Intelligence community and new challenges

The transformation must be a revolution rather than an evolution. The community must be innovative and flexible capable of rapidly adopting the innovative technologies wherever they may arise.

There has been too much talk about reforming the Nigeria Police Force after the #EndSARS protests without thinking about the intelligence community. The Police and the intelligence community go in pari passu. Many people see the intelligence community as only wearing dark glasses and following the president and governors. Their schedule is more than that. They collect data to guarantee our security. In short they are our foot soldiers.

I do not know the role played by the officers of the three agencies referred to above, that is Defence Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Agency and State Security Service in the #EndSARS protests that we have just witnessed. I do not know whether they alerted the government enough before the #EndSARS protests began. It is one thing for the security agencies to inform the government of what will happen, it is another thing for the government to take pre-emptive action. I do not know whether the action of our youths and the looters caught the government unawares.

It’s about time we reorganize our security apparatus to meet the demand of modern day technology. Things have changed to warrant a comprehensive reform of our security apparatus. The internet is here, so is the social media.

How effective was the monitoring power of our security agencies in the #EndSARS protests? How come the youth were steps ahead of the government in implementing the protests? The cyber war is here in full and I do not know whether our security agencies are aware of the gravity of this war.

As predicted we have been told that in the cyber war that attackers will outpace incomplete and hurried patches, cybercriminals will turn to blockchain platforms for their transactions in the underground, banking systems will be in the crosshairs with open banking and ATM malware, deepfakes will be the next frontier for enterprise fraud and managed service providers will be compromised for malware distribution and supply chain attacks. Do our security agencies have enough equipment to fight this cyber war? In the past days, if you sent a letter or someone sent you, it could take days and sometimes even months to reach the destination.

In modern times, you can send a letter or important information to anyone in the e-mail all over the world through the internet. And, it often will be delivered to the destination in less than a minute.

You can also use other forms of communication, such as VOIP and chat, they also enable you to send any information instantly to anyone in the world. With the internet, online forums also allow people to connect with each other where they can share common interests and talk about what they enjoy. Furthermore, you can share ideas or views with anyone by making an online video call through applications like skype, line, etc.

That is the power of the internet and we saw it in use by the youth in the #EndSARS protests. Our security agencies must be well equipped to track this new inventions. The youth by the #End- SARS protests have shown how powerful they could be in this internet world. I commend them.

They have reawakened our minds to global developments. In a way they are heroes, the government must have to react now by taking a step in being proactive. We do not need to regulate the social media. The social media is the way of the world now. We need to embrace it, adapt it, improve on it and exploit it to a positive end. The youth have taught us how to do it.

The #EndSARS protests have offered us new opportunities. We must not waste it. Lest I forget, why should we have police barracks? We don’t need police barracks in this country. It is a colonial legacy. By having police barracks we have quarantined the police personnel from the ordinary Nigerian, hence their brutish, swinish and sometimes beastly behaviour. Allow the police to live among the people so that they can understand the feelings and attitude of the people they are supposed to work with.

Teniola, a former director at the Presidency, writes from Lagos.


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