Thank you for the privilege and opportunity to partake in this webinar and share my perspective on The Role of People in Intelligence Gathering by shedding light on the meaning of intelligence and how it can be shared.
There is no gainsaying the fact that insecurity – terrorism, KRE, banditry is pervasive in Nigeria and the country seems to be coming apart at the seams. For the sake of emphasis, according to a report by SBM intelligence titled “The Economic of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry”, between July 2021 and June 2022, no fewer than 3,420 people were abducted across Nigeria, with 564 others killed in violence associated with abductions. The report stated that in the same period N6.531 billion was demanded in exchange for the release of captives while N653.7 million was paid as ransom.
The implication of this is that while legitimate businesses are struggling in Nigeria, kidnap for ransom and extortion is obviously the fastest growing industry in Nigeria. What is more distressing is that there seem to be no end in sight unless there is a positive disruption.
The unrelenting security challenges we have in Nigeria can be described as largely being man-made and can be blamed on amongst other things, failure of gathering or disseminating intelligence.
Meaning of intelligence?
Intelligence means many things to many people.
While INTELLIGENCE can be literarily defined as the ‘’ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations’’, in the context of security, INTELLIGENCE refers to processed, evaluated data that is usually gathered from trusted sources.
People often use the words ‘Information’ and ‘Intelligence’ interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two.
Differences Between Intelligence and Information
Information or knowledge that has been processed and logic applied.
Pieces of raw data
Proactive – can forecast, correlate, offer supposition and direct an investigation/inquiry.
Passive – data accepted and stored
Not readily available.
Ubiquitous; Available everywhere
Intelligence gathering methodologies
There are many ways of gathering intelligence that are often referred to as "intelligence collection disciplines". They include:
I. Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is the collection of information from human sources. The collection may be done openly, as when DSS/FBI agents interview witnesses or suspects, or it may be done through clandestine or covert means (espionage).
II. Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) refers to electronic transmissions that can be collected by planes, drones, ground sites, or satellites. Communications Intelligence (COMINT) is a type of SIGINT and refers to the interception of communications.
III. Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) is sometimes also referred to as photo intelligence (PHOTINT). Similar to this is Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) - analysis and visual representation of security related activities on the earth.
IV. Measurement and Signatures Intelligence (MASINT) is concerned with weapons capabilities and industrial activities.
V. Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) refers to a broad array of information and sources that are generally available, including information obtained from the media (newspapers, radio, television, etc.), professional and academic records (papers, conferences, professional associations, etc.), and public data (government reports, demographics, hearings, speeches, etc.).
SOCMINT can be harnessed by government or non-state actors, such as private intelligence agencies or marketing companies, in order to gain knowledge about specific individuals, groups, events, or any number of other targets. SOCMINT data available on social media sites can be either open to the public (e.g., Public posts on Facebook or LinkedIn) or private. Private information -such as contents shared with friends circle- cannot be accessed without proper permission from the creator or complying with best practices, adherence to laws.
The Future of Social Media Intelligence
The future of social media intelligence will be largely impacted by Artificial Intelligence (AI). For instance, AI can analyze extensive amounts of data by instantly identifying trending topics and patterns that exist within social conversations.
Threat intelligence also known as cyber threat intelligence (CTI), is the process of identifying, analyzing cyber threats and data to better understand threats and deploying solutions specific to the problem found.
Types of threat intelligence - split into three categories:
Strategic threat intelligence: This is typically a high-level analysis designed for non-technical audiences – for example, the board of a company or organisation.
Tactical threat intelligence: This is focused on the immediate future and is designed for a more technically-proficient audience. It identifies simple indicators or elements such as bad IP addresses, known malicious domain names, unusual traffic, log-in red flags, or an increase in file/download requests. Tactical intelligence is the most straightforward form of intelligence to generate and is usually automated.
Operational threat intelligence: Behind every cyber-attack is a 'who', 'why', and 'how'. Operational threat intelligence is designed to answer these questions by studying past cyber-attacks drawing conclusions about intent, timing, and sophistication.
Intelligence Failures – Why do we have intelligence failures?
Occurs for three reasons –
1. Failure to process and analyze information correctly - the invasion of Iraq by the US was premised on falsified intelligence.
This can be as a result of:
§ Selective Information or bias
§ Group think or not thinking outside the box.
§ One Track Mind.
§ Over Complicating Matters.
§ Denial or Avoidance
2. Failure to disseminate and share information - there are claims that the Israelis and other agencies were privy to 9/11 attacks but they may not have shared the Intel.
Failure to act on intelligence - Intelligence is useless if not followed up with action.
Probable case studies of intelligence failures in Nigeria
I read how a former governor of Enugu state reportedly got Intel of an impending attack on a community. He promptly shared it with Abuja (the police hierarchy) but they dilly dallied in preventing the attack.
Recent attacks in Nigeria such as the following buttresses lax security and intelligence failure:
§ Note that between 2015 and 2022, there were twenty attacks on prison facilities in Nigeria. 2021 had the highest number of incidents in the 7-year period with a total of 7 attacks. Nearly 9,000 inmates were released from the prison breaks and nearly half of them still on the run. This is a threat to national security.
§ Kuje prison break – Tukur Mamu, the media aide to Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, said he shared intelligence with the authorities about the Kuje prison attack, but the intel agencies failed to act (Channels TV News, July 7, 2022).
According to Daily Trust Newspaper (Tuesday 26 July, 2022), the DSS forwarded 44 security reports to the security agencies warning of attacks on the Correctional Facility in Kuje, Abuja and nothing was done.
If the security agencies didn't act on 44 intelligence reports availed to them by their counterpart, the DSS, there's no assurance that an Intel from a private citizen would be put to good use.
§ The Owo Catholic church attack – over 40 people killed. The attackers mounted surveillance before attacks.
§ The Kaduna-Abuja train attack – Daily Trust Newspaper (March 311, 2022) reports that intel agencies provided intelligence, but it was not acted on. Some of the released victims confessed that they were well fed. Means the terrorists have access to food/meat, possibly from the local market…
§ Kaduna Airport Security breach – 2nd time in 2 years of security breaches around the Kaduna airport despite being in the centre of Nigerian security forces.
§ Terrorists ambushed Guards Brigade in Abuja – This was sequel to terrorists reporting writing a letter to the Management of the Nigerian Law School. An army captain and 2 soldiers were reportedly killed. According to a November 2021 report by SBM Intelligence, ''an estimated 337 Nigerian soldiers have been killed from insurgents’ ambushes since 2019''
§ President Buhari's advance convoy attacked in Katsina – Tuesday, July 5: An advance convoy of President Buhari was ambushed and attacked in his home state Katsina, specifically at Dutsinma, about 152 kilometres from Buhari’s hometown of Daura. It is either the terrorists had advanced information about the convoy’s movement, or it was a random attack.
§ Sometime in July, 2022, terrorists, who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, threatened to kidnap President Buhari and the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai. If they can ambush the presidential advance convoy, this threat should not be waved aside.
§ Nigerian Defence Academy Attack: On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, just a year ago, bandits attacked Nigeria's elite military academy, The NDA, killing 2 officers and kidnapped another in a brazen assault on a symbol of the armed forces.
§ March 23, 2020, about 50 soldiers reportedly lost their lives after Boko Haram staged a deadly ambush on a convoy of troops around Alagarno in Yobe State.
§ June 30, 2022, bandits invaded a mining site in Shiroro LGA of Niger state and reportedly killed ''43 people, including 37 Nigerian security personnel''. This is equivalent to wiping out a PLATOON.
Plethora of Government Intelligence agencies in Nigeria
We cannot talk about the ‘’Role of people in Intelligence Gathering And Sharing’’ without citing the ultimate aggregators, beneficiaries, end-users of intelligence, that is, mainstream government security/intelligence agencies.
Nigeria boasts of a mixed bag of government intelligence agencies. They include but not limited to the following:
§ The National intelligence agency (NIA)
§ The Defence intelligence agency (DIA)
§ Department of State services (DSS)
§ Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI)
§ Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps - NAIC),
§ Nigerian Navy (Naval Intelligence)
§ Nigerian Air force (Directorate of Air Intelligence)
§ Nigeria Police Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID)
§ Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation)
§ Nigeria Customs (Customs Intelligent Unit or CIU)
§ Nigeria Immigration Service (HQ National Intelligence Unit)
§ the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), an arm of the global financial intelligence unit domiciled within the EFCC
Despite the motley security/intelligence agencies in Nigeria with annual budgets running into billions of Naira, why is insecurity - arms proliferation, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism unrelenting in Nigeria?
Challenges of harvesting and disseminating Intelligence in Nigeria
§ Lack of trust and no love lost between government intelligence agencies and citizens: There seem to be lack of trust and no love lost between private citizens and government security and intelligence agencies in Nigeria. This is largely because Nigerian security and intelligence agencies are often skewed towards ‘regime protection’ or doing the bidding of those in power than fighting for the common man. Pervasive incidents of extrajudicial killings which culminated in the ENDSARS civil unrest buttresses this assertion.
§ Lack of Privacy & Confidentiality: If citizens must feel free to share intelligence with the security agencies, then their privacy and confidentiality must be guaranteed. And this is where social media is apt in sharing intelligence anonymously.
§ Lack of synergy, Inter agency rivalry and superiority/inferiority complex: This is the bane of the security and intelligence agencies in Nigeria. It appears they are working at cross-purposes.
§ Politics is superior to security, nay, intelligence in Nigeria: There is a saying that politics is superior to economics. It may be safe to also submit that politics is superior to security and intelligence in Nigeria. We understand that politicians seldom dissect or treat nuggets of intelligence reports made available to them. It can be a tough decision trying to balance perception or likely panic and trying to be decisive.
Is there anyone here who watched the BBC Africa Eye video: The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara? The NBC imposed a fine of N5 million on broadcast platforms that aired the documentary on the grounds that they ‘promoted terror in the country’. The inference from the documentary is that masterminds of banditry and terrorism in parts of the country are not invincible after all. In some climes, government intelligence agencies will synergize with those makers of the documentary to harvest actionable intelligence from them. It appears the Nigerian establishment doesn’t appreciate the publicity and feel embarrassed because they probably had all the intel but have failed to act. Anyway, the government hates competition… As we speak, notorious bandit leader, Turji Bello is said to have been granted an ‘amnesty’ and ‘embraced peace’ in Zamfara state. Imagine the faith of someone who gave out intelligence about him.
§ Lack of anonymity: Scores of Nigerians don't feel free volunteering information, nay, intelligence to government security, intelligence agencies. You don't even know if the person you are giving the information is a sympathizer. Recall that a Premium Times January 8, 2012 report quoted former President Goodluck Jonathan as admitting that members of the extremist Boko Haram sect succeeded in infiltrating his government, planting its members in government agencies and security outfits.
§ Food for thought: Why is that more often than not, when the Nigerian government or the security denies anything, it turns out there’s some iota of truth in what they are trying to deny?
How to share intelligence
Intelligence sharing is the process of exchanging actionable intelligence, information, data, or knowledge amongst relevant government agencies or private-sector entities as appropriate.
The Bible says Can two walk together without agreeing where to go? You can only share intelligence or information if you have a good relationship and mutual trust with the second party.
Intelligence can be shared amongst the security cum intelligence agencies - inter agency collaboration. Ideally, Private citizens should also be able to share intelligence with the security / intelligence agencies. I said ideally because we know this is not always the case in Nigeria and the reason is not far-fetched.
Why private sector, citizens need to be involved in intelligence gathering.
With due respect, the home truth is that Nigerian Security And intelligence agencies are overwhelmed, stretched hence they tend to be more reactive than proactive. Similar to this, they tend to devote more effort to regime protection, stifling supposed opposition than fighting criminals. I commend the likes of SBM intelligence, Bulwark Intelligence amongst others and I recommend that Nigerian intelligence agencies find a way to partner with private companies in the business of harvesting intelligence.
While some people may blame mainstream intelligence agencies for the security breaches in Nigeria, I think we are all complicit. As we say, security is a collective responsibility.
Gathering or sharing intelligence is not the exclusive preserve of government security/intelligence agencies. The democratization of Intelligence entails that Corporate organizations, private security companies, security professionals and private citizens are now deeply involved in the business of intelligence gathering and sharing.
Just like Georges Clemenceau quote that “War is too important to be left to the generals”, I can paraphrase this to say that intelligence is too important to be left in the hands of government intelligence agencies.
§ Social media is the new normal in intelligence gathering and sharing:
§ Extremist groups such as Boko Haram/ISWAP, Abuja-Kaduna train kidnap masterminds share videos etc. online and those videos or images can be geolocated and clues pinpointing location deducted.
§ It is not encouraging that some government intelligence agencies in Nigeria seem to be ‘social media shy’. I mean they don’t have official social media accounts. Granted operatives of Nigeria’s intelligence agencies, the DSS, NIA, ONSA of this world have social media accounts and they do follow individuals of interest (especially perceived dissenters and opposition) on social media, the lack of official presence on social media means they won’t be able to receive nuggets of intelligence from citizens, anonymously.
§ This contrast with the practice across the world where the intelligence agencies are quite active online and can be reached via social media. For instance, according to the report: ‘’Spy Influencers: Social Media Secrets of the CIA, MI5, Mossad & More’’, the ‘The FBI reportedly runs more than 70 social media sites!
§ Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, the Mi5, which is the equivalent of Nigeria’s DSS, officially joined Instagram a while ago @Mi5official.
§ Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Canadian spy agency has LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts.
Nigerian intelligence agencies should take a cue from UK's Mi5, the American FBI etc. by embracing social media. Social media cuts red tape and bureaucracy in sharing intelligence. Imagine if I have an actionable intelligence that I want to share directly with the National Security Adviser. It would be easier if I have his twitter handle. I can also do that anonymously.
See Something, Say Something
Local communities and citizens play an important role in preventing criminality, terrorism and keeping our communities safe.
The public should report suspicious activity such as the discovery of a suspicious package or suspicious behavior, such as someone breaking into a restricted area, attempting to gain access into a restricted area, or making suspicious purchases of precursor chemicals (like fertilizer, )
Abduction of Umaru Dikko in London: It took the observance of a private individual to foil the abduction and repatriation of Umaru Dikko in London On Thursday, July 5, 1984, a team of Nigerian intelligence and Israeli agents.
According to the Money Laundering Act: Financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions must report transactions in excess of 5 million Naira for individuals or 10 million Naira for legal persons to the EFCC within seven days of such transaction taking place. How many financial institutions actually do this? If they do, they will help in sniffing out kidnappers and bandits. Following the money is a global anti-terror and crime-fighting tactic.
Ways to Use OSINT for Corporate Security
Thanks to the rapid growth of public data, OSINT has now established itself as an indispensable tool for business risk management and can be deployed in:
1. Executive Protection: In early-January 2020, the corporate security team at Fiserv advised against executive travel to China after initial reports of COVID-19 disease outbreak weeks before most U.S. companies even acknowledged COVID-19.
Executive protection details can scan open sources to spot travel risks, route assessment and emerging events. If they spot a suspicious post, teams can exploit open source intelligence to gauge the credibility of a threat. Such situational awareness enables protectors to avoid dangerous areas, set up alternative travel plans, or respond quickly to incidents.
2. Protecting against Operational, brand or reputational risks- OSINT can be used to monitor Misinformation, fake news or false rumors spreading like wild-fire online. Such negative publicity could damage a brand, VIP’s reputation, their ability to conduct business, or the value of the organization they represent. Keeping tabs on any rumors or false reports allow corporate security teams to respond quickly.
3. Identifying investment opportunities - OSINT is becoming the new litmus test for investors because it is used for due diligence investigation due to benefits of speed and size. Private equity firms use our OSINT-powered due diligence to know who they’re dealing with, helping lower the risks. For instance, a single tweet or a just published image can be an early signal of a major market event that would completely change the winning strategy regarding particular stocks.
4. OSINT/SOCINT and civil unrest monitoring: Examples are the Capital Hill unrest in the United States, the ENDSARS civil unrest in Nigeria had massive social media footprint in real-time. Similarly, the “Arab Spring” and insurrections in Egypt demonstrates the importance of OSINT/SOCMINT at a strategic level to intelligence tradecraft, as well as the inefficacy of traditional intelligence sources and methodologies.
5. Loss And Fraud Prevention - Retail organizations around the world are fully embracing open source intelligence (OSINT) to filter through billions of online posts to discover valuable intelligence for their security operations, protect assets, detect internal and external fraud and data breaches. Criminal groups often exploit social media to coordinate robberies or share tips and tactics with their fellow thieves.
6. Supply Chain Protection - The process that delivers a product to store shelves is a tightly interconnected network. If one link in that chain fails — from sourcing and manufacturing to transportation — the whole system breaks down. A supply chain disruption can result in millions of dollars of lost sales for retailers, result in financial losses and impair the reputation of the entire company.
7. Event Security - Savvy event managers employ open source intelligence to protect attendees. OSINT can be used to Anticipate Risks and spot potential problems ahead of time. Continuous Intelligence: Security teams often conduct a threat assessment ahead of an event. Locate an Incident: Geo-tagged social media posts allow teams to quickly determine where an incident has taken place.
8. Monitoring Data Leaks and Social Engineering: - The average cost of a data breach for organizations now tops almost $3.9 million, according to a 2021 survey by IBM and increased to $8.2 million on average per incident for companies based in the US.
9. Crisis Response - Corporate security teams basically contend with three types of hazards: Natural hazards (floods, earthquakes, and blizzards); Technological hazards (power loss, industrial accidents, and infrastructure failures), man-made hazards (October 2020 ENDSARS, January 6, 2021 Capitol attack in the US, cyber-attacks, terrorist threats, or workplace violence.
Suspicious activity/intelligence worth sharing?
Suspicious activity may include an unusual interest in gaining sensitive information about a facility security, operations, or maintenance.
§ An unattended bag or backpack.
§ Suspicious purchases of items that could be used to construct an explosive device, including hydrogen peroxide, acetone, gasoline, propane, or ammonium nitrate fertilizers.
§ Theft of explosive materials.
§ Theft of security personnel uniforms or credentials
§ Attempted/unauthorized access to rooftops or other potentially sensitive areas.
§ Individuals acting suspiciously around the entrances to an event location.
§ Unusual or bulky clothing that is inconsistent with the weather.
What information should citizens report?
§ Who or what you saw (specifics)
§ When you saw it (time).
§ Where it occurred (exact place, landmark)
§ Why or what makes the incident suspicious.
Contact Emergency Numbers –
§ Lagos State Government: 767 and 112.
§ Nationwide: The Nigeria Police Force recently secured '933' Short Code For Free Emergency calls and information sharing with the citizens.
Remember that security is everyone’s business, If You See Something, Say Something. As we have seen from this presentation, intelligence is not the exclusive preserve of national security. Numerous security lapses, including recurrent jailbreaks, intensifies the exigency to retool Nigeria’s intelligence gathering architecture and boost inter-agency coordination. There is need for real-time information sharing and also need to plug leakages of sensitive information.
Let's hope Nigeria’s newly created and much touted National Counter Terrorism Strategy Document (NACTEST), National Crisis Management Doctrine (NCMD), and the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) domiciled in the of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) enhances inter-agency collaboration between the intelligence agencies and the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, and the Nigerian Airforce, amongst others, at strategic, operational, and tactical levels.
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2. Open Source Intelligence For Retail Security
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3. OSINT Tools and Techniques for Business Risk Intelligence
4. OSINT Tools
5. Managing OSINT Tools
6. Introducing Open Source Security Management at Enterprise Scale
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8. OSINT Business Data: Actionable Intelligence For Company Growth
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9. OSINT Due Diligence: The New Litmus Test For Investors
10. 6 Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Applications for Your Business
11. Using WEBINT and OSINT to tackle extremist groups
12. Producing Actionable Intelligence With OSINT
13. How to Leverage OSINT Data During a Crisis
14. OSINT Geolocation Guide and Best OSINT Geolocation Tools
15. Six Tools To Help With Geolocation
16. Private guard companies recruit over 4.2million people in 6 years - NBS Monday,
17. The economics of Nigeria’s kidnap industry, an update
18. DSS Presented 44 Security Reports Before Kuje Attack
19. Between 2015 and 2022, there were twenty attacks on prison facilities in Nigeria.
20.The FBI reportedly runs more than 70 social media sites!
21. Private guard companies recruit over 4.2million people in 6 years - NBS Monday,
22. OSINT Goes Mainstream: How Security Teams Can Use Open-Source Intelligence To Help Companies Understand Risk
24. Are spy agencies ready for open-source intelligence?
25. MI5 warns of spies using LinkedIn to trick staff into spilling secrets
26.Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) Use by Governments
27. Seven Ways to Use OSINT for Corporate Security
28.The Advantages and Challenges of Utilizing SOCMINT for National Security Affairs
29.Intelligence Studies: Types of Intelligence Collection
30. Social Media Intelligence
31. Social media intelligence, the wayward child of open source intelligence
32. Buhari launches national crisis management doctrine
33. Boko Haram has infiltrated my government, says Jonathan
34.Budget: Despite extra N12 trillion in 7 years, security remains elusive, as education, health suffer
35. NBC imposes N5 million fine on Trust Television over documentary on banditry
36. INTELLIGENCE SHARING: THE CHALLENGES AMONG THE NIGERIAN SECURITY AGENCIES AND GOVERNMENT
37. With NCMD, Police Have Five Minutes To Respond To Kidnap Attacks – Presidency
38. National Counter-terrorism Strategy (NACTEST)