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NDA attack: Army sets up inquiry, Presidency assures of security

By Leo Sobechi (Deputy Politics Editor), Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Odita Sunday, Terhemba Daka, Msugh Ityokura, Ernest Nzor (Abuja), and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka)
26 August 2021   |   4:30 am
As the Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) sets up an inquiry into the attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna State, raging reactions yesterday trailed Tuesday’s audacious attack by bandits.

• Ex-naval chief alleges sponsors of insurgency known to govt
• Attack won’t dampen military action against criminality, Buhari vows
• PDP charges National Assembly to summon Buhari, demands forensic investigation
• Nigeria has failed under Buhari, Northern youths lament
• Bandits may extend attack to DSS facility housing Kanu, IPOB alleges

As the Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) sets up an inquiry into the attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna State, raging reactions yesterday trailed Tuesday’s audacious attack by bandits.

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that Tuesday’s heinous attack launched by elements of Boko Haram on NDA facility will only buoy the country’s military action to totally eliminate evil in the country. The President specifically said, rather than dampen the morale of the armed forces as it is intended to, the attack will speed up soldiers determination to make a decisive end to the criminality besetting the nation.

Noting that the attack, which led to loss of lives, came at a time the military had put insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other types of criminals on the retreat, the President said the heinous action would accelerate the total uprooting of evil in the polity, which members of the armed forces are solidly resolved to accomplish in the shortest possible time.

A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the President as thanking Nigerians who value and appreciate the efforts of the military, while urging those playing hateful politics with the dastardly act to desist, noting that rather than recriminations, it was time for all patriots and people of goodwill to support and encourage those who are in the vanguard of the battle against wickedness in the land.

The DHQ also denied news making the rounds that its personnel were asleep when the terrorists struck. According to Defence spokesman, Major General Olufemi Sawyerr, the allegation is untrue.

MEANWHILE, a stark revelation emerged yesterday by a former top Naval Officer, Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, that some prominent members of the current government are among the sponsors of insecurity ravaging the country, and that the 2023 general election may not hold.

Olawunmi, who appeared on a breakfast programme of Channels Television, disclosed that virtually all the security agencies of the country, including the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) are aware of what he was saying, stressing that he was surprised at the trove of intelligence gathered by the DSS on sponsors of Boko Haram.

He declared that since it was inevitable that President Muhammadu Buhari would definitely leave office, whoever takes over from him would have to fall back on the data available to DSS to repair the damage being done to the country.

While noting that the foundation to the current insecurity, particularly banditry and insurgency is socio-cultural, the ex-naval officer expressed dismay that on Fridays, the gates of all military barracks are thrown open for all manner of people to gain access in the guise of going to attend Jumat services.

Hinting at a possible connivance of the topmost hierarchy of the nation’s political leadership, Olawunmi said the reluctance by the Commander-in-Chief to designate bandits and insurgents as terrorists leaves the impression that alleged plan to Islamise Nigeria is real, based on his findings.

Giving an instance of how in the course of his work as a member of the National Intelligence Agency, he found out that some prominent persons were behind Boko Haram, Olawunmi said he knows of one top officer in President Buhari’s government.

The ex-service man said he interrogated the public official, when he was still an officer and found him culpable of sponsoring Boko Haram, adding that the man was not only released, but became part of Buhari’s government.

His words: “While still in service, we arrested some terrorists in 2012 and they mentioned some names. Some of the people mentioned by these boys are Governors, Senators and Ministers. I can’t come on air now and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that I know that these boys we arrested mentioned.

“Some of them are governors now, some of them are in the Senate and some are in Aso Rock. I know one person that has been supporting Boko Haram that is part of this government. Let me tell you this, Buhari has failed. He is part of the problem of this country. I’m not afraid to die.”

The former naval officer, who was invited by the television station to discuss the recent security breach at the NDA, disclosed that there had been abductions of cadets, adding that in one instance N400,000 was paid as ransom to the bandits for a cadet’s release.

“I belong to a group in the military that’s not supposed to be seen or heard. Right now, I don’t care if I am eliminated,” he stated, adding that it is distressing that more than 400 bureau de change operators arrested by the security agencies in a raid had not been prosecuted.

He expressed the belief that the current administration does not want to resolve the security problem despite the procurement of assets for kinetic warfare, stressing, “the solution is not kinetic but non-kinetic. You identified the center of gravity. The centre of gravity is the sponsors of Boko Haram and bandits.

“Most of these sponsors are known within the intelligence community. The DMI, DSS and police intelligence know the sponsors very well. The DSS knows very well with tons of files of those sponsoring evil in this country. The defence headquarters knows all those who are behind the terror going on in Nigeria today.

“The Commander-in-Chief knows exactly what is happening, but he is quiet. When a fish is about to get rotten, the head is the first. The end game is to turn Nigeria into Taliban-type of country. The government of Dubai knows the sponsors and they sent lists to the Federal Government. What did Buhari do?”

The professor of security and intelligence studies said insider collusion should not be ruled out from the attack on NDA, remarking that the government urged journalists to be describing them as bandits, because “tagging them terrorists will invite the international community.”

Commodore Olawunmi, who said he had handled cases of such nature during his 35 years in service, was certain that at least 60 per cent of the time, there were sell-outs conniving with the enemy. “We do operations like this too and there is no way we can succeed without somebody inside.”

While drawing parallels between the element of surprise as used by the military and the brazing assault on the NDA, he said: “We must compromise somebody, either through blackmail or through incentives. Maybe we give money; or we try to indoctrinate that person. We can’t succeed without an inside person.”

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has, however, asked the National Assembly to cut short its recess and invite President Buhari to explain what he is doing about the country’s security situation. National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the country could no longer accept the mismanagement of security.

Lamenting Tuesday’s invasion, the opposition party described President Buhari’s leadership as incapable of addressing the security threat.

Ologbondiyan said: “It has never been this bad and it is unthinkable that a military facility such as the NDA would be invaded and officers killed. A Boy Scout leader would have provided better leadership than the President is currently doing.”

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives also expressed its dismay at the escalated acts of terrorism and bandit attacks across the country. The Caucus regretted that the attacks on military formations and mindless killings and maiming of innocent Nigerians have heightened despite assurances of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.

In a statement, which was signed by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, in Abuja yesterday, the Caucus demanded an immediate and decisive action by APC-led Federal Government to check the ugly trend and save the nation from collapse.

“The situation has become extremely horrifying in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe, Benue, Borno, Niger and other states across our nation, where killers and kidnappers are now having a field day, raiding communities and killing our compatriots.”

The caucus, in the same vein, called for investigation into the concerns raised by some groups, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) on the handling of insurgents by the authorities.

AGAIN, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has come down hard on the Federal Government following the invasion of the NDA, when it yesterday said Nigeria has failed under the leadership of President Buhari. They said Nigeria’s political body has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly.

CNG, in a statement signed yesterday in Abuja, by its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the attack on the NDA signifies a dangerous loss of control of the nation’s territory by government.

The statement read: “The effect of the apparent erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions on such serious matters as national security despite the more than N5 trillion said to have been invested and another N1 billion put in the purchase of arms, has invariably raised serious questions of credibility and probity against the administration.”

Taking a swipe specifically at the current National Assembly, CNG said it has failed to formulate or oversee the implementation of credible public policies to effectively deal with national security issues, build infrastructure and deliver services or effective and equitable economic policies.

“In addition, beyond inconsiderate approvals for the amassing of crippling debts at the expense of the future of the nation, the ninth Assembly has proved it cannot legislate for the representation and political empowerment of Nigerians or protect civil liberties and fundamental human rights. The CNG hereby unhesitatingly pass a vote of no confidence on the entire members of the ninth Assembly as having failed the nation in the vital area of providing security of lives and properties.”

MEANWHILE, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has raised the alarm that attackers of the NDA may also attack headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) where its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is detained. The group cautioned that nothing must happen to Kanu, adding that Nigeria’s security situation is disturbing.

This was contained in a statement by IPOB’s Head of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful. The statement read: “We the global family of IPOB wish to put the world on notice of the wicked plot by Nigeria Government and its security agencies to turn Nigeria into another Afghanistan.

“Tuesday’s coordinated attack on the heavily guarded NDA by rag-tag Fulani bandits with ease and without resistance was just a confirmation of the age-old plan to accomplish this wicked agenda. This attack at the NDA is also an indication that they may be planning to attack the DSS headquarters.

“If Fulani bandits with the aide of compromised Fulani controlled military can successfully attack the NDA and kill Igbo military officer, why will one think it is impossible for Fulani bandits to attack DSS headquarters and kill Nnamdi Kanu?”