I sometimes wonder if our rough men are not working for the other side – our enemies, or perhaps they have become politicians, playing games of stakes with the lives of the people that they are supposed to protect, with their bosses jostling for more and more power… Nigerian intelligence service men, please wake up and stop dropping the ball. Forget the politics. Nigeria is yours to save.
You guys are supposed to be smart. I know you evolved from the Police – just as many other agencies did. By splintering from the Police, you were meant to be cleaner, and smarter, and much quicker on your feet. Is it politics that overcame you guys?
I heard the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, for the first time, since he was appointed years ago, the other day, sounding very eloquent in Queen’s English. He should be polished, after all he was one of those privileged ‘ajebutter’ Nigerian children who attended Kings College back in the day. From his speech, I could hear and see an organised mind and an intelligent, functional brain, and I wondered at length why and how Abba Kyari managed to cage such a person, while Buhari looked on. Monguno later went on to allege that quite a number of the arms and ammunition that Nigeria paid for under the recently ‘ambassadorised’ military chiefs were nowhere to be found. When he saw that feathers were ruffled, he tried to walk back what he was alleged to have said. A couple of days after that happened, we heard in the news that Buhari stopped some weapons acquisition he wanted to make from Dubai through third parties. The report put Monguno in bad light and sought to expose his hypocrisy. Will we ever find a way out of our insecurity maze?
We are no longer hearing from the leadership of the Department of State Services (DSS). Since the initial gra-gra and controversies, they’ve fallen silent. No one sees or hear from Yusuf Bichi anymore, but we sometimes see smart DSS chaps in dark suits and goggles performing their bodyguard services to the high and mighty. We even see them on a few occasions heavily kitted up like ninjas, complete with balaclavas and some out-of-this-world machine guns. But that is where it ends. It seems that the president does not care about the efficacy of the DSS and so they too have ‘jejely’ withdrawn into their cocoon. There is some politics going on there. The Police, we know their problem; that one is agelong. I am writing not to draw the attention of these bodies to myself, but well I am available for their attention if they take this personal. I am writing as a concerned Nigerian citizen. I’m afraid that there is no intelligence in this country anymore. I am prompted to write specifically because the nation is totally adrift and even if we accuse the politicians of being asleep at the wheels, it is inexcusable for our intelligence services to also be snoring. There looks to be a deliberate abandonment of Nigeria into the hands of the elements – kidnappers, secessionists, fake news agents, online terrorists, and other forms of terrorists. Who does not know that security is won and lost at the level of intelligence? Whereas Nigeria has come to disrespect the Police Force, yet many still hold the intelligence services in awe as we see them as the elite corps. At least they are not seen on the roads collecting money from bus drivers. However, one can conclude that with the rifeness of crime, and general disintegration of society, the intelligence services have lost their bite and famed prowess, especially under this government.
How can a faceless group named the Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) be sowing so much discord in the Nigerian society and we have intelligence services feigning ignorance about this? Whoever is putting out statements on behalf of FUNAM is certainly playing a childish game with the minds of Nigerians; but even professors believe them. This is because at the end, we are very emotional people in this country. However, the intelligence services have deliberately looked away, while all this has been going on. I googled ‘statement by FUNAM’ just to be able to get some direct quotes for this article and up popped a statement from 2018, wherein this same FUNAM claimed that Nigeria is their only inheritance and that the whole of Nigeria up to the Atlantic belongs to them; that Plateau State is their indigenous territory, even as they claimed responsibility for some gruesome killings. In recent times, the same group claimed that it attacked Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, and only missed killing him because of some ‘slight technical communications error’. The group went further to say, “Our intention is unequivocal: TO KILL HIM. The mission will one day be fulfilled and very soon too”. Furthermore,“We warn collaborators working against Fulani people across Nigeria: WE SHALL GET YOU irrespective of your hidden place… We state clearly, any state or individual that opposes RUGA will be confronted. Any State or individual that opposes ranching, we shall get you. Speak against ranching and RUGA even on the internet: Our Noiseless fighters shall find and fix you…In the next few months, FUNAM will carry out attacks on strategic human and material assets of States and Non State groups or individuals known for their anti-Fulani campaigns… We shall hunt you down in your houses, in your work places, in your car, in your streets. It’s a matter of time”. People sign these documents but no one has been apprehended, neither has the statements been declared fake by our intelligence services.
How can faceless, armed guys run riot in Owerri, freeing 1,844 prison inmates and releasing 600 from police cells, while burning down police stations and other government facilities? I don’t agree with people who believe that the nearby Army formation should have engaged with these people without intelligence, because the aftermath of such impromptu engagement will be a massacre…
From my own humble perception, these statements are childishly written by someone who wants to foment trouble and arouse public anger and disunity in general. The statements also deflect from focusing on real perpetrators. I have been on many WhatsApp groups trying to calm people down by bringing attention to the fact that their minds are being manipulated. But why am I doing DSS’ job? Even Ortom had earlier called a press conference at which he read another statement that this group put online to the extent that Benue State belongs to them and that it is their pleasure to kill Tiv people! A lot of Nigerians have been hailing Ortom for being a governor who loves his people for these public shows. However, those who attacked him must be found. We hear that the Police have arrested some fishermen in the area. I have become a bit wary, as every crime in Nigeria is now attributed to herders. Are we not leaving the space open for other criminals to ride on our sentiments? Are we saying that with all the resources at the behest of our intelligence services, no one can fish out those dumping things online, stewing up the minds of Nigerians, causing mayhem all over the place and even getting people primed to the idea of war and national disintegration? Is this the best that we can really do, gentlemen?
How can faceless, armed guys run riot in Owerri, freeing 1,844 prison inmates and releasing 600 from police cells, while burning down police stations and other government facilities? I don’t agree with people who believe that the nearby Army formation should have engaged with these people without intelligence, because the aftermath of such impromptu engagement will be a massacre of both the guilty and innocent bystanders. But if there is intelligence, military and police formations will know what to do exactly. Owerri was almost laid in ruins, and many parts of the South East are today living under fear of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Eastern Security Network (ESN) or whoever it was that flexed their powers of destruction on that very day. Many innocent policemen and women have been murdered in cold blood. We have seen governors and senators exonerating Nnamdi Kanu and his contraptions as if they are afraid of him. However, ordinary Joes like me remember this guy giving instructions to his bewitched followers to go to remote police stations, kill the officers and take their weapons. Why are our intelligence services sleeping and snoring in Nigeria? Is prevention not better than cure? Is the government now totally toothless under Buhari?
Or is this all politics, so that we can conclude that just the two main political parties are riding roughshod over the future of Nigerians. Have the intelligence services also become subsumed in political shenanigans, even at the expense of human blood? The President does not seem to care anyway. We don’t hear anything from him about all the trauma that people are going through – physically, emotionally and otherwise – but he shows up grinning from ear to ear, to receive Dimeji Bankole and Gbenga Daniel back into their fold to continue running the country aground. I noticed that from the day Buhari was sworn in, whenever it comes to addressing the people, he frowns and grimaces, but when he is with his fellow politicians, he grins and backslaps and is very much at home. I wrote about this back in the day as a confirmation that the man deliberately deceived the people to get their support. But while his tenure will soon be over and he will ship out someday soon, the institutions of nationhood must however remain true to the people of Nigeria.
My word also goes out to well-meaning Fulanis. You have been too silent – perhaps out of fear. I personally believe FUNAM does not exist, but do you? If you believe they don’t exist, please speak out. The country is drowning. Same goes for well-meaning and forward thinking people from the South-East; speak out against the activities of IPOB and ESN.
What do we say about the fantastic intelligence failures around terrorism in Nigeria? How can anyone load up 300 school children and disappear into thin air? What is the spread of our intelligence services across the nation? No Criminal Investigations Department operatives (CIDs) anymore? No undercover DSS agents? No graduates to employ into such roles? How can so many people get kidnapped across the nation on a daily basis without a whiff of this or their subsequent locations of captivity? Even Boko Haram is an intelligence failure. How can terrorists get access to so much ammunition and incendiary devices and intelligence is asleep? It can only be that the intelligence services of Nigeria have deliberately abandoned the people. General Abacha is said to have declared that any social trauma that continues for more than two days or so, must have the hand of government in it at some level. He was correct. I hope this article touches your conscience, if you still have any.
It was George Orwell, the famous novelist, who said, and I quote:
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because there are rough men standing ready to do violence on their behalf.”
This is the work of our intelligence service; our rough men – to do violence on our behalf. You should get our backs while we sleep. But you no longer care.
I sometimes wonder if our rough men are not working for the other side – our enemies, or perhaps they have become politicians, playing games of stakes with the lives of the people that they are supposed to protect, with their bosses jostling for more and more power, on this fleeting earth from where we shall depart with nothing.
Nigerian intelligence service men, please wake up and stop dropping the ball. Forget the politics. Nigeria is yours to save.
My word also goes out to well-meaning Fulanis. You have been too silent – perhaps out of fear. I personally believe FUNAM does not exist, but do you? If you believe they don’t exist, please speak out. The country is drowning.
Same goes for well-meaning and forward thinking people from the South-East; speak out against the activities of IPOB and ESN. Some of these guys have been on a killing spree.
I am from the South-West, and while I understand and support the clearing of forests to weed out bandits, I condemn extrajudicial killings and even the harassment of poor, innocent Nigerians in that region by anybody.
I condemn statements that suggest violence or war. I appeal to all Nigerians. My plea is not based on cowardice. No one will get out of this world alive anyway. But we need to roll back all these mutual exchange of bile across tribal divides.
Like progressive nations do, we need to focus on issues that add value to our nationhood. Division, rancour, picking daily quarrels, sowing bile and venom, pushing mutual hate and disdain, amplifying negativity, have now become staple in our dear country.
The intelligence services have a duty to the country, above any loyalty to any politician, to ensure they fish out the extremists who are egging this nation to perdition.
‘Tope Fasua, an economist, author, blogger, entrepreneur, and recent presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.