By Dr. Ifedimma,Joseph Sunny Moneke
On graduation from the Post Graduate School of Criminal Justice in England, a fatherly friend of mine, Senator Sunday Awoniyi called in and echoed, “Congratulations and Condemnations at the same time”.
Congratulations on the successful submission and defense of your thesis, and then Condemnations for daring into a rare specialty, chosen to be on the permanent list of the world’s deadliest enemy in history, AVIATION & MARITIME TARGETED TERORISTS.
This is a phenomenal paradox indeed that for the first time unveiled the indices and inklings of the perilous assignments embedded in my future undertaking.
While l was still chewing this cud, President Musharaff of Pakistan in his book, IN THE LINE OF FIRE wrote this, “becoming the President of Pakistan in this era when Crime-Watch International rated Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world, made me realize I was the President with the most dangerous assignment in the world”.
These revelations were both frightening and threatening at the same time, but there is no going back by me, it’s like a walk into the London donjon tunnel, even with the enlarged warning on its wall that says, “Enter at your own peril”
Your Excellency Sir, you have inherited serious political, economic, security and governance predicaments that you had no hand in creating, simply a bequeathal from the previous regime but you have now have a compelling duty to solve them.
No one cares about, or will help the Gambia and your Presidency unless the Gambians get their acts together and organize their political economy and national security affairs to be regionally, continentally and globally competitive.
In every crisis, there lies an opportunity for fundamental metamorphosis. So you have both crisis and opportunities in your hands, this must not be wasted.
You can do it with the Gambians within a generation; and the country must begin this journey of redesigning their political, economic, governance structures, systems for superior performance and global competitiveness as soon as possible under your presidency and able leadership.
It is not difficult to reverse these negative trends and change the narrative to one of a nation with growing, efficient and well managed federal infrastructures.
All the human, capital and physical resources are here, what is needed is the political will, sagacity, doggedness, technocratic capacity and focus, which you; our President must ensure are optimally harnessed, harmonized and deployed.
The past regime did not only fail in the expectations of the Gambians that expected radical changes within a decade, but even failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance outside of the fact that the country as a state still was in a sorry existence before your ascendency.
You must therefore succeed for the good of all the Gambians, your office, the guests in our midst and those yet unborn.
The Gambia, as a country is hosted by a sub region that is enmeshed in a strategic environment characterized with proliferations of weapons of minor and mass destructions, and a new breed of terrorists and criminals specially trained outside the normal profile.
These groups of terrorists are specifically tutored to target strategic sectors where potency exists for mass scale organized human slaughter. Such instructions are often, “Open Unending Command” to terrorists to freelance and be killing people in incredible numbers regardless of borders, color, creed and race.
Suffix me to use this quote to strengthen the above, “ The confrontation that we are calling for against global regimes, faiths and dictators does not understand debates, ideas, and diplomacy, rather it knows the dialogue of bullets, blood, the ideals of assassinations , bombing and destructions, and the diplomacy of canon and machine guns, the main mission for which this World Militant Summit is organized is to overthrow the global godless regimes-Leaders
“this is a frightening declaration adopted in a meeting attended by Leaders of ALQAIDA, TALIBAN, Tamil Tigers of Sri-Lanka, ISIS, BOKO HARAM, TUAREGS, etc in Pakistan.
With the aforementioned adoption, it becomes imperative that these human butchers, with their weapons and means of delivery will undoubtedly constitute the greatest single threat to our countries, regions, continents and the larger world unless a timely check is conducted.
This is to suggest that our seats of power, Aviation, Military installations, Oil and Allied Gas sectors are continually under threat. No country in Africa is immune or exempted under this current declaration, because in the eyes of the terrorists, no one sits on the fence, its either you are with them or against them.
Countries regardless of their faith and stand must wake up to protect their borders, people and properties.
In the Gambia, there is no magical formula to solve the countries and regional security problems. However, there are actions that can be taken to improve the situations and protect the Gambians.
Some of these actions are already in your Agencies’ action packages, and your Agencies are sincerely and seriously working hard to cope.
All efforts have not been fully exhausted, I believe it is still possible to pursue different policies, especially new-untested strategies with propensity to give the Gambians an opportunity for a more secured, better future, combat crimes-terrorism, stabilize a critical region of the country and protect the Gambians’ credibility, interests and beliefs.
This state of affairs appears far more difficult to reverse immediately, but must be attempted if your presidency is to succeed, as no nation develops beyond the capability, competence and capacity of its public service.
It is within the realm of both politics and governance that you must navigate to extract the best out of the available professionals, technocrats within and outside the Gambia for deployment. The superlative hands of friendship you extended to the Gambians and friends of the Gambia after your elections become meaningful and realistic here.
And this is what actuated these my intellectual contributions, the Gambia and your presidency must succeed. We will all rally around you to assist in our little ways and manners.
As the Gambians look forward to wriggling out of the current security challenges and absurd legacies banqueted by the past regime, the whole world watches in bated breath, here are a few noble questions your Presidency must not ignore:
1. What will the Gambians and your presidency do with the illegal combatants of nearly 3,000-5,000 used by the past regimes in rigging elections over years but later abandoned without proper rehabilitations by their political Masters, after losing elections and goodwill? They are called by-products of past elections.
2. How do we retrieve the haul of arms already in their possessions, since these arms were neither officially assigned nor documented by any constituted Agencies?
3. How do we debrief them from the dangerous training, orientation and exposure they have had in the use of fire arms, especially calling back some of them with mandates for annihilation and extinction of political enemies?
They might have been paid for these unexecuted assignments before the expiration of their tenancy.
4. How to keep the Gambia protected from Boko Haram’s raging fire across the region, the Tuareg’s insurgency in Mali, the Casamance rebels and their salient evil allies around? These sleeper cells are already operational as the recent incursion in Kanilai wasn’t an accident. It portends serious danger, risks, and threats to the regional national security.
I am deeply worried, if not disturbed by the increasing veritable procession of energetic Youths accessing various borders in our regions grossly unchecked under the guise of regional ECOWAS treaty. Regional treaty is a commendable policy aimed at brotherhood, but must not be dispensed with extreme impunity.
Our border security and enforcement must be strengthened especially in the face of the regime change. The Casamance rebels must not be given any opportunity to freely share evil and violent wizardry with the new group quietly brewing up around the axis.
There are substantial facts in research revealing an evil exchange program between the Taliban in Pakistan and the Casamance rebels, permitting their volunteers who did very well after their basic indoctrinations and training in the Casamance riverside training tents to proceed for more advanced terror trainings in Pakistan.
There is no smoke without fire; I will with my little level of knowledge be making regular inputs, as Gambia is my second home after Nigeria.
5. Rebranding the Gambia to exit the global stigma and tag as a country with the worst human rights records in Africa, a piteous social crime profile handed over by the past regime. A regime with amazing records of killed, missing and unaccounted people till date and no one dared to speak out or ask questions. Those who audaciously did suffered the same fate. Gambia needs to send a quick, positive, better, improved message. Our past war-like postures to funding countries and agencies must be urgently corrected, and to create very friendly atmosphere to enable such groups access the Gambia easily.
6. The Gambians must go outside the premix of protocols to check Tran’s border criminality and infiltration with extreme tenacity and seriousness. Your routine Joint Patrol, IMMIGRATION & POLICE which is rated the best in Africa be regularized, motorized and brought to the frontline.
Your Presidency must pride very well in this joint patrol, which is yet to be equaled. I had seen the best in the German security, the Italians, the British Police but none possesses this unique joint policing culture as the Gambia.
The Presidency under His Excellency Adama Barrow must start sending very clear and sound warnings to all our unfriendly friends that the new face of the Gambia means serious security business, and the activities of these groups must be reviewed from time to time by dedicating a critical crime Agency to handle these areas of threats.
7. Stop and Search method as currently obtained in the Gambia, should be strengthened, more motorized and strongly directed towards the capital and regions.
It has tremendously been rewarding in the city of London, where the Metropolitan Police have effectively used it to curtail illegal drug trading, small arms-explosive movements, border incursion, ‘gangsterism’ etc.
Concluding Sir, your Presidency must generously fund and reposition intelligence bodies, as terrorists do the same or even more. It is on records that Ahmed Attah, Zachariah Mossoui and Mohammed, reportedly sent home to their wives and relatives the sums of 38,000 USD, 26,000 USD and 19,000 USD respectively before embarking on the 9 / 11 suicide terrorists missions in the United States.
These monies were from the excesses of the funds given to them both for intelligence and operational undertakings.
The other vital function of this group again is VIP’S protective squad, which includes the protection of the President and other political potentates.
Though this is not yet recommended in view of the reviewing ongoing in your services till Mr. President becomes very sure of his real dogs. Nigeria had this same problem which was later corrected when President Buhari fully assumed control.
We must review these anomalies with time, am sure they are temporary measures.
The German Female Football team few years ago defeated the Nigerian National Female football team in the FIFA FEMALE WORLD CUP.
The German Coach, during an interview, said his magic formula was, being able to have watched eighteen video films on the Nigerian team’s past marches. Intelligence utilized and deployed in the field of entertainment produced such efficacy. It can do more in the field of security.
Fortunately, l believe that the hands of ALLAH were tilting in the Gambian favor from the very first day your presidency was declared.
There is also tons of goodwill, and millions of talented professionals around you, especially Daddy Darboe of the Foreign Affairs, the Vice President, Hon. Minister of Justice, Chief Justice of the Gambia, esteemed Interior Minister, Hon Fatty.
These bevies of technocrats are willingly around to support you and make a success of your presidency. I hope that this media contribution of mine adds to the menu of suggestions you have on your table.
I wish you all the best of luck Sir, and will continue to contribute and pray for your collective successes, to bring the Gambia back on the track of peace, progress and prosperity. I am sure you know that you can always count on me to contribute in any way that will improve your chances of success.
DR. IFEDIMMA, JOSEPH SUNNY MONEKE PhD, Researched Counterterrorism Expert, Manchester, England.