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 was intelligence, military and police formation will know what to do exactly.
Owerri was almost laid in ruins, and many parts of the South East is today living under fear of IPOB, 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.
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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. What about the recent burning of Governor Uzodinma’s house? Many friends from the South East (including Uzodinma) have been trying to minimise the implications of the venom that is IPOB and ESN. Now they have started hitting them directly in what may prove to be the final push into total chaos in that region. Why are our intelligence services sleeping and snoring in Nigeria? Is prevention not better than cure? Is the government now totally toothless under Buhari?
Why did the intelligence services clear Pantami for ministerial appointment given some of the frightful things he had said in the past, which portray him as a terrorist or someone who really supports such things? There is no point rehashing those things here but suffice to say it is not right to compare Boko Haram, which has killed tens of thousands of innocent peasants in the north of Nigeria, with Niger Delta militants and be calling for rehabilitation and amnesty for a group which has no purpose and no remorse. Could the DSS not have spared the country of the current hullaballoo? Are there not thousands of smart young men and women from all over the north who can do the job but not come with the baggage?
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, the intelligence services have also become subsumed in political shenanigans, even at the expense of human blood?
The president seems not to care anyway. We don’t hear anything from him about all this 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 was time to address the people, he frowned and grimaced, but when he is with his fellow politicians, he grinned and backslapped and was much at home. I wrote about that back then; a confirmation that the man actually deliberately deceived the people. But while his tenure will soon be over and he will ship out soon someday, the institutions of nationhood must however remain true to the people of Nigeria.
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 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? Even Boko Haram is an intelligence failure. How can terrorists get access to so much ammunition and incendiary devices and the 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… for 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 servicemen, 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 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 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 out of 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, has now become staple in our dear country. The intelligence service has a duty to country, above any loyalty to any politician, to ensure they fish out the extremists who are egging this nation to perdition.