May 28, 2024
Nigeria Renews Calls for Intelligence Sharing with US
Africa North America Opinion Politics

Nigeria Renews Calls for Intelligence Sharing with US

by Scott Morgan

 

The visit on May 1st to Nigeria by Jennifer Zakriski the Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs yielded a very interesting result from the Nigerian Ministry of Defense.

 

During the meeting the host the State Minister of Defense Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle made an inquiry about how the two countries could advance the sharing of intelligence. One specific request stood out among the requests that were made. This request is indeed interesting and a step which the Nigerian Government feels is necessary to address the rampant security challenges the country faces from both bandits and militant groups.

 

The United States often warns its travellers and citizens working overseas of impending potential threats to their security via alerts that are issued via social media platforms and other outlets. Those Americans who receive these services are registered with the Embassy in the host country where they are visiting or working in.

 

Dr. Matawalle would ask Assistant Secretary Zakriski that since the US already shares such intelligence with its citizens, Nigeria should also be provided with such intelligence so that it can adequately warn its citizens of an impending attack by insurgents and militants.

 

Is this a new request by the Nigerians to have the US share intel with them? That answer is a resounding no. In a deal reached ten years ago, The US reached a deal with the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to provide intelligence support as part of the effort to locate and rescue the Chibok Girls that were taken hostage by Boko Haram. There was one caveat in the deal that does stand out. A spokesman for the Pentagon would reveal that the US would not be providing “Raw” Intelligence to the Nigerians in that search effort.

 

Now that we are a decade later why would it take Nigeria so long to once again ask for the US to provide Intelligence to Nigeria? Or more specifically should we ask why the Buhari Government didn’t reach out to Washington for help. His immediate predecessor made such a request. His Successor Bola Tinubu determined that his administration needed such assistance as well. Former President Buhari is the outlier in this effort. Why this request wasn’t made could be a case of what the Nigerian Government sought for Intelligence purposes would not either be directly provided by the US or the data would be limited in scope to the point where it could be feared that the information would be useless.

 

That being said the security challenges within Nigeria have grown substantially since 2014. Although the Boko Haram insurgency has split into two factions that are more intent on destroying each other, and bandit activity in the Northwestern part country which could get worse from influences that appear to be linked with the coup in Niger Republic, however the area of primary concerns remains the Middle Belt region and that conflict which garners most of the negative images that are created regarding Nigeria.

 

The current situation and the request indicates that currently the Nigerian Security Services either cannot verify any potential threat or that the information that they are receiving is either false or comprimised to the point where any response is delayed. That can be seen as an internal issue within the Services that needs to be resolved but another course of action is preferred. Having the US provide intel may be the answer to the Nigerian Issues that they want to be resolved but the issues that are currently in need to be addressed remain unsolved.

 

The ultimate question will be if the United States provides this intelligence then will the Nigerians use it properly or ignore it?

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