The National Security Adviser to the President, Retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, says intelligence remains the most effective instrument in fighting insurgency and banditry.
Monguno stated this on Friday, in Abuja while speaking at the public presentation of a research report titled ‘Terrorism and Banditry: The Nexus’, conducted by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.
The NSA, who is one of the panellists at the event, said that evolvement witnessed globally in the 21st century had made tackling insecurity more difficult, hence the need for intelligence.
He said that while intelligence came in various ways including human intelligence, technical intelligence, cyber intelligence and others, human intelligence derived from the local community remained the most important.
“For as long as an agent of government decides to franchise or eliminate the agent of community, then you are depriving yourself of the most important oxygen, which is intelligence from the local community,’’ he said.
Monguno said that what Nigeria needed to do in tackling its current security challenge was to learn from the experience of developed countries.
“Intelligence is the driver of operation.
“No matter how much you spend on defence forces — land, air, maritime or police, if you lack the relevant intelligence, you will just be like three blind men operating in a dark environment.
“You can imagine what that will amount to,’’ he said.
According to him, while intelligence comes in various layers it must be fused together and acted upon timely, saying intelligence in itself has a very short shelf life.
“From the moment you get intelligence if the operational elements do not respond with the speed required that intelligence becomes stale and it compounds the problems that will come later,’’ he said.
Another member of the panellist, Crisis Group’s Nigeria Senior Adviser, Nnamdi Obasi, stressed the need to scale up security presence in the country, especially the ungoverned areas.
Obasi also stressed the need to improve on humanitarian assistance to those affected by insecurity.
On his part, a former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, stressed the need to improve the capacity of security agencies and deal with the issue of bad eggs among security agencies.