CHIEF Alaowei Broderick Bozimo was the Minister of Police Affairs in the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo. In this interview, he answers questions on the security situation in the country, dismissing the group threatening Nigerians as terrorists and disgruntled elements in the society and advises Nigerians to call their bluff because their target is to frustrate Jonathan’s election in 2011. Excepts.
MEND has issued more threats to bomb Abuja and even reiterated it by warning Nigerians to stay away from President Jonathan’s campaigns. What do you think should be done to avert these threats?
First of all , let me correct something. The bombing of Abuja on October 1 has nothing to do with MEND. They probably might be renegades or people who have been left behind and they are using the name MEND to commit these atrocities.
These people are not MEND. They are terrorists. As you know, mahjority of people like us from the Niger-Delta have sympathy with MEND who were genuinely struggling for the rights of the neglected Niger-Delta. You will remember that after the amnesty, that issue was put to rest.
The leaders of MEND as we know them: Tompolo, Boyloaf, people in the creeks embraced amnesty but some renegade members of the group did not. The people who were struggling for the liberation of Niger-Delta now want to give support to the Nigerian President from the Niger Delta. It is tragic that some people who are now claiming to be MEND are causing problem. No, they are not MEND.
They are renegades. As far as I am concerned, the federal government should do everything within its power to find out the people behind this and deal with them decisively. I want to thank the Nigerian security agencies, the police, the Nigerian army for the wonderful job they have done so far.
Let nobody be put in doubt about the wonderful job the security agencies have done so far. In fact you know that the casualties of the October 1 bombing are security agents.
And this is the one occasion that Nigerians should rise up to recognize these security operatives that lost their lives and give them national honours. These are people who died in their bid ti protect lives and property of the people of this country. If you remember the 9/11 terrorists attack in the United States, the people who lost their lives were mostly firemen and security personnel. America honoured them but in Nigeria, instead of hailing them, we began to say that the security system failed. So that is my genuine feelings on the issue.
The controversy over the bombing of Abuja has not yet rested when….
Let me tell you, it can never rest because there are people who are interested in fueling the embers of disunity in the Niger-Delta for political reasons. But we are from the Niger-Delta and we know that there are criminals masquerading under MEND. I think from what happened recently, it is clear that a brother of Okah is being accused of being one of those responsible.
He has not been found guilty but there are serious allegations against him that linked him to the Abuja bomb attacks.
But Henry Okah was one of those that supported and embraced the amnesty.
And so what? He did but later, he didn’t quite like it. If I remember, he was not quite happy with the way the Aaron team which he constituted was treated . So, he is disgruntled.
But we are not going to draw any conclusion because I believe that he should be given a fair trial. But the general point I’m making is that it suits the interests of political detractors of President Jonathan to fan the embers of disunity in the MEND and to say that MEND which is the hero of the Niger Delta has become a terror and that President Jonathan is not in the position to quell it, but I can assure you that the security forces in Nigeria which now has a new national security adviser is more committed in fighting these elements.
But one thing I know because I am from the Niger Delta is that these people are not of MEND. Helicopters have been commissioned to improve our security watch and I can tell you, the government is quite serious with this war against terrorism. Forget those accusing MEND. It’s not MEND. It’s terrorists.
Okay, there were fresh threats on this issue and Nigerians have been warned to stay away from Jonathan campaigns.
They are desperate and will issue all kinds of threats to create the instability that they want to create. That is the mentalit6y of terrorists. They terrorize everybody and they kill indiscriminately. But there is no doubt that the president is right in declaring that these people are not MEND. They are terrorists. These are not freedom fighters.
Freedom fighters have down their tools and have been working with the system. It is the bitterness and the ‘bad belle’ of those who wanted the system to collapse but that was not possible and so, they are fanning the embers of disunity. And they will fail because this country has certainly gone beyond that. Nigerians want to see free and fair elections.
Nigerians know what is good and no matter what propaganda they try to use, Nigerians cannot be cowed. All I want to advise is that Nigerians should be alert. All Nigerians should be on the look out, especially when they see an abandoned car somewhere in Ajegunle or Asokoro.
Nigerians should be on the look-out and report any suspicious movements in their neighbourhoods. We should not just fold our hands and watch some disgruntled elements hold us to ransoms. Enough is enough.
Asking Nigerians to stay away from campaigns is a bit scary and these people always keep their words.
That is what they want to achieve. That was why President Jonathan said it wasn’t MEND. The picture is clearer now when they asked people to stay away from President Jonathan’s campaign. That clearly shows there is a target and that is the pattern of terrorists.
That is the point I’m making. They terrorise you and that is arrant nonsense. Nigerians are more sensible than that and that tells you that it is not a Niger Delta affair. But we must all unite for Jonathan to win and that is what these people don’t want. So, we must disregard them and call their bluff.
Nigerians cannot call their bluff because that would be to the detriment of the people.
And so what? It doesn’t matter. Jonathan is not God and we are not. It is only God that will say it will not be and it will not be. Our own is to be vigilant and try to frustrate them as they try to frustrate us and we will prevail.
That is the thing. I don’t think we should be panicking because people claiming to be MEND spoke and we should panic. No way. We will not get scared. Every Nigerian should stand up to them.
But shouldn’t there be a way to stop these things from happening by ensuring tight security?
Of course, something is being done. As you know, when this kind of thing happens, security forces come together to unravel the mystery. As a former Minister of Police Affairs, I’m just happy because our dream was to have all security arms of government work together, exchange notes and exchange information and as long as that is being done, we will prevail.
Can’t something be done by the N-Delta elders t6 tackle these terrorists who claim to be MEND?
There is nothing the elders can do. As you can see, they are no longer in the home-front. They are no more in the Creeks. They are operating from all corners. Some are in Abuja, Lagos and even South-African where the rumour says they are being coordinated from. But that is being addressed.
The home-front is cool. The former MEND leaders are living amongst men and they are not causing any problem. So, the home-front is okay. The terrorists are outside.
Who is Gbomo Jomo?
The Gbomo Jomo as is widely publicised is a pseudonym for the perpetrators of this terrorism. They key into the computer and whenever any of them wants to make a statement, they go under the cover of Gbomo Jomo.
That name Gbomo Jomo is not an Ijaw word. It is not a Niger-Delta name. I think it is a contraction conceived by these terrorists.
How would Nigeria get out of this new development because we used to think Abuja is safe but I doubt if we can say that again?
I don’t think there is anything to be scared of. We in the Niger-Delta are not scared. The average Niger Delta person is not scared of guns. We are used to the sound of guns and when we hear it, we don’t run away. Instead, we go to find out what was going on because we are not new to that.