Terrorists now use social media to recruit new members and coordinate attacks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has said.

Pantami stated this yesterday in Abuja while delivering a lecture on leadership in counter-terrorism and counter violent extremism in Abuja.

He said the rapidly evolving phenomenon requires the use of innovative approaches to both “counter” and “prevent” it.

“It’s evident that terrorists are exploiting social media, encrypted communications, and the dark web to spread propaganda, recruit new followers and coordinate attacks’’, the minister said.
He urged the security agencies to tap into the resources availed by technology and use them as potent tools for ousting the insurgents from the country.

He said the development of new and emerging technologies such as, “Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things, Robotics, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence,” would help counter and prevent the terrorists’ latest ploys. He said the military and intelligence agencies could use big data to fight the war against terrorism. “Data can be analyzed to understand background, motives, modus operandi and methods of communication of persons or groups of interest”.

Pantami cited an example of a project by the Qatar Computing Research Institute, in which big data was used to scrutinize and analyze social media such as Facebook and Twitter in order to locate the origins of supporters of the terrorist organization, ISIS.

Meanwhile, security experts told Daily Trust that capacity building and advanced surveillance technology were needed to monitor the recruitment activities of terrorists on social media and the internet.

One of them, Kabir Adamu, said Nigeria should avoid knee-jerk approaches in dealing with security threats from social media like the proposed anti-social media legislation.

He argued that “the bigger picture is to have a comprehensive data and identity management system to tackle gaps in security.”

He said through SIM-card registration, anyone on social media or the internet would be known to the government.

Another security expert, Dr. Ameachi Nwaokolo, said most times, terror groups use the internet to recruit, mobilize young people and radicalize them.

He said Nigeria lacked the capability to properly monitor the activities of terrorists on the internet, noting that in other countries, “hundreds are being recruited and equipped to monitor specific websites.”