughout the country.
Members of the sect escape from attack spots because police lack adequate information on them. The sect members are human beings that live in the society.
They can be apprehended if the security agents swoop on them. President Goodluck Jonathan must act fast and arrest the deteriorating security situation before things get out of hand. Let him seek whatever assistance he needs and tackle the security challenge before the country slips into anarchy. Government must be very decisive. Boko Haram is a challenge to Nigeria's sovereignty and corporate existence. It should be contained.