ADOPTING GRASSROOTS INTELLIGENCE
SYSTEM TO COMBAT TERRORISM AND OTHER CRIMES
One of the factors militating against
Nigeria’s war against terrorism and other violent crimes is poor intelligence. Intelligence
is an important factor in successful security operations management. Attempting
to check insecurity without availability of real-time intelligence is like
trying to cross a busy road blindfolded. It is suicidal as we are experiencing in
the war against Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and oil theft and vandalization
of oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region. Intelligence information
is the raw material with which security decisions are made and operations
executed. The case of the attempted jail break which led to
the dead of no fewer than 21 Boko Haram detainees at the Department of State
Security (DSS) Headquarters in Asokoro, a district of Abuja is a good example of
failed intelligence. The increasing oil theft and vandalization of oil and gas
facilities in the Niger Delta is a proof of poor intelligence on the part of
our security agents. The situation is deteriorating daily that those of us who
are stakeholders in Nigeria’s security are beginning to wonder whether our
advice and suggestions to improve the system is ever taken seriously.
The line separating national and
corporate security management is so thin that it puts less pressure on efforts
to adopt one to the other. In analyzing the ingredients of grassroots
intelligence system (GIS) at the corporate level, it is the conviction of Osaro
Ollorwi that managers of security at both national and corporate levels will
benefit thereof. He pointed out that ignoring grassroots components of the
social system exerts significant influence on strategic security management
initiatives, resulting in escalating insecurity in all parts of the country. He
stressed that there is urgent need for corporate bodies operating in the Niger
Delta region of Nigeria to establish, enlarge, train, equip and mobilize
members of their Intelligence Units attached to Security Department or Division
to penetrate hostile communities, identify key sources of information, and
harness the appropriate intelligence information for effective security
management and administration.
We are aware that increasing awareness
and agitation for better oil company and host community relations have made the
task of security management in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy
more complex in recent times. Any approach short of a comprehensive Grassroots
Intelligence-based strategy will settle for sub-optimum results. Playing the Ostrich
will only worsen the already bad security situation in the country. Let us go
back to the grassroots. It is simple, it is real, it generates the best of
Industrial security generally refers to
measures designed to protect a company’s assets (tangible and intangible) and
ensuring the protection of staff and customers interacting within the
organization and its environment. Unlike in government, it is difficult to
evaluate the environment of a particular company to determine if relative
security has been achieved. Security is thus intended to reduce the possibility
of detrimental incidents, and not necessarily to eliminate risks. Security then,
is not static but dynamic as it depicts a state or condition that fluctuates in
a continuum. As environment and human conditions change, so also does the
logistics of protection. It is this phenomenal nature that makes security,
within the context of productive business, highly complex. The sophistication
is even more when the company is operating in a volatile multi-cultural
environment like the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
It is in this light that companies
operating in the Niger Delta region need to urgently reexamine their industrial
security policy and strategy in relation to their main stream business
operations. With respect to oil exploration and exploitation, most security
agencies merely boast of peripheral security frameworks that do not adequately
cover the entire business operations security-wise. The perennial crisis, intermittent
fragile peace (uneasy calm) characteristic of the environment of most oil
companies in the Niger Delta necessitate the urgent need for the establishment,
enlargement, training, equipping and motivation of members of the Intelligence
Units attached to Security Departments or Divisions to penetrate hostile
communities, identify key sources of information, harness the appropriate
intelligence information for effective security management and administration.
The gathering of these elements at the
grassroots level and building a system of extracting relevant information that
has intelligence values from them is the thrust of what is aptly described as Grassroots Intelligence System (GIS). These
elements represent those vital intelligence sources that really do exist but
are often ignored because of their apparent “commonness”. Their nature portrays them as insignificant
and therefore, of little or no value to strategic intelligence services’
administration. The status quo in question underscores the efforts to evolve a
system that will cater for both the proactive and reactive security management
system. This process is known as known as Grassroots Intelligence System builds
from downwards to upwards. It is directed at forestalling the usual fire brigade
approach to handling matters of strategic security and intelligence,
particularly in the corporate environments.
Grassroots Intelligence is about the
collection of information on a whole gamut of diverse issues. This collection
must be selective if the efforts would serve any meaningful purpose. For an
effective and result-oriented grassroots intelligence system which the
corporate intelligence security can put in place to achieve meaningful results
in host communities and other purpose, there must be a comprehensive systematic
data collection scheme which should indicate the types and location of sources,
informants, agents, and agencies to be used. With this plan, the priorities are
defined according to the relative importance of the problems and threats faced
by an organization.
Consequently, grassroots intelligence
sources and agencies are employed with a view to:
signs of the existence of clandestine activities in an area, which are inimical
to growth of the company’s operations.
persons of security interests and keep track on their activities.
and controlling suspects, their organizations and aims.
adversaries’ decision process, their targeting and attacking techniques.
enquiries for the purpose of gathering information in aid of development of new
activities and progress of informants in order to determine or identify double
agents who exploit corporate organization vulnerabilities.
in information gathering for operatives as well as intelligence research
Technically, a Grassroots Intelligence
System build-up is expected to make specifications of the following community
Geographical and historical dimensions,
Population and active persons,
Administration including services and institutes,
Charity organizations and philanthropic individuals,
National and political organizations,
Past subversive, sabotage and criminal
activities in the vicinities,
Let us deal with these specifications briefly,
beginning with the geographical perspective.
The geographical specification usually
addresses such crucial issues as:
location of host community.
boundaries, with respect to rivers, mountains, hills, valleys fence, and open land.
terrain of the area, relative to high, low, forest deserts, rivers, etc.
with respect to districts, villages, streets, and commercial/residential
of buildings found such as huts, tents, mansions, and others.
The historical specification addresses
history of the area under scrutiny, which is of paramount importance in the
build-up of the Grassroots Intelligence System. Under this section, the
essential information has to do with the origin of the oil, gas or other natural
resources settlement. Town or Local Government Area, occupants of the area, -
place where the occupants migrated from; biological connections with other
settlements outside the area, the extent of these connections (closeness or otherwise),
and government recognition of the residents as real owners of the land or as
In terms of population and active
persons, it is important to know the number of inhabitants of the area in order
to help the company determine the type of developmental projects or
infrastructure to be sited.
However, the actual in diligence need
is not essentially a bout ascertaining this index. To cover an area
effectively, it is strongly advised that the area be divided into several
interest groups or sub-sections such as:
Environmental groupings, amongst others.
Security intelligence will become more
effective with the knowledge of the population of these sub-groups in relation
to others and to the total population of the area.
In addition to the population, the
following should also be identified within each sub-group or section:
of each sub-section.
important/influential personalities in each sub-section and the reasons why
they are adjudged important.
between sub-section, whether there are previous/existing wars, land disputes/tensions,
or harmony/cordiality amongst them. Identify all the elements of hate and love and
those possibly spearheading each.
Other vital characteristics of this
sub-section include lifestyles, major occupants, dominant religious
inclinations, marriage system, and commercial relationships.
Apart from leaders of the various
sub-sections, every other person who in one way or another is capable of
influencing any part or whole of the sub-sections need to be identified and
placed under surveillance. In certain areas, these last, (but not the least)
categories comprise the following:
Heads of Schools
Pressure group leaders
Efforts must be made to specifically
oversee their activities within the sub-section.
The administrative specification
comprises services and institutes that make up the social system. The major
components of this bit touch on education, health, religion, transport, water,
electricity, charity, communication, commerce, centres of attractions, unions,
associations, and so on.
The perspectives of educational system
to be considered are:
a. Total number/names of educational institutions
in the area, especially Secondary Schools, Universities, Polytechnics and other
list and total population of all students in these institutions, which should
be updated annually.
of teachers, noting their levels of influence on the students.
of students’ associations in each of the institutions.
of academic and non-academic staff associations and their executives in the
If there are students from the area
studying elsewhere, their personal data should equally be on record. This would
provide an opportunity to keep track on them in case they return to make
trouble or try to provoke sympathy actions and reactions wherever they may be. Their
places of study should also be noted, as well as those engaged in part-time
The health system has to do with
hospitals and medical centres both private and public, existing doctors and
nurses, and other paramedical personnel in the area; influential traditional
medicine practitioners, and health insurance schemes, if any.
There is also the religious system
which focuses on prevalent religions, principal officers of each religion,
outreach associations including those set up on charity grounds, major sects
having extremists, government-sectarian relations (noting especially the
anti-government types), inter-sectarian relations, number of clashes in the past
and the immediate and remote causes.
The means of transportation within an
area as well as other parts of the region are of vital considerations. It is
also important to consider the sources of water supply in the community, the
providers of the amenities (is it the Federal, State, or Local Governments?). In
some instances, the inhabitants’ sources of water are private ownership of bore-holes
or possibly fetching drinking water from untreated and unsafe sources such as unclean
streams or ponds must be examined vis-à-vis the internal anger it generates
within the society, especially amongst women and children, and how this
translate into violence in the area and disrupts economic operations.
As it is the case with potable water,
data on electricity is of utmost relevance in Grassroots Intelligence System
analysis. The critical questions include:
the community linked to the national grid?
the operating company or any other agency supplying the community electricity?
electricity supply selective or comprehensive, covering the entire community?
In identifying available philanthropic
organizations in the area, it is necessary to recognize their sponsors, which
in most cases include governments, Non-Governmental Organizations, and private
individual. The charity presentations may include money, projects, training,
food, medicaments, scholarships, and others. The motive behind the charity, its
donations, the movements of these funds, its custody and end use constitute
security interest. Evidence abounds that some charities and zakats are used to fund
terrorism and drugs trafficking, strengthen loyalty to the patron, and to back
the patron’s radical ideology.
Concerning communication, data could be
generated by addressing crucial questions like:
Are there telephone facilities linking the
community with outside communities?
Are there radio communication systems?
Are there other intercom media amongst community
leaders? The impacts of GSM in information acquisition and dissemination within
the area are also of security significance and must be incorporated into the
grassroots intelligence system.
The centres of attraction also to be
considered comprise public libraries, parks, gardens, cinema, sport/social
clubs, and hotels (with accommodation facilities and those for catering only,
alongside the rates chargeable). There may be some hotels patronized by
prostitutes, which could serve as haven for criminals that should also be well
noted. Some hotels may also be very popular for their conference halls
facilities. The relationship between the owner of such private facilities and
law enforcement agents is equally of security relevance.
For the unions and associations in the
community, focus should be on pressure groups operating in the area, Community Development
Committees, Community Based Organizations, Youths/Women Organizations,
Clandestine Groups (Secret Cults, Area Boys, etc.), Social Clubs, Progressive
Unions, and allied fraternities. Branches of unions and associations whose
parents body exist outside the area which are either within or outside the
country, leaders and prominent members of these unions and associations and
their activities as well as places of gathering and meetings, and whether any
of the unions and associations is operating illegally, should be identified and
placed under surveillance and other security monitoring.
The economic perspectives in its own respect
focuses on the main occupation of the people, their profession and places of
engagement, existing stores and supermarkets and their owners (specifying their
types and items dealt with), activities of employment agencies in creating jobs
and expanding existing ones, labour union and their leaders, availability of
markets and motor parks, and banks/insurance companies, as well as
effectiveness of poverty alleviation programmes.
A community may also be playing host to
some international, national and political organizations. Identities of their
leaders should be known (whether they are charity or profit-oriented), and
their movements and activities monitored for security reasons including acting
as agents of terrorism funding.
Other concerns in this direction are
number of registered political parties in active in the area and their leaders;
the party in power in the local Government Area where the community is located,
names of political office holders from the are at all levels of government,
popularity of the party in the area and its followership, influential political
party elders, and existence of notorious political party thugs in the community.
Alongside these are considerations of
various forms of security threats and breaches, whose data have to do with:
of subversion in the past.
of on-going subversion, espionage activities, terrorism, etc.
criminal activities and pattern of violent crimes.
culprits, known ex-convicts, and juvenile delinquents.
programmes available in liaison with police and prison authorities and other