The way forward
What we are trying to do basically is instituting crisis management procedures in order to enhance decision-making. This is also to connect different stakeholders – state governors, ministers and members of the National Security Council, with media element attached. You know that today, when things happen, (people expect) information officers to address the media. Sometimes it is not correct. We make mistakes. Mr. A will say this. Mr. B will say another thing. We are looking at what happens elsewhere as model, likeCOBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) in the UK. In the event of any incident, they quickly meet and exchange information on what is going on. And they agree on what they want to tell the public so that anyone who is briefing will take a cue from the decision making process. They have gone quite far, but we are also doing that.
Tackling structural weaknesses
At some point when we are through, we will determine the procedures for protecting people.
We have done that for counter terrorism. The first thing we did was to look for means of integrating the security services. Many people have talked of homeland security.
Homeland security is a concept. It is not an agency. It is what you do with security services you have towards protecting the homeland. A lot of people have talked about how we don’t have intelligence. Yes, there are weaknesses in our structure and we need to improve them. But what we have done at different levels is to see how best we can create network.
For example, the counter terrorist department created a network whereby Directors from different services and people in charge of operations meet every week to review investigations that are being carried out in each of the services.
For the Counter Terrorism Department, it resolves terrorism through intelligence gathering. And you don’t get intelligence just by sitting down and speculating. You need to have people who look at phenomenon. Even if it is terrorism, they look at how terrorism manifests globally and what we would do if it happens in Nigeria. We look to see if there are similarities with things happening elsewhere in the world. That helps you to project what to do about your own environment.
Initially we had difficulties in bomb scene investigations. But today, whatever happens now, we can go to a bomb scene, determine what materials were used and establish similarities between different incidences. For instance, with what happened in Madala, we find out if it has similarities with what happened in Jos. You trace the sources. Even when it becomes more effective, we have robust analysis. Like when attack takes place, in certain countries like Yemen or Afghanistan, can you say this is a pattern? If it is a pattern, you can determine where people are being trained. You know their fingerprints or their bomb making ideas. You will know what happens in that scene. We are doing that diligently. We might not be 100 per cent accurate as the only time you can talk of successes is when we are able to prevent attacks from happening. But like they say for security services, you have to be 100 per cent successful. We are putting all those structures in place.
One key area that we talked about was database. We have worked on the type of infrastructure to put in place for national database. Already, we have the national identity cards and the bank data, among others.
So, it is possible to have a data warehouse because National Database is an infrastructure used for solving crime. For instance, if a woman has a car registered and a man is driving it, with hand held device, we can know where that car was registered. If it is out of place, we can query. Beyond that, we also talked about professionalism of security personnel. We have problems. But what we are doing is gradually device means to address the issues. Everybody complains about roadblocks in Zuba and several other places. If you have stayed long enough on roadblocks, we want to know how efficient the roadblocks are. Not everything should be technology based. If a road is clear, it does not take you more than four hours to travel to Kaduna. Those are the kind of structures we are trying to put in place.
National Security Strategy
We have gone very far. What we need is to have the building blocks and the security services in place.
For instance, today we have counter terrorism strategy. We have sent it out to different stakeholders to read and give us feedback. When they give us feedback, we will incorporate it and pass it back to the President for his signature. So, we will have a Counter Terrorism Strategy. We want to have counter terrorism strategy that has buy-in at all levels. Formulating the strategy itself is not tedious but implementing it. The main thing is that we want contribution of stakeholders at different levels. We have established guidelines for national security strategy.
In my office, we are working on filling the gap so that in the next few months we can come up with the national security strategy. It is all encompassing.
So, it is important that we present it to all stakeholders, like the counter terrorism strategy. When we have it on the ground, we will expose it to criticism to make sure that it is something that Nigerians find acceptable, which would also be reviewed once in a while.
Building institutions for better performance
We have a Coordinator for Counter Terrorism and the department is to observe all the probabilities of the agencies, to see how we can be ahead of the game. They are working very hard. There are so many things we can put in place.
Otherwise, if you don’t have the kind of facilities that will force everybody to cooperate, it makes it difficult for people to cooperate.
Without doubt, the global effect of terrorism has come to us. We are not doing it alone. Specifically, since the anti-terrorism bill was passed and signed into law in May 2011, it has been a focal point. And today we have had several countries cooperating with us. We have cooperation not only from the US, but also Britain and France. Terrorism is an international phenomenon that everybody wants to see what you are doing to contain it. And they are willing to offer assistance in the areas of training, bomb scene identification and management, intelligence gathering and training of analysts.
Beyond that, we have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is the point of cooperation with Niger Republic. We have the Joint Border Patrol with Cameroon and financial arrangement with Chad because if we talk of porous borders and open space full of Africans, we need to work with a lot of people to ensure that we are going in the same direction. We’ve had meetings especially with Niger Republic several times in this direction. We have established a body between Niger and Nigeria. They meet every two weeks to share notes. They arrest people in Niger Republic and we cooperate in also talking to them. There is cooperation. Another country that is fighting terrorism is Algeria and we have cooperation with them.
Impact of 9/11
The 9/11 incident changed the structure of security globally. In the US, before that incident, you don’t have armed security personnel everywhere. But now, you will see they have visible presence everywhere. 9/11 led to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda was not a phenomenon at a time. But now, they have become a phenomenon that we have to confront. Public safety has become a major issue because terrorism actually attacks the psyche of the people, with a mind-set that they can achieve whatever that they want to achieve.
Security has changed a lot. Before, it was conflict between nations. Now, it is transnational. It is beyond boundaries. When you talk of protection of territory, it is not how countries relate with each other, but how you want to make sure that transnational crimes are addressed.
Between communal and ethnic conflicts and terrorism
Communal clashes are not actually terrorism related. When you find communities in Cross River State or Benue State fighting each other and killing one another, it is mostly over land and economic issues. But lately, with the Boko Haram sect terror, some commentators create the impression that Christians are now fighting Muslims, and Muslims are now fighting Christians. Yes, they are causing mayhem. When churches are attacked, people tend to think they are against Christians. That is why the Boko Haram attacks churches. But in any attacks they kill more of Muslims. If we do proper statistics, we will discover that more Muslims have died from some of these crises. One may think that actually there is a fight between Christian and Muslims that they may want to do any reprisal attack. Yet, there are moderate
Muslims that will not accept what Boko Haram is doing even if they don’t say it openly. It is now for us at the different levels of government to know what we are doing.
Perception of insecurity
You could say that because when we had Niger Delta problem, it didn’t seem as if the rest of the country was affected. Everybody knew then that the Niger Delta militants were fighting and blowing up pipelines. It did not affect people outside the environment.
The crisis in Jos has gone on for so long. But it did not affect people’s safety. But when kidnapping started in the East, nobody wanted to travel to the East because of the fear of kidnapping. And the Taliban attack in Yobe State and the other attacks, people didn’t feel it affected the rest of Nigeria. But in 2009 when there was an attack in Yobe State, Borno, Kano and Bauchi, there was awareness. It changed everything because bombs could go off anywhere. But when it came to Abuja (with the October 1, 2010 bombings, the bombings at the Police and United Nations Headquarters), it became another matter. People now know that it was coming to everybody and security was tightened. Over the years, we did not anticipate this level of violence. So, we did not prepare structures that would take care of this. That is why it may seem like security has deteriorated.
Assessment of the fight against terror
I don’t think it would be right to use the word satisfied. As long as bombs are going off, kidnappings, armed robbery, pipeline canalization and other crimes are still on, nobody would be satisfied with the level of arrest. But one factor we have not cleaned up is what we do with our judiciary.
Elsewhere, with terrorism, there is something that they do. But we have not done that. So, we are talking to the judiciary to see how they could train the nation’s judges and prosecutors who can handle cases of terrorism. We are looking at the anti- terrorism bill to see where there are gaps so that we can close the gaps.
Sometimes it is speculative but we want to look at objectives. At what point did you have political motive?
Let us not just blanket and call everything Baka Haram. In parts of the country, there is a mixture of criminality, local politics and Boka Haram. For instance, we have not eliminated the existence of the so- called ECOMOG boys in Borno State, among others. Today, there are different elements in parts of the country that are causing crime and engaging in terror acts.
Dialogue as a tool
Every war must end and it must end in dialogue. But I want to differentiate between what is happening in the Niger Delta and what is happening now with the Boko Haram. In Niger Delta we identified the people who we were negotiating with. People came up and said we want to talk. Leaders had access to them. In the case of what is happening in the North East, we can (have to) identify the people before we talk about negotiation. If there is government policy that says you must negotiate, security always creates the channels. As the NSA, negotiation is not a bad idea. But what are the demands of Boko Haram? If they are demanding or fighting because there is oppression or bad governance, or that they want Islamic State, those are consensus issues. There is poverty everywhere in Nigeria, not just in certain parts of the country. But if you are talking about some states becoming Islamic, that is consensus. You don’t have to be violent to convert people to Islam. People have to decide what they want for themselves.
The US 2015 proposition
I don’t know which document we are quoting from to say that by 2015 Nigeria is breaking up.
This is the same document we read about 2005. It was a document that some brilliant people met and projected, not just only for Nigeria but Africa. They looked at the patterns in Africa and countries like Nigeria; that if we could overcome such patterns like poverty and leadership or governance issues, if they could do things like this, what are the chances in meeting its targets.
There is also another projection on the Internet that Nigeria may also break up by 2030. But these are research work by analysts. Nobody stated categorically that by 2015, Nigeria will break up. It is neither the CIA nor the American intelligence system that made the prediction. Some analyst made speculations.
But then, anybody, Nigerian or on Non-Nigeria that arrives in the country and picks up a newspaper or magazine everyday will think that based on the screaming headlines, that Nigeria is about to break up. Yes, if you do analysis within a period of two to three weeks, you can come to the same conclusion. But that is not the reality. The state of Nigeria is not the way it is reported in the media.
However, all these things are related to access to power.
The Law and terrorism It is not just the law but how we implement it that matters. But globally, it is recognized that terrorism is treated differently. We must realize that terrorism is not an ordinary crime. So, there is need to train judges and prosecutors to ensure that terrorism cases are addressed differently. Are we sure that the anti-terrorism legislation is strong enough? After the Kano January 20 mayhem, both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives stressed the need to strengthen the anti-terrorism law. Towards that, we already have lawyers looking at it and comparing it to what is obtained elsewhere.
Why do we need to make the law better? It is in our interest because anytime we take terrorism suspects to court, they are released on bail and they go back to do the same thing.
For your information, all the people on the wanted list for various terrorist offences including the BokoHaram leader, Mallam Abubakar Shekau, were at different times arrested some years ago. They were taken to court but the courts released them on bail and they went back to planning and executing more terror acts.
The checkpoint matter. Sometimes we think that the National Security Adviser should go to all levels of security. No, the NSA oversees all security agencies. And neither the NSA nor the Chief of Army Staff oversees all the checkpoints. Yes, the long lines there are very bad and I am also concerned. That is why I have stressed the need for them to do something about the checkpoints. The NSA cannot go to the street and say this checkpoint has to go and all that. But these are major safety issues. I will like to compare checkpoint on Zuba Road and Keffi Road. They just improved.
We asked; why not deploy four or five groups to make sure that cars move smoothly. When they make the public go through such strain, they are antagonizing them. And these citizens are the people we need to fight terrorism. We are all concerned and we are doing something about it.
On the Police reform? Incidentally, since I came on board I have talked about police reform to the extent that I have had meetings with the British Department for International Development (DFID).
They said police people can reform themselves; so reform necessarily needs to come from within and outside. But the police reform should be Nigerians’ responsibility, not necessarily the responsibility of the police. My approach has been: let’s have a strategic plan.
Incidentally, on the day the President took the decision to set up a committee, I had signed a letter to him that evening enumerating the problem we have with the police.
My position was let’s reform the police. And there have been different kinds of reports we need to look at in reforming our police.
When I went to see him that evening, the President told me about it. I told him ‘Mr. President, this is shocking’ as I informed him that earlier in the day; I had written a letter in the same line to him and that I am pretty sure it has not gotten to him.
So, everybody has seen the need for the police to reform. We can pass the blame but as Nigerians we must set the standard for the institutions in the country. Police reform has been my problem. I have talked to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the DFID to the extent of having a strategic plan for police reform.
The British even sent a retired Chief Constable to discuss with the IG on what we need to do.
My idea was that if we can set up a reform strategy where you can say that for a period of time, maybe six months or one year, following the strategic plan, can you have the Metropolitan Police train specific sections? Could we have some well advanced police force train the different sections of the Police? We have to do something very drastic because we have a problem. The Police are the basic force for crime prevention. If there is kidnapping in certain part of the country, the Police is supposed to handle it. But they get the military to assist. If the police were efficient, the military will not be called to assist. That is why you have the Defence special forces deployed in Jos and Maiduguri. If the police were efficient, it won’t come to that. So I am very keen about police reforms.
Security is everybody’s business My singular message to Nigerians is that security is everybody’s business. The rest of the society is not enlightened about the challenges that we have; that if you don’t report what you see, nobody can solve the problem for you. Security is collaborative. But we must also establish the
structure for getting the citizens to be aware of what they need to do. So, right now we are working with Ministry of Information and the National Orientation Agency to see how we can bring down such knowledge to Nigerians.
The Ways of the Dame
She has been a friend to the poor and the less privileged in the society. A source of hope to the hopeless, a mother to the orphans, mixed with a passion driven by her humble beginnings and desire to identify with the downtrodden.
Her scholarships to three orphans of St. Marys Orphanage Home in Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja Nigeria recently demonstrated her genuine intentions and feelings for the vulnerable in the society. She has also built a female hostel for the Orphanage.
In an age when public officers play to the gallery, Dame Jonathan sees her humble contribution as her own Ministry; a Pentecostal parlance for divine inspiration to pursue a chosen vision.
As a diamond reflects its inner strength and beauty, so Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan is a pearl of inestimable value to humanity. She is a virtuous woman, a mother, homemaker, an educationist, a development worker, a bridge builder, philanthropist and visionary leader whose contributions to humanity remain a source of pride to all people of goodwill and a delight to behold.
This, the First Lady of Nigeria has been able to achieve through her pet project; A. Aruera Reachout Foundation which is a non-governmental and philanthropic organization founded on
the principle of service to humanity.
Through the foundation, Dame Jonathan has been able to fulfil her dream of empowering people especially youth and women by developing their entrepreneurial skills. The ambition is to enable them acquire the needed vocational skills and place them on a platform for self-reliance.
Aruera Reachout Foundation has extended its scope and now supports and sponsors the treatment of children with heart-related problems through its Heart Foundation both locally and
internationally: Many children have benefited, restoring their hope of living normal lives again.
It is widely known and deeply appreciated that she has given generously and unselfishly to the alleviation of poverty and brought succor to thousands of Nigerians.
As a result, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan has received recognition and commendation in the media, as well as honours and awards from notable organizations and institutions at home
Six batches of students have been graduated by the foundation thereby achieving part of its objectives. The foundation is working with institutional and professional partners like the African Focus Incorporated, USA; UCP Wheels for Humanity, USA and Apollo Hospital, India to fully achieve its objectives.
The First Lady has also been complimenting the good efforts of her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan by preaching the need for peace not only in Nigeria but on the continent.
She is currently leading the First Ladies of Africa to build and strengthen the culture of peace and development in Africa as the President of African First Ladies Peace Mission.
Some of her projects include:
To promote sustainable peace and create conducive economic and social environment in Nigeria, the First Lady has initiated a peace advocacy project aimed at sensitizing Nigerians on the importance of peace and development.
The objective of the initiative is expected to be achieved through the following, which are currently at variouslevels of execution, including a 52 episode television talk show: Bridges; a
52 episode TV drama serial: Apple of Gold and the production of Jingles in seven key Nigerian languages.
While Bridges has already hit the airwaves, Apple of Gold is at an advanced production stage.
Women for Change and Development Initiative The Women for Change and Development Initiative is committed to the creation of a movement that will engender the mass awareness of women at all levels about their human rights and obligations as citizens of Nigeria. The vision is to prepare Nigerian women for effective and sustainable participation in politics and governance in Nigeria.
Through the advocacy of this initiative, Nigeria now has 13 female ministers in the Federal Executive council. It is an improvement over the 8% women in government before President Jonathan made good his promise to give more opportunities to women in appointive positions.
Aruera Reachout Foundation
The A. Aruera Reachout Foundation is aimed at positively impacting on the less privileged, the needy and the imprisoned by empowering them to actively and meaningfully contribute to
The First Lady is executing some projects to realize the goals of the NGOs. They include, 100 bed Children Heart Foundation Hospital Complex; Women for Change and Development
Initiative Complex; Rehabilitation Centre/Hostel Accommodation; and Integrated Health Programme to promote healthcare and reduce maternal and infant mortality. It is to also accelerate the prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) as well as other diseases