Expert warns FG against neglecting OPC, MASSOB, MEND grievances

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Abuja – Prof Aja Akpuru-Aja, a member of the Directing Staff of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), Kuru, near Jos, has advised the Federal Government not to neglect the grievances of dissenting groups in the different sections of the country.

The security strategist gave the advice in an interview on Monday in Abuja.

He said that tackling the Boko Haram issue alone to the neglect of other insurgency groups would be counter-productive as they were capable of constituting a major threat to national security as well.

He said if Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) and other insurgency groups in the country were not properly handled, solving the issue of Boko Haram, would only be half measure.

“MASSOB is very active, MEND is still very active, Bakasi Freedom Movement is threatening, Odua People’s Congress is active, all of them have one subversive tendency or the other which together constitute threat to National security.

“What we are saying is: there should not be this overweight attention on Boko Haram to the neglect of other lines of grievances.

“As government is planning for instance to dialogue with Boko Haram, government should begin to think of taking dialogue with other dissenting groups. What are the grievances of MASSOB and where do we go from there? what are the grievances of OPC?’’

Akpuru-Aja further advised the government to adopt what he called a “Grievances Ventilation Platform’’.

“Now that government is ready to talk, it should open its flanks and talk to all aggrieved groups by establishing grievances ventilation platforms.

“Based on that, government will be in a better position to develop a strategic conflict assessment framework. From this framework, you will be seeing clearer what to do and how to do it; and whom to send to do it.”

He said that there was a lot of rivalry within the security agencies. Most of them are looking for gratification instead of making intelligence reporting unprofitable.

He decried what he referred to as “unnecessary rivalry” among the security agencies with each agency “looking for undue recognition from the president or governor” for obtaining one intelligence report or the other.

“If we make intelligence reporting unprofitable, then people will no longer be running to the National Security Adviser’s office or running to the President to say ‘this intelligence has come from us: Civil Defence, it has come from SSS’ because the pattern of intelligence reporting in Nigeria is meant to be profitable, and business-like.

“It is not helping the sharing of intelligence based on the principle of mutual trust and confidence.’’

He advised the government to come up with a central intelligence unit that would act as a common platform for sharing and dispensing intelligence. (NAN)

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