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Thompson: a good intention, but could be counter productive


Mr. Ladi Thompson

Mr. Ladi Thompson

Mr. Ladi Thompson is a security expert and consultant who has been involved in debriefing some rescued Chibok girls. While admitting that the current effort at rehabilitating repentant Boko Haram members may be a good intention, he told KAMAL TAYO OROPO that it could be counter productive on the long run.

What’s your take on the reported attempt at training and integrating repentant Boko Haram members? Would it work? Is the government on the right track?
Good intentions, but counter productive on the long run, because of the signal it sends to global terrorists. It is practically impossible to reform terrorists, except Nigeria has discovered some new serum. So-called debriefed terrorist are easy to reactivate and it has not yet dawned on our nation that this is really a full-scale war.

Some deluded policy makers don’t understand that we have an infiltration problem with compromise in high places already. The lingering effects of the 1948 northernisation policies are also muddling the waters, such that religious sentiments in some parts encourage the radicalisation process, because of political gain.

Those suggesting the amnesty probably don’t understand the ideological process of radicalisation or they are being mischievous. The terror machinery is a multi-phased hydra that cannot be handled with kids gloves. It has a conflict span and methodology that does not exist in the lexicon of conventional military warfare and its design exploits every weakness offered by the enemy. While mercy rejoices against judgment it does not ignore judgment. Such proposals as amnesty don’t exist in the terror manual and it’s often interpreted as an opening, flaw or weakness of the enemy.

What then should be done with repentant Boko Haram members who willingly turned selves in?
Create a hybrid version of Guantanamo Bay to separate the wheat from the chaff. We can supply them with litmus programs to detect the unrepentant. Did you mean seemingly or willingly turn themselves in? I don’t think so. If this ill-advised program is executed it would only be proof that there are moles and sympathisers in high places. The rest of the nation should begin to prepare for regional defence instead of national defence of a lost cause.

What exactly do you expect the military to do in the light of this?

We need to applaud the military effort, then revisit the foundations of our defence structures –– cover the cracks in our intelligence communities –– restrategise our counter-terrorism policies to reflect our peculiar circumstance, initiate a national exercise in opinion molding and consensus building to inject terror-inhibitors and then apply the unique omoluabi (integrity) solution nation-wide with priority given to the almajiris. All this has to be done in a nine-month window or else the meltdown will resume. The final outcome of our terror war will be largely determined by our unique solution and the attention we provide for almajiris.

But what do we mean by unique solution when terror is a global phenomenon requiring global standard approach?
It is like defining fever; there are diverse strains! Every nation or axis defines terrorism to protects it’s own national integrity. This is why the list of terror organisations differ from nation to nation.

We must discourage dependence and proffer interdependence as the basis of interaction with allied nations with counter-terrorism.

One of the ideologies of the Boko Haram in sustaining the war is telling its members: “you surrender they will kill you, better fight and die.” How cangovernment avoid being high-handed?
By handling war crimes with the same consistency it handles other crimes. Where in the lexicon of brain washed suicide bombers does the option of surrender come from?

I guess this is why some political office holders under investigation are having a field day. We must stop trying to treat a cancer like malaria fever.

There is a method behind the madness. It’s a product of hate engineering. It works by a displacement sequence. Patient, ruthless and efficient. It is unwavering in its pursuit and the fighters are not the ostrich dangerous, but terror intelligentsia that’s operating freely in Nigeria far from the kinetics. Don’t forget it is satanic machinery cloaked in a religious disguise. A multi-phased hydra.

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