While that could be dismissed as political squabbling from the opposition, government security forces have sometimes reportedly avoided areas they know Boko Haram to be operating in for fear of confronting the group, despite the recent show of raiding hideouts. That has given the group nearly unfettered mobility throughout the country’s Muslim northern states, says Radzinski.
Both security companies and government agencies were caught off guard by the recent uptick in the level of violence, says Oyediran Babawale, a military veteran and security officer at Jagal Group, a Nigerian fuel company.
Companies need to employ more security professionals, and they should increase intelligence gathering, says Babawale. He also suggests more coordination between the government’s security agents and private security in fighting Boko Haram.
Although there is already some collaboration and information sharing between private security companies and government agencies in Nigeria, private security companies often feel like their hands are tied because it’s difficult to protect clients without arousing government suspicion themselves.
For example, says Leonard, if a private company uses dogs to detect explosives, the government may become suspicious “because the authorities might raise an eyebrow to how a private security company came by the funds for the sniffers as well as training for the handlers.” However, he says, “if any private security company can convince the authorities of the funding and training, there should be no problem.”
Also, the Nigerian government needs to learn the terrorism-fighting lessons from 9-11. For example, they need to use intelligence to find and stop improvised explosive device (IED) attacks while plans are still aspirational, well before the IED is built, says Max Security intelligence Director Dor Raveh.