By Ismail Auwal
Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has called on Federal Government to embrace the use of digital technology in the fight against violence.
The Director of the center, Mallam Yunusa Zakari Yau, in a statement, said that Insecurity has today become too generalized in Nigeria that nowhere is safe in the country.
“Kidnapping, banditry, secessionist violence has all become common place that peace is the only illusive constant.”
He said that, “in the past our fear was of armed robbers. Now armed robbery appears to be the lesser evils. The business of kidnapping people has become an easy way to make money for all classes of criminals, insurgents and they with a cause that support violence.”
The center argued that the government and its security and law enforcement agencies have not shown the leadership that will inspire the citizens that indeed, they can beat this and restore peace in the country. Instead, they seem to be in a debate among themselves as to who can offer the most ridiculous explanation of their failure.
“One thing that is obvious is the increasing use of digital technology by the different assortments of merchants of violence in the country. They wage a campaign of terror and violence using intelligence, this means that government’s’ counter insurgency must also turn to be based on intelligence.”
Making effective use of intelligence requiring an elaborate capacity to deploy and use digital technology. sadly, we have not seen this in the way that army and other agencies are prosecuting the campaign against insurgents.
Embracing digital technology is about equipping and reequipping our army and intelligence agencies who have been underequipped now for quite some times. Part of the reason is the systematic corruptions that is embedded in the different national institutions of governance and security in the country,” he said.
According to the center, a foundation step is needed to dismantle the war-economy around the counter-insurgency efforts. The war-economy has been articulated by people and organizations that benefit from the situation to continue to allow the violence to continue with no interest in winning the battel.
“All these involved in feeding fat on the misery of the citizens should be brought to book. Once that is done, a lot of resources would be recovered to fund the reequipping of the army and security agencies to strategically counter the insurgents and bandits.”
Part of that reequipped is to deploy digital technology for intelligence gathering, processing and transfer to enable the effort be driven by intelligence and be well ahead of the insurgents.
Uses of technology
1. Drones to locate and eliminate insurgents and bandits
2. Monitoring the movement and activities of bandits and insurgents
3. Tracking money movement to see establish how they are funded and how they use money to support their activities
4. Locating and monitoring of the sites, camps and concentrations of insurgents and bandits
5. Tracking supplies and logistics
6. What government should do:
7. Develop, through consultation its Use of Technology for Counter Insurgency Plan and Strategy
8. dentity and address connectivity blind spots in the country, especially within environments where bandits and insurgents are operating
9. Empower citizens to use and access to technology so as to the best use of it
10. Develop a full characterisation of insurgents use of social media and track down their conversations using the identified markers
11. Develop, using internationally accepted standards, protocols for monitoring suspected insurgents
12. In doing these, government should not:
13. Indiscriminately monitor citizens to trample and desecrate their right to digital privacy
14.It must never mount a mass surveillance of is citizens because it is not only counterproductive and wasteful but also a derogation of the right of citizens to privacy
15. It must avoid the temptation to turn power of technology into weapon for political witch-hunt.
16. It must also have clear data protection policy. Right now there is too much a digital citizens’ personal data in the hands of so many agencies of government without clear rules of data collection, data storage, management and use as well as sharing. We do not know which third parties have access to this data, how it is use and for what purpose. The global standard is that data subject must know who use, for what use such data is put to.