Why Nigera can’t track terrorists, bandits




Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Halilu Ahmad Shaba

Today, much of the priority and talking point is centered on how to counter the growing terrorist and insurgent groups in Nigeria in order to restore security of lives and property. Countering terrorism has become, without any doubt, the top national security priority of the Buhari administration. The nation has committed huge national resources to countering terrorism and insurgency as never before, yet things have continued to get worse.

This trend has never occurred before in our nation’s history. Nigeria is facing a sudden crisis and summons tremendious amount of national energy with the rise of the Boko Haram insurgency and militia groups scattered around every nook and cranny of Nigeria.

As the surge transforms the landscape of our nation then comes the time for reflections and reevaluation.

Some programmes and even agencies are discarded, others need to be invented or redesigned. Now is the time for that and revaluation and many citizens are now proposing to the government the need to turn to the space satellite technology as a veritable tool for tracking and containing this malaise.In the world today, threats are defined by the fault lines rather than by the boundaries between them.

From terrorism to global diseases or environment degredation, the challenges have become transnational rather than international.

That is the defining quality of world politics in the 21st century. As stated earlier, the country needs to reinvent its strategy of countering these criminals elements.

It is generally agreed that for the strategy of countering insurgency and other forms of criminality to be successful, we need to device a means of tracking these terrorists through satelite technology.

As it stands today, Nigeria needs four additional satelites to successfully track insurgents. How do you trace or track the movements of terrorists, bandits and insurgents who have acclimatized themselves in the many enclaves of bandits scattered across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria? The answer is for our country to turn to satelite technology as the only panacea to help us trace and track the movements of these terrorists.

It is true that the Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Halilu Ahmad Shaba, has consistently voiced out that the number of satellites currently deployed into space by the country is not enough to trace and track the movement of insurgents in  the federal government’s effort to fight the menace of terrorism and banditry across the country.

The inability of the Buhari administration to successfully and quickly clamp down on this criminal elements by tracking their movement can be attributted to inadequate satellite provision.The director general who is an advocate of synergy through inter agencies cooperation has consistently appealed for more satelites for the country as this would go a long way in making the movement of these criminal elements easier to locate.

The activities of these insurgents are not properly monitored because Nigeria has two satellites doing two different things at the same time.

The insurgents now even use walkie-talkie to carry out their nefarious activities when the satellites are away from Nigeria. 

Nigeria today could only boast of a high resolution imaging satellite and a medium resolution imaging satellite and this is not enough as it is on record that the insurgents who do not use GSM because of the fear of being tracked now carry out their nefarious activities when the satelites are away from the border. 

Now Nigeria needs the satellite to combat crimes and no country can live in denial of the potential and capabilities of the satelites as a veritable tool to locate and decimate criminal elements quickly.

We have to deploy the Ngcomsat-r1 in the fight against terrorism and we can do more as a country to assist its efficacies more by adding more satellites. It is worrisome also that Nigeria’s satelite is outdated and working only by luck.

The satellite which was installed in 2011 has a life span of seven years.This is the time in the anals of our country that security is first. The government therefore needs not spare any effort in ensuring that Nigerians are safe by investing in the lives and future of the the people by getting new satellites for the country.

Though the administration has highlighted having or building new satellite to change the old one as a priority, but the dwindling resources of the country as a factor for the delay in building and having new ones is a valid excuse based on facts on ground. The challenges around us at this time makes the call for having new ones inevitable. The government must think out of the box.

As the security challenges confronting our country becomes complex, more questions about the security of the country comes to mind. What is the role and use of NASRDA in the security architecture of Nigeria? The government needs to assist NASDRA to synergise with the security agencies by getting more satelites for the agency. 

Musawa writes from Abuja via [email protected]