By Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa
I AM beginning to wonder how our current security architecture is framed. It looks to me that there are some gaps. Recent happenings within the National Security agencies have left me bewildered because these matters are recurring. My bewilderment has turned into a distress. And I am now beginning to ask questions: what is happening? Who is in charge? Are we safe in this apparent lacuna? Four recent events bear me out.
Ibrahim Magu who has been a recurring decimal in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was nominated as acting Chairman by President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB, who is the Commander-in-Chief( C-in-C)of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, which means he is in total control of all security agencies and issues in Nigeria. When Magu appeared in the Senate, his confirmation was denied, because the Department of State Security, DSS, had written an adverse report to the Senate, disavowing the integrity and suitability of Magu to hold the office of Chairman of EFCC. I was stunned. Could the DSS not have made this report in confidence to the C-in-C before sending it to the Senate? I therefore expected a serious rebuke to the head of the DSS for what I thought was an embarrassment to the C-in-C. No dice. Rather, the C-in-C renominated Magu. Again and to my utmost confusion, the DSS stood on their report, preventing the Senate from confirming Magu. And as I write, about two years after he was appointed, Ibrahim Magu continues to function in an acting capacity. And the head of DSS goes about his chores and both he and Magu continue to work for the C-in-C. This situation demands an explanation even as I wait for one.
Then Abdulrasheed Maina who was sacked by the Federal Government for allegedly stealing billions of Naira from the Pension agency he was hired to manage, was being investigated by the EFCC. He ignored the invitation and walked away through our borders, prompting the EFCC to declare him wanted. Recently, this same “wanted” man walked through our borders and returned to resume work at the Ministry of Interior on a higher status. The EFCC did not notice. The Police did not notice, neither did the Immigration. The family allegedly informed the public later that before he resumed, he had been working with the DSS. When some Nigerians raised their voices, PMB sacked him a second time. He quietly walked away out of the country and the EFCC has once again declared him wanted and no one, including the Nigeria Police, the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, and the DSS seem to know where Maina is, how he came into the country and how he left a second time. I am getting really dizzy, can someone please help! And recent revelations that the DSS advised AGF – Nigeria’s Chief Law officer to meet with fugitive Maina in the UK almost floored me!
Then enter Ibrahim Idris who is the current Inspector-General of Police, IGP, for whose sake several senior police officers were prematurely retired, to make way for his ascendancy. Senator Isah Hamma Misau, who used to be a senior police officer, has accused Idris of all sorts of crimes and misdeamenour unbecoming of a country’s number one law enforcement officer. As I write, the Government has said nothing about the accusations except to take Misau to court and I am bewildered that in this era of anti-corruption, when we reward people for whistle-blowing, scant attention is being paid to the weighty revelations from a serving senator – not an anonymous whistle blower. Is he in court to prove the allegations or to be punished for the revelations? I am thoroughly confused.
Finally, very recently , the echoes from this national security lacuna became very strident and alarms began to sound in my head. The EFCC wanted to arrest two former heads of our security agencies and they were prevented by force of arms. Former DG of DSS, Ita Ekpenyong is being investigated for offences bordering on alleged theft and diversion of public funds in the arms deal scandal involving former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), while former head of the NIA, Ayo Oke is being investigated on the $43.4 million cash found in a luxury apartment in Ikoyi Lagos. Both men I understand, have failed to honour the invitation of the EFCC and so the agency raided their homes to arrest them and they met swift armed resistance from the operatives of the DSS and NIA. And since then till now, nothing official has been heard from either the office of the NSA or that of the C-in-C. I am terribly alarmed and I thank God that I am not alone. Many notable Nigerians and NGOs have also expressed shock and bewilderment. According to the Deputy Director of SERAP, Timothy Adewale: ”Nothing more fundamentally undermines public confidence in the fight against grand corruption and trust in government than to see State Security agencies, paid for by public funds, apparently aiding and abetting those suspected of engaging in corruption to escape justice.” To be true, my worry goes beyond corruption. So criminals can walk in and out of our country without let or hindrance, perhaps that explains the continued and unchecked menace of the militant Fulani herdsmen many of who according to Governor El-Rufai, come from outside our borders. Perhaps, that also helps to explain the continued menace of Boko-Haram which despite being degraded and technically defeated, still strolls around, perhaps with reinforcement from outside our borders to continue to visit mayhem on innocent citizens. With our security agencies acting as they do presently, some at cross-purposes, can our national security still be guaranteed? Looks like only God can help!