Lack of synergy among agencies hampering counter terrorism efforts in North East

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The United States Bureau for Counter terrorism says lack of coordination and synergy among intelligence gathering agencies in Nigeria is hampering on the war against terrorism in the North East.
A 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism document published on the Bureau for Counter terrorism website also showed that the Nigerian military is unable to hold and rebuild civilian structures and institutions in areas cleared by it in the region.
The report, which tracks terrorism and counter terrorism measures across the world found that though there have been gains in Nigeria’s war against terrorism, “much of its reported progress was merely duplication of failed efforts carried over from the end of last dry/fighting season.,”
“The level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited and at times hindered overall effectiveness,” the report noted.
It further expressed concern over security agencies’ ability to effectively investigate terrorism cases.
 “The Department of State Security (DSS) is the primary investigating agency for terrorism cases, but there have been longstanding sustained concerns about its capacity to investigate terrorist financing as it does not share case information with other agencies that also have the mandate to conduct terrorist financing investigations and prosecutions, such as the EFCC.
“These concerns continued in 2016. There were no known efforts on the part of the EFCC or the Ministry of Justice to prosecute terrorist financing cases.
“The Government of Nigeria has the ability to freeze and confiscate terrorist assets as required by the UN Security Council (UNSC) ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. While there is a political will to freeze assets, bureaucratic processes occasionally cause delays.”
The report also explained that the Nigerian military was unable to hold and rebuild civilian structures and institutions in areas it had cleared of Boko Haram and its remains.
Inadequate security
The report also indicated that adequate security was not put in place before the federal government began the return of internally displaced persons back to their communities in Borno.
“The Nigerian government continued to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons to their home communities, although sometimes without providing adequate security and before appropriate conditions were in place for safe, informed, voluntary returns,” it said.
Sen. Ndume visited the IDPs Bakassi Camp in Maiduguri
The report also noted that despite touting multi-lateral approach to the fight against terrorism, Nigeria was unwilling to shoulder the responsibility of leading a multi-lateral team.
“Nigeria sought greater cooperation and coordination with neighbouring countries to counter the effects of Boko Haram, yet has resisted taking control of the regional response,” it said.
It also listed some of the efforts made by the government to tackle Boko Haram, including the negotiation for the release of some Chibok Secondary School girls, but, , suggested that Nigeria needed to do more to succeed in the fight against terrorism.
It read: “The Nigerian government has not invested significant resources or time to enlist regional organisations, such as the Economic Organisation of West African States and Economic Community of Central African States, to assist with the Boko Haram problem. Instead, the Government of Nigeria preferred to engage Boko Haram militants in direct, unilateral military action and through the MNJTF, which is headed by a Nigerian military officer.”
Legislation
The Nigerian government’s criminal justice institutions were not significantly strengthened in 2016, according to the report, “although several donor countries, including the United Kingdom, continued to work closely with the Ministry of Justice to assist in prioritizing how to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorism cases.”
“While the Nigerian military had primary responsibility for combating terrorism in the northeast, several government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Department of State Security (DSS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and the Ministry of Justice. Counterterrorism activities of these agencies and ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA). The level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited and at times hindered overall effectiveness.
It continued “Counterterrorism activities of these agencies and ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA). The level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited and at times hindered overall effectiveness.
Malala visited some IDP camps in Maiduguri on Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It encouraged continuous and enhanced partnerships/synergy with local and international agencies especially in addressing extremism.
“The Nigerian government participated in U.S. counterterrorism capacity-building programs under the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, including the training of NPF members in explosive ordnance disposal, explosive incident countermeasures, and preventing attacks on soft targets.
“The NPF also stood up the Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response, which is a specialized selection and training program for local police dedicated to the security of the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions throughout Abuja”.
According to the report, terrorist activity accounted for the displacement of nearly two million persons in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe.

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