A new report released by the United States Friday said corruption and lack of capacity is hindering the ability of the Nigeria Police Force to respond to security and terrorist threats within the nation’s borders.
The new report entitled, ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2010‘ is an annual Congressionally mandated report that provides an assessment of trends and events in international terrorism that transpired from January 1 to December 31, 2010.
In the latest report, it was noted that while “senior police officers were well-educated and able to articulate the fundamentals of police organization theory and practices, most of the rank-and-file police personnel lacked skills, training, and equipment.”
It also said in 2010, Nigerian Police conducted limited border security operations but lacked communications, surveillance, and vehicle support to detect and apprehend terrorists and criminals transiting the country’s borders.
The report also focused on the Nigerian Navy, which it said was unable to patrol its coastal waters effectively, thereby making the Niger Delta region and offshore sites more vulnerable to attacks by criminals and extremists.
On the activities of the militant religious sect in the North, Boko Haram, the report said while posters posted in some northern cities by the group bore the signature of al-Qa‘ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), “it has not been established whether AQIM and Boko Haram have operational links.”
Noting that Nigeria had some laws that addressed terrorist financing, it said such laws did not comply with international standards.
It however noted that Nigeria’s laws for money laundering were more extensive.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act covers the provision or collection of funds used to carry out terrorist acts, but does not cover provision or collection of funds used by terrorist organizations or individual terrorists. The Act does not reference terrorist financing as a predicate offence for money laundering,” the report further stated.
On US’ efforts to address some of these problems, the report cited the US funded Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) established in 2005, which, it said, “implemented multi-faceted, multi-year strategy designed to combat violent extremism and contain and marginalize terrorist organizations by strengthening individual country and regional counter terrorism capabilities.”
It also said TSCTP enhanced and institutionalised cooperation among the region’s security and intelligence organizations, promoted democratic governance, and discredited terrorist ideology.
“The overall goals are to enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria, Senegal, and Burkina Faso); to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the trans-Sahara; and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and US partners in the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia).
“TSCTP has been successful in slowly building capacity and cooperation despite political setbacks over the years caused by coup d’etats, ethnic rebellions, and extra-constitutional actions that have interrupted progress and work with select countries of the partnership. In 2010, select partner nations have been successful in disrupting extremist movement and operations in the trans-Sahara,” it added.
US law requires the Secretary of State to provide Congress, by April 30 of each year, a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in the law
The report include policy-related assessments, country-by-country breakdowns of foreign government counterterrorism cooperation, and contains chapters on WMD terrorism, State Sponsors of Terrorism, Terrorist Safe Havens, and Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
It also includes a statistical annex, prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, which shows that more than 11,500 terrorist attacks occurred in 72 countries in 2010, and resulted in more than 13,200 deaths.
Another highlight of the report is that, while the number of attacks rose by almost five per cent from the previous year, the number of deaths declined for a third consecutive year, dropping 12 per cent from 2009.
It also noted that for the second consecutive year, the largest number of reported attacks occurred in South Asia and the Near East, with more than 75 per cent of the world’s attacks and deaths occurring in these regions.
Below is a full account what the report said about Nigeria
Overview: The Nigerian government took actions to improve coordination, communication, and cooperation among its various government agencies and internationally on counterterrorism matters. In the wake of the December 25, 2009, unsuccessful attempt by a Nigerian national to detonate an explosive aboard a U.S.-flagged air carrier over Detroit, Nigeria cooperated closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and the International Civil Aviation Organization to strengthen its safety and security systems at four major international airports. Other than ad hoc high-level security meetings after the October 1 car bombings in Abuja, the National Focal Point on Terrorism (an interagency task force formed in 2007 including the State Security Service, Nigerian Customs Service, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Immigration) did not actively operate in 2010.
Nigeria faced threats from Delta-based militants who claimed to be seeking better government services but who commonly resorted to violence, and from northern-Nigeria based militants known as Boko Haram who have attacked the Nigerian government with an aim to establish a government in the north functioning under a strict interpretation of Sharia law.
After the July 2009 confrontations between Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces, in which several hundred persons died, many Boko Haram members had reportedly dispersed to neighboring countries to regroup, recruit, and train. The Nigerian military deployed a brigade of troops to the Borno state in July 2010 in anticipation of a violent retaliation by members of Boko Haram on the one-year anniversary of the death of their leader Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed by the police, but no attacks occurred on that date.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: On September 7, 2010, Boko Haram members stormed a prison in Bauchi State, freeing over 700 prisoners including about 100 sect members, and killed seven guards and bystanders. For the rest of 2010, Boko Haram members in Borno and Bauchi states attacked police, military, state officials, and anyone perceived as assisting the Nigerian government in efforts to bring Boko Haram members to justice. Approximately 50 individuals were killed and scores were wounded. Police and military personnel have since arrested over 150 Boko Haram members. On October 21, Boko Haram placed posters at key road intersections in northern Nigeria warning the local public against assisting police in apprehending members of the sect. Each poster bore the signature of al-Qa‘ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and warned that “any Muslim that goes against the establishment of Sharia law will be attacked and killed.” It has not been established whether AQIM and Boko Haram have operational links. In late December, violent extremists detonated explosives in Jos, Plateau State, killing at least 32 persons and wounding many others.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Revised counterterrorism legislation has been stalled since 2008. After the October 1 bombings in Abuja, the executive branch announced plans to forward additional language to strengthen the bill, and leaders in both the Senate and the House publicly indicated that they would accelerate passage of the legislation. As of late December, however, the National Assembly had yet to conduct the final reading and approve the bill.
Corruption and lack of capacity hindered the ability of the National Police Force to respond to security and terrorist threats within Nigeria’s borders. While senior police officers were well-educated and able to articulate the fundamentals of police organization theory and practices, most of the rank-and-file police personnel lacked skills, training, and equipment. Nigerian police conducted limited border security operations but lacked communications, surveillance, and vehicle support to detect and apprehend terrorists and criminals transiting the country’s borders. The Nigerian Navy remained unable to patrol its coastal waters effectively, thereby making the Niger Delta region and offshore sites more vulnerable to attacks by criminals and extremists.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Nigeria has some laws that addressed terrorist financing, but they did not comply with international standards. Nigeria’s laws for money laundering were more extensive. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act covers the provision or collection of funds used to carry out terrorist acts, but does not cover provision or collection of funds used by terrorist organizations or individual terrorists. The Act does not reference terrorist financing as a predicate offense for money laundering.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Nigerian government participated in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. Nigeria signed the Beijing Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation and the Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft at the conclusion of an International Civil Aviation Organization diplomatic conference in September.
Download full Country Reports on Terrorism 2010