Bulwark Intelligence


INTELLIGENCE, Nigeria, Reports


One very common security threat in Nigeria although under-reported, is employment scams. This is an online criminal activity where scammers defraud unsuspecting job seekers of their money while promising to offer them jobs in renowned companies. These scams prey on the vulnerability and desperation of individuals seeking gainful employment in a country where job opportunities are often scarce and competition is fierce. When a company’s name is linked to employment scams, it loses trust and credibility with future employees, customers, and business partners. Amidst the growing concern over these scams, the necessity for public awareness and stringent background checks emerges as crucial safeguards against such fraudulent activities. Trends, Economic Context and Job Market in Nigeria In 2023, reports of employment scams continued to rank as the second most perilous type of scam worldwide, with investment scams being number one. These reports surged by 54.2% compared to the previous year. The median financial loss associated with employment scams stood at $1,995, notably exceeding the overall median loss of $100 reported across all types of scams. Concurrently, employment scams emerged as the leading concern for individuals aged between 18 and 35, particularly those embarking on their initial job searches or in the early stages of their professional journeys. Notably, this demographic segment accounts for approximately 60% of Africa’s population. According to the Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria witnessed a significant increase in its unemployment rate, rising from 4.2% in Q2 2023 to 5.0% in Q3 2023. The NBS also noted a decline in the labour force participation rate among the working-age population, dropping to 79.5% in Q3 2023, down from 80.4% in Q2 2023. In Nigeria, where the unemployment rate and economic hardship remain a pressing issue, job seekers often navigate a landscape fraught with pitfalls. The promise of a lucrative job with a reputable company can blind individuals to the red flags of potential scams. Scammers capitalize on this desperation by posing as representatives of well-known organizations or recruitment agencies, offering enticing job opportunities in exchange for upfront payments or personal information. In April 2023, a former Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System desk officer at the Federal Character Commission, Haruna Kolo, admitted to collecting money from job seekers in exchange for employment. He also admitted to having received over N75m from desperate job seekers on the instructions of the Chairman of the FCC. The Nigerian Army (NA) also expressed dismay over the alarming rate of the spread of fake online recruitment information, particularly regarding the Nigerian Army Direct Short Service (DSS) Recruitment Portal for the year 2023. Modus Operandi of Scammers The modus operandi of these scammers varies, ranging from fake job postings on legitimate websites to sophisticated phishing emails targeting unsuspecting candidates. They often employ persuasive tactics, such as offering high salaries or promising quick employment, to lure victims into their trap. Once the victim takes the bait and provides the requested payment or information, the scammer disappears, leaving the individual defrauded and disheartened. Despite the prevalence of employment scams, they remain significantly under-reported in Nigeria. Another uncommon mode of practice is the use of these fake job adverts to lure victims, kidnap them, and subsequently request ransom payments from family members. In the second quarter of 2021, a 26-year-old female graduate of the University of Uyo, Iniubong Umoren responded to a job vacancy she found online and was later kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Her body was later exhumed in a shallow grave in the suspected killer’s family compound, according to a statement by the state police command. It is also worth noting that many victims feel embarrassed or ashamed to come forward, fearing further exploitation or social stigma. Moreover, the lack of effective mechanisms for reporting and tracking such incidents exacerbates the problem, allowing scammers to operate with impunity and perpetuate their fraudulent schemes. It should be noted that not only job seekers are targeted by these employment scams, but renowned companies are also targeted sometimes when these scammers pose as bigger companies seeking partnerships. Mitigating Employment Scams To combat the scourge of employment scams, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about the prevalence of employment scams and educate the public about red flags. Collaborative efforts involving government agencies, law enforcement, industry associations, and the media are essential to combatting this multifaceted problem effectively. By fostering a collective understanding of the risks associated with job hunting in Nigeria, individuals can arm themselves with the knowledge and tools necessary to protect against exploitation and deception. For employers, the spate of employment scams also highlights the need for proactive measures, chief among them being the implementation of comprehensive background checks for potential and existing staff. Background checks entail verifying the credentials, qualifications, and employment history of job applicants to ensure their legitimacy and integrity. By conducting thorough background checks, employers can mitigate the risk of falling victim to fraudulent schemes and protect their organizations from reputational damage.

INTELLIGENCE, Maritime Security, Nigeria, Reports


Introduction In the expansive tapestry of Nigeria’s geographical landscape, the intricate network of waterways, meandering over 8,000 kilometres (about 4970.97 mi) of rivers and coastlines, stands as a crucial conduit for the nation’s vibrant economy and diverse population. This, however, has metamorphosed into a wellspring of deep concern due to the surge in boat capsizing incidents. Examining this problem requires peeling back the layers to reveal the multifaceted factors contributing to this alarming rise. The uptick speaks not only to the inherent dangers faced by those navigating Nigeria’s waterways but also to systemic inadequacies in the safeguards meant to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. States like Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Adamawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Kano have witnessed a high rate of boat mishaps in recent times. Niger State has recorded over 10 boat incidents this year alone. The recent heart-wrenching tragedy in Niger State, where a boat, burdened with over 100 passengers, succumbed to the unforgiving waters, leaving dozens dead, once again thrust the matter of safety standards in Nigerian waters into the limelight. The incident, amongst others, necessitates a comprehensive exploration of the systemic issues contributing to this worrisome trend. It prompts questions about the efficacy of existing safety regulations, the enforcement mechanisms, and the resilience of the vessels navigating the nation’s waterways. Likely Causes An analysis of data furnished by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) reveals that since the start of 2023, over 260 Nigerians have died in various boat mishaps across the nation’s inland waterways. These troubling incidents, as elucidated by experts, could be linked to an array of factors including overloading, overspeeding, and pervasive non-compliance with established safety regulations. Overloading One of the most common causes of boat capsizing incidents is overloading. Boat operators, driven by the pressure to maximise profits, often cram more passengers and cargo onto their vessels than they are safely designed to carry. This destabilizes the boats, making them more susceptible to capsizing, especially in rough waters. Overspeeding Another major contributing factor is overspeeding. Boat operators, eager to meet tight schedules or simply seeking a thrill, often disregard speed limits, particularly in calmer waters. This reckless behaviour increases the risk of collisions with other boats or submerged objects, which can easily lead to capsizing. Lax Enforcement and Inadequate Safety Regulations The lack of strict enforcement of safety regulations further exacerbates the problem. NIWA, the agency responsible for regulating inland waterway transportation, faces challenges in effectively monitoring and enforcing safety standards across the vast network of waterways. Additionally, the existing safety regulations are often outdated and inadequate, failing to address the evolving nature of boat operations and the increasing complexity of waterways. Notable cases of boat capsize incidents in Nigeria A few of the incidents reported this year include; 14 June 2023- A boat capsized between Ebu and Dzakan village in Patigi local government area of Kwara state loaded with about 250 passengers out of which 106 people died. 9 September 2023- 10 persons died after a boat capsized on the Njuwa Lake, Rugange village, in the Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State. On 11 September, another boat accident claimed 11 lives in Gurin village in Fufore Local Government Area of the State. 2 October 2023- A boat carrying 50 people capsized in Yauri Local Government, Kebbi State with 40 passengers unaccounted for. 28 October 2023- A boat conveying 80 passengers capsized in Karim Lamido Local Government Area of Taraba, resulting in the death of 15 passengers. Addressing the Safety Imperative To combat the rising tide of boat capsizing incidents, a comprehensive approach is needed. These include Strict Enforcement of Safety Regulations: NIWA must be empowered with the resources and authority to effectively enforce safety regulations, including regular inspections, penalties for non-compliance, and the impounding of unsafe vessels. Existing safety regulations should be reviewed and updated to reflect the latest safety standards and address emerging challenges in boat operations. Enhanced Safety Awareness: Public awareness campaigns should be conducted to educate boat operators and passengers about safety precautions, such as proper loading practices, safe operating speeds, and the importance of using life jackets. Efforts should be made to promote the use of safer boat designs and construction materials, particularly for vessels operating in challenging waterways. Investing in Rescue Infrastructure: Adequate rescue infrastructure, including well-equipped rescue boats and trained personnel, should be readily available in strategic locations along waterways to swiftly respond to emergencies. The growing pattern of boat tragedies serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address safety concerns on Nigeria’s waterways. By implementing a holistic approach that addresses overloading, overspeeding, lax enforcement, and inadequate safety regulations, we can work towards a future where the waterways that sustain Nigeria’s economy and connect its communities are also safe and reliable.  



Introduction In recent years, bank robberies have emerged as a persistent security concern in Nigeria, leaving behind a trail of substantial financial losses, loss of lives, and enduring trauma in the affected communities. The landscape of bank robberies in Nigeria has undergone a notable transformation. Initially, these events were typified by armed criminals boldly infiltrating banks in broad daylight, relying on sheer force to intimidate bank personnel and patrons, and departing with substantial sums of money. On October 20, Otukpo, a town in Benue State, bore witness to a daring bank robbery. This audacious act targeted four banks within the town, sending shockwaves throughout the community. The armed robbers entered these banking institutions, brandishing firearms that struck fear into the hearts of all present. As the robbers began discharging their weapons, shattering glass, and sowing chaos, a state of panic ensued, prompting people, both bank clients and staff, to seek refuge. Robbers stormed four commercial banks killing many in Otukpo Benue State. Image source: Premium Times Trends in Nigeria The years spanning from 2020 to 2023 exposed a disconcerting pattern of criminal activities associated with bank robberies in Nigeria. During this timeframe, several distinctive trends emerged, offering insights into the changing landscape of these incidents: Selective Targets: Commercial banks located in urban and semi-urban areas became the prime focus of these criminal activities. The rationale behind this was the potential for more substantial financial gains, making these institutions attractive targets. Violence Escalation: Bank robbery incidents frequently escalated into violent confrontations. Perpetrators employed a combination of force and intimidation to achieve their objectives, leading to unfortunate casualties among police personnel and innocent civilians. Heightened Sophistication: Criminals began employing increasingly sophisticated tactics in their endeavours. This involved measures like disabling surveillance systems to avoid detection and arrest, further complicating law enforcement efforts. Collaborative Criminal Networks: A noticeable development was the emergence of criminal networks and collaborations. This made it more challenging for law enforcement agencies to combat these crimes, as criminals shared information, tactics, and resources, effectively complicating the security landscape. Nationwide Impact: Bank robberies were not restricted to a specific locality but rather had a nationwide footprint. States in north-central, south-west, and south-south Nigeria have experienced a notable number of incidents over the years. Prosecution Predicaments: Successful prosecution of suspects remained a significant challenge. Issues related to evidence collection, witness protection, and the legal process collectively hampered efforts in this regard. Challenges Faced in Navigating the Complex Landscape The issue of bank robberies in Nigeria is further compounded by several critical challenges. Among them, a prominent concern is the inadequate investment in security infrastructure and personnel training. Many banks rely on antiquated security systems that are ill-prepared to combat the ever-evolving tactics employed by contemporary criminals. Additionally, the limited collaboration between security agencies and financial institutions impedes the seamless exchange of crucial intelligence and information necessary for proactive prevention. Ineffective law enforcement capabilities present yet another formidable hurdle. The culprits often evade justice due to resource constraints, a lack of training, and a shortage of investigative expertise within Nigerian law enforcement agencies. This absence of accountability has, regrettably, emboldened criminals, leading to an unrelenting cycle of rising crime rates. Socio-economic Impacts The impact of bank robberies on Nigerian society runs deep, leaving lasting impressions and significant consequences. It goes beyond the immediate financial losses experienced by the banks. The trauma endured by victims and the wider community is immeasurable. These robberies often lead to casualties, not just among bank employees but also innocent customers and in some cases, bystanders. The violence and fear associated with such encounters create enduring emotional wounds, affecting not only those directly involved but also witnesses who bear witness to these terrifying incidents. This emotional distress can cast a lingering shadow over the affected communities, eroding their sense of safety and well-being. On an economic front, the ramifications are equally substantial. Bank robberies can disrupt local businesses particularly if the targeted banks are central to the financial transactions within the community. Additionally, the expenses incurred in rebuilding and enhancing security measures can place financial burdens on both the banks and the broader society. Mitigation Measures Using a Holistic Security Approach Addressing the intricate challenge of bank robberies in Nigeria necessitates a comprehensive strategy encompassing both preemptive and responsive actions. The following recommendations aim to fortify security: Modernized Security Infrastructure: A foremost consideration is the imperative need for Nigerian banks to allocate resources towards enhancing their security infrastructure. This involves adopting state-of-the-art surveillance, access control, and alarm systems capable of effectively countering contemporary criminal strategies. Training and Awareness: A robust training regimen for bank personnel should be an ongoing commitment aimed at augmenting their capacity to identify and respond to potential threats. Simultaneously, empowering customers through education can foster increased vigilance, reinforcing the security fabric. Strengthened Collaborative Frameworks: Enhanced cooperation between banks, law enforcement agencies, and security firms is pivotal. Establishing an efficient platform for information exchange can expedite intelligence dissemination, resulting in more prompt and targeted threat responses. Legal Revisions: Advocating for stricter penalties concerning bank robbery and cybercrime is a critical measure. The augmentation of the legal framework and the expeditious prosecution of culprits can serve as potent deterrents. Community Participation: Actively involving local communities in the battle against bank robberies has proven to be exceptionally effective. Initiatives such as community policing, neighbourhood watch programmes, and public awareness campaigns all contribute to a reduction in incidents. Cybersecurity Vigilance: Given the growing role of cyberattacks in the realm of bank robberies, financial institutions should allocate resources to implement robust cybersecurity measures. The employment of cybersecurity experts to safeguard digital assets is paramount. Conclusion The surge in bank robbery incidents within Nigeria from 2020 to 2023 serves as a compelling reminder of the pressing need for comprehensive security reforms. The evolving patterns, characterized by an uptick in occurrences, heightened tactical ingenuity, and a wider geographical reach, present a formidable challenge. Yet, the existing hurdles, which include outdated security infrastructure and the inadequacy of law enforcement capabilities, only



Introduction The year 2023 has undeniably been a year marked by significant geopolitical developments that have reshaped the global landscape of human relations and foreign policies. Without a doubt, there has been a consistent escalation of emerging threats and conflicts. One of these includes the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict which intensified when Hamas, a Gaza-based militant group, launched an attack along the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. More than 1,400 Israeli and Palestinian fatalities have been recorded while 199 hostages have been held by Hamas militants since the attack. This has prompted a global shift in sentiment following the declaration of war, resulting in reactions from allies, detractors, sympathizers, and apathetic observers. Context The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has its roots in historical grievances, territorial disputes, and religious sentiments. Reflecting on the history of Israel and Palestine before and after 1948 and the Balfour Declaration is essential to understanding the roots of this conflict. Hamas’ attacks have alluded to the broader context of the escalating conflict. As diverse nations call for de-escalation, some maintain a steadfast stance in line with individuals subscribing to religious sentiments. In retrospect, the conflict has been fueled by territorial disputes that have deepened through attacks by militias and revolutionary groups aiming to protect their territories. Implications for Africa The positions taken by various African countries are influenced by public sentiment, diplomatic interest and religious affiliations. From Kenya, Sudan, and Algeria, to South Africa, the reverberations of this conflict have reached far and wide hence, this conflict presents a concern to the continent. African nations are affected to varying degrees, by foreign policies contingent on their diplomatic ties, economies, political ideologies, and the presence of Israeli and Palestinian diaspora communities. The evolving global landscape has broad implications for diplomatic relations and manifests as protest actions mainly in some Northern and Western African countries, as well as some regions in the south. Given that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict possesses religious elements involving Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it has the potential to sow religious polarisation in countries like Nigeria. If the conflict escalates and becomes perceived through a religious lens, it could exacerbate existing tensions between Nigerian Muslims and Christians, particularly in the northern zones of the country. Such polarization could lead to inter-religious conflicts, a challenge Nigeria has encountered in the past. Conclusion It is worth noting that some African nations may face diplomatic strains because of their political affiliations concerning Israel. In addition to the rising production costs due to escalating prices, which have been noticeable since the beginning of the Ukrainian-Russian war, this conflict could have ramifications on the continent particularly as both Israel and Palestine are key players in Africa. In 2021, nearly two-thirds of Israel’s trade is conducted with South Africa, while Nigeria stands as the second most significant trading partner, with a trade value of $129 million. Meanwhile, there was a 34% increase in trade volume between 2009 and 2021 from Palestinian exports, including olive oils and food products.  



Overview Last week, reports of a brazen daylight armed robbery attack on a bullion van at Ablekuma Fanmilk, a suburb of Accra in the Greater Accra region went viral across Ghana. The seemingly coordinated attack raises concerns about the security of transporting valuable assets- particularly for financial institutions, prioritizing the safety of police officers and the unregulated use of motorbikes which are often used to carry out these attacks. The Attack On the afternoon of 22nd June 2023, the bullion van made a stop at the Star Oil fuel station in Ablekuma to, supposedly collect cash. A gang of four robbers, riding motorcycles, intercepted the vehicle as it parked killing a police officer seated in the front passenger seat. A review of the CCTV footage, which has been circulating online, showed the attackers making away with two bags, presumably contained with money. In the aftermath of the incident, videos circulated widely on social media, capturing bystanders frantically assisting the injured officer out of the car however, he succumbed to his injuries. Responding to this distressing event, the Ghana Police Service declared a manhunt to apprehend the individuals responsible. Similar Robbery Attacks Over the past few years, there have been a string of robbery attacks on bullion vans across the country with a percentage of them resulting in the death or injury of police personnel. 4 attacks were recorded in the first half of 2021 alone. Here is a timeline of some incidents that garnered much media attention between 2021-2022.  January 2021- Robbers attacked a bullion van at Fomena in the Ashanti Region and carted away with GH¢500,000. The suspects killed a policeman during the attack. March 2021- Robbers attacked and assaulted the driver of a bullion van and stole money on Spintex Road in Accra. June 2021- Robbers opened fire on a bullion van at Adedenkpo, James Town, killing a police officer on escort duties and making away with an unspecified amount of money. A female bystander was also killed by a stray bullet, while the driver of the vehicle sustained injuries. June 2021- A bullion van was attacked at the Okyereko and Dominase section of the Winneba-Accra highway. Aside from the driver, the van was occupied by two policemen with an amount of ¢550,000 on board. February 2022- Police personnel foiled an attempted bullion van robbery at Industrial Area in Accra. Measures In light of the recent attack, the Association of Bullion Operators Ghana (ABOG) announced that effective 1st July 2023, there will be a complete cessation of the use of non-armoured vehicles for cash transportation purposes. But this isn’t the first time measures were taken in response to an such incident. Following the attack in June 2021, the Ghana Police Service expressed apprehension regarding the safety of its personnel. The concern stemmed from using inadequate bullion vans by banks to transport funds between locations. Mr James Oppong Boanuh, the then Inspector General of Police (IGP), conveyed a strong warning, indicating the potential withdrawal of police escorts assigned to bullion vans if the banks failed to procure armoured bullion vans by the end of June 2021.  Recommendations These incidents show the difficulties that organizations and security companies face while transporting valuable items. These incidents often have severe repercussions ranging from financial loss to reputational harm and psychological distress to victims of the attacks. These implications show the need for proactive security measures and adaptive security techniques.   Route Planning and Risk Assessments: To reduce predictability, companies and security firms must regularly analyze and adjust transportation routes. A thorough risk assessment of criminal hotspots and potential ambush points should be examined.   Reinforced Physical Security: All bullion vehicles must be outfitted with cutting-edge security technologies such as surveillance cameras, panic buttons, and bulletproofing. Unauthorized access to assets can be avoided by using secure containers with many layers of security.   Trained Personnel: Security personnel should undergo extensive training programs involving defensive driving, situational awareness, and effective response to potential threats. Regular drills and simulations can help them become more prepared.   Liaising with Law Enforcement: Collaboration is essential among businesses and law enforcement agencies. Regular information sharing, combined training exercises, and intelligence-driven operations can all help to strengthen overall security. Conclusion In the financial sector, cash handling and transportation, commonly referred to as cash-in-transit (CIT), are crucial hence the recent robbery attack, as well as the other attacks that preceded it, highlights the risks involved in transporting valuable assets. It’s imperative for financial institutions and security companies to take a holistic approach to address these issues through route planning, reinforcing physical security measures, personnel training and liaising with law enforcement.  The incident also serves as a reminder for the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities. 



  Overview On Tuesday, May 16, an attack took place in the Amiyi/Eke Ochuche communities of Ogbaru Local Government Area, Anambra State, resulting in the death of four staff members of the United States Embassy in Nigeria. The attackers also set the bodies of the victims and their vehicles ablaze before fleeing the scene. The incident occurred during a medical outreach program, where residents were waiting to receive medical treatment from UNICEF officials when their vehicle was ambushed. Current Situation Attack Details: The assailants targeted the convoy of U.S. Consulate staff along the Atani-Osamale road. Two Police Mobile Force operatives and two staff members of the Consulate were killed in the attack. The attackers abducted two police operatives and the driver of the second vehicle.  Rescue/Recovery Operation: Joint security forces have launched a rescue/recovery operation in Ogbaru LGA to locate the perpetrators and apprehend them. The operation aims to ensure the safe recovery of any abducted individuals and restore security in the area. Security Forecast/Outlook Potential for Escalation: The attack on the United States Embassy staff highlights the potential for further acts of violence by extremist groups or criminal elements seeking to disrupt diplomatic activities and undermine security in the region. There is a possibility of retaliation or subsequent attacks targeting similar vulnerable targets. Response and Recommendations Heightened Security Measures: Embassies and Humanitarian outfits should review and enhance security protocols for its staff and facilities in Nigeria, considering the current threat landscape. This includes conducting regular risk assessments, implementing robust access control measures, and strengthening security training and awareness programs. Communication and Coordination: Improved communication and coordination between diplomatic missions, Nigerian authorities, and local security forces are essential to prevent such attacks and enhance security for all personnel involved in humanitarian missions. Situational Awareness: Diplomatic and Humanitarian Staff members should be reminded to maintain a high level of situational awareness, closely monitoring their surroundings and reporting any suspicious activities or individuals to local authorities and diplomatic or organization security department. Travel Security: Adequate travel security measures should be implemented, including pre-travel risk assessments, appropriate security escorts or support, and adherence to established travel protocols, especially in high-risk areas. Incident Response and Crisis Management: The Embassy should ensure that staff members are well-informed about incident response and crisis management procedures. Regular drills and training sessions can enhance their readiness to handle potential security incidents effectively. Conclusion The attack on United States Embassy staff in Anambra State highlights the importance of maintaining robust security measures and close collaboration with Nigerian authorities. The Embassy should continue working closely with local law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent future incidents. Implementing the recommended security measures will help mitigate risks, safeguard the well-being of Embassy staff, and ensure the success of any humanitarian mission in Nigeria. The incident serves as a reminder for the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities. Heightened public awareness and engagement can act as a force multiplier in maintaining security and detecting potential threats.



Every year, in response to the U.S.’ Intelligence Authorization Act, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) compiles a detailed report about worldwide threats to their country’s national security. The 2023 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community came out, and I read through it to see if there was anything interesting as it pertains to Mother Africa, specifically Nigeria. Long story short, Nigeria was not mentioned, but West Africa was mentioned in a short paragraph on page 38 of 39, where they referenced regions and countries that will likely struggle with democracy and governance. It said regarding West Africa: “Across the continent, governments will face difficulties in meeting public demands amid food shortages, commodity price spikes, declining socioeconomic conditions, and the stresses of extreme weather events and insecurity. In addition, the prevalence of ageing autocrats, disruptions to fragile ethnic power balances, and protracted transitions from post-coup military regimes to civilian rule are likely to undermine prospects for stable governance in more than a dozen countries. In West Africa, a volatile mixture of democratic backsliding, states’ inability to provide security, and terrorist expansion will continue to threaten the region’s stability. The West African public has become disillusioned with how elected leaders have governed, particularly their failure to adhere to democratic governance norms and manipulation of institutions, which could lead to increased protests absent government reforms.“ DEMOCRACY IN JEOPARDY From that little excerpt, the I.C was already predicting that democratic rule in West Africa is going to be a challenge (cue in Nigeria). The inability to elect effective leaders due to institutional repression, coupled with ongoing insecurity and deteriorating socio-economic conditions, will likely lead to increased protests in the region, further threatening democratic governance fairly and justly. This is apt when you consider the recently concluded elections in Nigeria, which have left much of the populace disillusioned. INCREASE IN MILITARY CONFLICT There’s going to be an increasing military ramp up across the world. More countries will continue to invest in their militaries, which could increase the risk of conflict escalation. This is further exacerbated by the current war, coupled with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased poverty, hindered economic growth, and widened inequality, raising the conditions that are ripe for domestic unrest, insurgencies, democratic backsliding, and authoritarianism. CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT Climate change is going to pose a global threat that is going to keep affecting Africa through increased resource constraints, which are projected to grow, as well as an increased risk of conflict that will occur with the migration of people. It is going to affect the global economy, which will equally impact the continent. According to the report, “droughts in 2022 decreased shipping capacity and energy generation in China, Europe, and the United States, and insured losses from [weather] catastrophes have increased by 250 percent during the past 30 years”. Bottom line: We need to get our emergency and disaster management acts together. Scientific projections are depicting droughts and flooding in the coming year. We will need to ensure we have the right emergency response frameworks and resources to tackle this. CYBER THREAT: SURVEILLANCE AND SPYWARE Advanced intelligence and cybertools are now commercially available for more governments to use, including repressive ones. According to the report, “the commercial spyware industry—which makes tools that allow users to hack digital devices such as mobile telephones to surveil users—grew rapidly during the past decade and is now estimated to be worth $12 billion“. I always talk about the importance of investing in defense manufacturing capabilities so that our minds can develop these tools in-country, minimize importation, and instead export these capabilities and grow the economy. Well, cyber intelligence tools are a $12 billion industry. Africa needs to be developing some of these tools as well and getting in on the market. But I digress. These spyware tools aid mass technical surveillance, censorship, and spyware, which governments could use towards targeting oppositions and digital repression. In other words, the next time a digitally organized EndSARs like protest is about to spring up, the government will likely have greater capacity to squash it in cyberspace before it gains physical traction. In addition, these tools can also assist with influence operations aimed at shaping how the outside world views the government. This means an active genocide could be going on in a country, but people on the outside will only see videos of cute cats and puppies. These cyber tools could also be used in offensive capacities aimed at controlling the governance of another nation by creating social and political upheavals in some other countries to sway voters perceptions, perspectives, and preferences, which ultimately will allow them to elect officials that will shift policies in favour of the attacking government. CYBERTHREAT: RANSOMWARE Transnational ransomware attackers are improving their capabilities and will continue to execute high-impact ransomware attacks aimed at disrupting critical services and exposing sensitive data for the purpose of extorting funds. Governments worldwide are targets. The attacks are only going to get more sophisticated and persistent. Our cyber detection and response capabilities must be enhanced and continually upgraded as a matter of national security. TERRORISM ISIS West Africa will continue to pose a threat in the region. AQIM will continue to extort weak border security in west Africa, expand territorial control, and challenge local security forces. Terror groups keep using their Telegram network of channels, ‘Terrorgram’, to circumvent content moderation. CHINA IS NOT PLAYING The report was clear in its insinuation that China is no joke, and according to the U.S. Intelligence Community, it currently represents the biggest threat to the U.S. Reading through the document, you can quickly see why. China is making rapid gains on all fronts and across all sectors. INCREASING CHINESE MILITARY MIGHT Militarily, the PLA Navy and Air Force are already the largest in the region and continue to field advanced platforms rapidly. The I.C agreed that “the PLA Rocket Force’s (PLARF) short-, medium-, and intermediate-range conventional systems probably already can hold U.S.



The Geopolitical Upshots of Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT ChatGPT seem to be engendering geopolitical competition between world powers. Ideally, ChatGPT should be accessible anywhere in the world with internet connectivity, but this is far from the reality. Some countries, especially authoritarian regimes such as  China, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, implement censorship and surveillance to monitor internet usage and restrict the use of ChatGPT due to geopolitical and national security concerns. China leads the pack. Though not officially available in China, ChatGPT caused quite a stir there. Some users are able to access it using tools such as virtual private network (VPN) or third-party integrations into messaging apps such as WeChat to circumvent its censorship by the Chinese government. Japan’s Nikkei news service reported that Chinese tech giants, Tencent and Ant Group were told not to use ChatGPT services on their platforms, either directly or indirectly because there seem to be a growing alarm in Beijing over the AI-powered chatbot’s uncensored replies to user queries. Writing on Foreign Policy, Nicholas Welch and Jordan Schneider cited a recent writeup by Zhou Ting (dean of the School of Government and Public Affairs at the Communication University of China) and Pu Cheng (a Ph.D. student) who argued that, ‘’the dangers of AI chatbots include becoming a tool in cognitive warfare, prolonging international conflicts, damaging cybersecurity, and exacerbating global digital inequality. Zhou and Pu alluded to an unverified ChatGPT conversation in which the bot justified the United States shooting down a hypothetical Chinese civilian balloon floating over U.S. airspace yet answered that China should not shoot down such a balloon originating from the United States. According to Shawn Henry, Chief Security Officer of CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm, “China wants to be the No. 1 superpower in the world and they have been targeting U.S. technology, U.S. personal information. They’ve been doing electronic espionage for several decades now”. A report from the cybersecurity company Feroot, said TikTok App can collect and transfer your data even if you’ve never used App. “TikTok can be present on a website in pretty much any sector in the form of TikTok pixels/trackers. The pixels transfer the data to locations around the globe, including China and Russia, often before users have a chance to accept cookies or otherwise grant consent, the Feroot report said’’. The top three EU bodies – European Parliament, European Commission, and the EU Council, the United States, Denmark, Belgium, Canada, Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, have all banned TikTok especially on government devices, citing cybersecurity concerns. New Zealand became the latest country on March 17 to announce the ban of TikTok on the phones of government lawmakers at the end of March 2023. Not to be outflanked, Chinese company, Baidu is set to release its own AI-powered chatbot. Another Chinese e-commerce platform, Alibaba is reportedly testing ChatGPT-style technology. Alibaba christened its artificial intelligence language model: DAMO (Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook). Another Chinese e-commerce says its “ChatJD” will focus on retail and finance while TikTok has a generative AI text-to-image system. Education And Plagiarism In The Age of ChatGPT The advent of ChatGPT unnerved some universities and academics around the world. As an illustration, a 2,000-word essay written by ChatGPT, helped a student get the passing grade in the MBA exam at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Apart from the Wharton exam that ChatGPT passed with plausibly a B or B- grade, other advanced exams that the AI chatbot has passed so far include: all three parts of the United States medical licensing examination within a comfortable range. ChatGPT recently passed exams in four law school courses at the University of Minnesota. In total, the bot answered over 95 multiple choice questions and 12 essay questions that were blindly graded by professors. Ultimately, the professors gave ChatGPT a “low but passing grade in all four courses” approximately equivalent to a C+. ChatGPT passed a Stanford Medical School final in clinical reasoning with an overall score of 72%. ChatGPT-4 recently took other exams, including Uniform Bar Exam, Law School Admission Test (LSAT), Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), and the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. It aced aforesaid exams except English language and literature. ChatGPT may not always be a smarty-pants, it reportedly flunked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) ‘exam’ used by the Indian government to recruit its top-tier officials. Thus, several schools in the United States, Australia, France, India, have banned ChatGPT software and other artificial intelligence tools on school network or computers, due to concerns about plagiarism and false information. Annie Chechitelli, Chief Product Officer for Turnitin, an academic integrity service used by educators in 140 countries, submits that Artificial Intelligence plagiarism presents a new challenge. In addition, Eric Wang, vice president for AI at Turnitin asserts that, ‘’[ChatGPT] tend to write in a very, very average way’’. “Humans all have idiosyncrasies. We all deviate from average one way or another. So, we are able to build detectors that look for cases where an entire document or entire passage is uncannily average.” Dr. LuPaulette Taylor who teaches high school English at an Oakland, California is one of the those concerned that ChatGPT could be used by students to do their homework hence undermining learning.  LuPaulette who has taught for the past 42 years, listed some skills that she worries could be eroded as a result of students having access to AI programs like ChatGPT. According to her, “The critical thinking that we all need as human beings, the creativity, and also the benefit of having done something yourself and saying, ‘I did that’’. To guard against plagiarism with ChatGPT, Turnitin recently successfully developed an AI writing detector that, in its lab, identifies 97 percent of ChatGPT and GPT3 authored writing, with a very low less than 1/100 false positive rate. Interestingly, a survey shows that teachers are actually using ChatGPT more than students. The study by the Walton Family Foundation found that within only two months of introduction, 51% of 1,000 K-12 teachers reported



Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines or computer systems that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. Similarly, ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is an online artificial intelligence chatbot that is trained to have human-like conversations and generate detailed responses to queries or questions. ChatGPT became a blockbuster and a global sensation when it was released in November 2022. According to web traffic data from similarweb.com, OpenAI’s ChatGPT surpassed one billion page visits in February 2023, cementing its position as the fastest-growing App in history. In contrast, it took TikTok about nine months after its global launch to reach 100 million users, while Instagram took more than two years. Users of ChatGPT span the world, with the United States having the highest number of users, accounting for 15.73% of the total. India is second with 7.10%. China is 20th with 16.58%, Nigeria is 24th with 12.24% while South Africa is 41st with 12.63%, as at March 14, 2023. OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT is currently valued at about $29 billion. Feedback and reactions from academics, global and business leaders to artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, is mixed.  The likes of Bill Gates agree that ChatGPT can free up time in workers lives by making employees more efficient. A research titled – ‘’Experimental Evidence on the Productivity Effects of Generative Artificial Intelligence’’ – by two economics PhD candidates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) attests that using ChatGPT made white collar work swifter with no sacrifice in quality and then made it easier to “improve work quickly”. Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, recently revealed that the opening part of his speech was written by artificial intelligence software -ChatGPT. Lately, Bill Gates and the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, were reportedly grilled by AI ChatGPT during an interview. Similarly, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) enlisted ChatGPT to write a press release about a new task force exploiting novel ways to forestall the threat of unmanned aerial systems. On the flip side, Elon Musk, is of the opinion that ‘’artificial intelligence is the real existential risk to humankind’‘. According to Musk,  ”artificial intelligence will outsmart humanity and overtake human civilization in less than five years’’. Theoretical physicist and one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, Professor Stephen Hawking, seem to agree with Elon Musk. He warned in in 2014 that artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. In the words of Hawking, “Once humans develop artificial intelligence it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate’’. He went further to asset that, ‘’Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded’’. Cybersecurity experts from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a branch of the United Kingdom’s Spy agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), says artificially intelligent chatbots like ChatGPT pose a security threat because sensitive queries, including potentially user-identifiable information could be hacked or leaked. Underlying Principle And Modus Operandi of ChatGPT ChatGPT is essentially a large language model (LLM). A large language model, or LLM, is essentially a deep learning algorithm that can recognize, summarize, translate, predict, and generate text and other content based on knowledge gained from massive datasets. On March 14, 2023, OpenAI officially announced the launch of the large multimodal model GPT-4. A major difference between GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 is that while GPT-3.5 is a text-to-text model, GPT-4 is more of a data-to-text model. Additionally, GPT-3.5 is limited to about 3,000-word responses, while GPT-4 can generate responses of more than 25,000 words and is more multilingual. GPT-4 is 82% less likely to respond to requests for disallowed content than its predecessor and scores 40% higher on certain tests of factuality. GPT-4 is also more multilingual and will let developers decide their AI’s style of tone and verbosity. Basically, Large Language Models (LLMs) are trained with massive amounts of data to accurately predict what word comes next in a sentence. To give an idea, ChatGPT model is said to have been trained using databases from the internet that included a massive 570GB of data sourced from books, Wikipedia, research articles, web texts, websites, other forms of content and writing on the internet. Approximately 300 billion words were reportedly fed into the system. This is equivalent to roughly 164,129 times the number of words in the entire Lord of the Rings series (including The Hobbit). Currently, ChatGPT has very limited knowledge of the world after 2021 hence is inept at answering questions about recent or real-time events. In addition to English language, ChatGPT understands 95 other languages spoken around the world including French, Spanish, German, and Chinese. Unfortunately, ChatGPT does not currently recognize any Nigerian local language. ChatGPT uses speech and text-t-speech technologies which means you can talk to it through your microphone and hear its responses with a voice. It is important to note that the ChatGPT model can become overwhelmed, generate incorrect information, repetitions or unusual combinations of words and phrases. This is because ‘’Large language models like ChatGPT are trained to generate text that is fluent and coherent, but they may not always be able to generate responses that are as nuanced or creative as those written by a human. A blog post by Dr. David Wilkinson, a lecturer at Oxford university and editor-in-chief of The Oxford Review, purports that ChatGPT appears to be making up academic references. In essence, Wilkinson counsels that just because it’s coming out of ChatGPT doesn’t mean it’s right. ‘’You need to be very careful about what you’re doing, particularly in academic circumstances, but also professional’’. How AI-Powered ChatGPT Sparked A Chatbot Arms Race After ChatGPT went viral, major tech companies around the world started scrambling to deploy generative artificial Intelligence. Sequel to speculations that the release of ChatGPT could disrupt and upend the search engine business, Google reportedly triggered a “code red”, summoning founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page back to the company. Soon after, Google launched an



Most Nigerians are already tired of the elections, and it’s not even here yet. That being said, everyone is looking forward to election day so that we can all move on, and Naira can begin flowing again. But insecurity is one of those dreadful phenomena that could lead to INEC postponing the elections. There is a joint civil society group that meets regularly to evaluate election security and they are known as the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Electoral Security (ICCES). A few months ago, the ICCES conducted an assessment and revealed that there were about 686 communities across Nigeria with high insecurity levels due to the activities of various Armed Non-State Actors, which were going to pose a problem for INEC effectively delivering election materials and eventually holding the elections in those areas. About 90% of those communities were based up north. Half of those were in the North West region alone, particularly in Zamfara state which has been hard hit by proscribed bandit groups considered as terrorists. The North Central also recorded a high chunk of insecure communities, as well as the South East particularly Imo, Anambra and Abia. The Bulwark Intelligence map below indicates areas that we are projecting will report levels of electoral attacks. Bulwark came up with their assessments using data from locations that have already reported significant pre-electoral violence, and also states that will likely show tension following the announcement of the election results. Despite the physical security threats, INEC insists that it is still going to go forward with the elections, and security agencies say they are going to do everything they can to prevent any form of violence on that day. CYBER SECURITY THREATS TO NIGERIA’S ELECTIONS The Electoral Act of 2022, ushered in the era of digitization for INEC. The reason is simple. The manual process was leading to significant interference and preventing a truly free and fair election. The introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) are supposed to help eliminate these risks. If all goes well, the issue of ballot stuffing, ballot snatching, results collation tampering, and voter fraud should be significantly reduced. But with increased dependence on technology, comes the requisite cyber security threats to INEC. The electoral commission mentioned that during the 2022 Ekiti and Osun elections, their portal experienced “significant cyber-attacks. But thankfully their engineers and cyber security teams were able to effectively respond”. There are interference threats of Disinformation and misinformation campaigns which are designed to influence the individual voter’s decision-making process, through intentional and unintentional dissemination of false information. There are also threats associated with deep fake videos which are doctored voiceover videos. This is particularly scary in places like Nigeria where wrong comments about tribe and religion could lead to physical violence and destruction. CYBER ATTACK THREATS ON INEC PORTALS AND TOOLS There are four notable tech portals and tools INEC has been using in these elections. There’s Basic Security in Election Duties (BaSED), an online security training portal for INEC personnel which allows INEC to train their over 1 million staff and ad-hoc personnel on election security awareness and what to do in case of security incidents. The other is the Election Logistics Management System (ELMS) which is an app INEC is using to track election materials procurement from storage to delivery. We’re talking about the movement of election materials to over 176,000 polling units across the country, which will be done using over 100,000 vehicles, and 4,200 boats escorted by the Navy. As you can imagine, the use of tech for logistics management is also a welcome development. The two external facing tools which have a high risk of cyber-attacks are BVAS and IReV. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) helps ensure the voter is who he says he is. The upside is that it will reduce voter fraud and double dipping. But the downside is the biometric devices can act up causing delays and false negative errors which could prevent legitimate voters from being verified. The recently conducted BVAS mock testing and accreditation exercise revealed challenges with the internet network/server which is required for activation and configuration. Some remote locations experienced delays as a result. There were some reports of faulty BVAS devices. The hardware was faulty, and the fingerprint scanners were not working properly. INEC is also using the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), which is supposed to ensure electronic transmission and viewing of results in near real-time. This is supposed to prevent cases of false results during collation or inconclusive results following interference by thugs at the polling unit. Again, the downside is going to be the internet network and the ability to upload the results. In addition, the availability of qualified personnel might be a challenge. INEC mentioned that during the Ekiti and Osun elections, there were cases of low-quality uploads because the officers who had been trained to do these uploads were not available or had to be substituted with others who had not been adequately trained for that role. INEC says they will ensure this doesn’t happen again, by deploying only adequately trained officers. SOLUTIONS It’s a little too late to advise on solutions right now since it’s almost game time. But one can only hope that INEC has already done significant levels of preparedness, especially in their ability to effectively detect attacks, respond to these attacks and quickly recover from the said attacks. Hopefully, they’ve conducted penetration tests and allowed independent ethical hackers to rigorously poke for vulnerabilities. PERSONAL SECURITY TIPS To be realistic, we are going to experience some levels of electoral violence, regardless of who wins or how many security agents are deployed to the streets. There are going to be paid thugs standing by to do the bidding of their political paymaster. There will be cases of voter intimidation, where people will be threatened to vote a specific way or experience the wrath of their local warlord. People are going to be upset with

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