Text of Address to Select Journalists Delivered by Dr. Abubakar Mohammed on behalf of the Military Writers Society of Nigeria
Titled: The NSA Must Sit-up and Be Proactive or Resign
Time: 11 am Prompt
Date: 22nd June 2020
Venue: Conference Hall, 7th Floor, Federal Ministry of Niger Delta,Federal Secretariat,Abuja.
1. The Military Writers Society of Nigeria (MWSN) is saddened because of the heinous attacks carried out by criminals who identify themselves as jihadists, insurgents, and bandits. We hereby use this opportunity to condole all those who lost their loved ones in the mayhem that occurred in both Borno and Katsina States last week. We in MWSN recognize the fact that all those who were murdered have the inalienable rights to life and liberty, and these rights are to be enforced by the government.
2. Despite the setbacks that occurred last week in the theatre of operations and some parts of Katsina State, we firmly believe that the military especially the Nigerian Army deserves commendations and not condemnations because of the successes it has recorded in the last three months when the Army leadership relocated to Borno to take charge of the operation. We are convinced that the military had decimated a considerable number of the top commanders and foot soldiers of Boko Haram insurgents because of the proofs shown to us and the general public.
3. Therefore, we are using this medium to commend the military for being proactive in their response to the myriads of security challenges bedeviling Nigeria even though we know very well that military solution alone cannot guarantee peace. This is because the security challenges confronting Nigeria emanated because of a cacophony of accumulated factors ranging from ignorance, unemployment, injustice, misgovernance,under-policing,under-funding of the military, and poor intelligence gathering.
4. It is against this backdrop that we are reacting to the recent vituperative tirade made by the National Security Advisor (NSA) where he made a veiled accusation of underperformance against the Service Chiefs.NSA Munguno came out last week to use semantics to make a veiled attack on Service Chiefs especially the Nigerian army. Nigerians still don’t know what has the NSA and his office that usually billions of Naira done or has been doing to engage insurgents and terrorists via the carrot approach to bring the present security challenge to an end? As someone who is from Borno and who most likely knows those behind this bloodshed, the NSA should know that mere grammar and blaming mobile telecommunications companies because of unregistered SIM cards is not enough. There was a time some of us reported MTN because of this matter of unregistered SIM but both the DSS and the NCC ignored us. Same with the ONSA. It was only the Military Intelligence Directorate that listened to us. The NSA should either move to Borno or open up his doors like the COAS, and engage, dialogue, mediate and negotiate with the godfathers of these boys to bring this madness to a halt. If he doesn’t want to use the carrot approach, he can use local contacts and the DSS to apprehend and prosecute these godfathers and war entrepreneurs. Let it be clear that collaborators and financiers of insecurity in Nigeria are not ghosts. We must make innovative use of the carrot and stick approach if we truly want to bring this insurgency to a halt, and the ONSA is the best agency of government to activate and implement the carrot approach. We believe that if a veritable carrot approach is initiated to complement the stick-approach used by the military, the insurgents and terrorists will be neutralized in no distant time. The NSA ought to know that his office is a sensitive one but its relevance and potency depends on how he discharges his duties. About six months ago, a memo classified as top-secret written and signed by the NSA got leaked to press but despite the fact that authorized disclosure of such letters has grievous consequences,nothing has been done to address the leakage of that letter. If a letter that is not just Confidential or Restricted or Secret but Top Secret that emanated from the ONSA can get leaked out to the press and nobody is held accountable for this security breach till date, then it means the NSA has to sit up.
5. A lot of people in Borno don’t even know the identity, functions, and relevance of the ONSA. The NSA is not accessible and approachable to stakeholders and community leaders in the Northeast. We believe that the NSA has not justified the confidence put on him by President Muhammadu Buhari. Instead, he is disgracing the revered Buhari who trusted him by his lack of innovation, esprit de corps, and proactiveness. President Buhari has done everything humanly possible to end the insurgency in the Northeast region by appointing people of the region as heads of all the sensitive and critical security agencies. Now it is time to actively get involved and stop this empty charade called blame-game and ego-clash. The NSA must liaise and synergize with the military leadership to end this bloodbath. He must keep his ego aside! He said it was the late Abba Kyari that constituted a stumbling block for him not to smoothly operate as NSA. God has vindicated the innocent and misrepresented but dedicated aide of President Buhari. May Allah forgive him for his shortcomings. Barely two months after his demise, see what has happened to national security while the NSA remained docile, unapproachable, and clueless. If the NSA wants to be remembered like NSA Gambo Jimeta,Aliyu Gusau, Sarki Muktar and even Andrew Azazi, he must do more than mere press conferences. Action time. Let’s see big-time collaborators, financiers and coordinators busted and arrested. This is not the work of the military or the Army but the ONSA, DSS, NIA, and the Police.
6. We believe that it is high time for the government to create a National Counter-Terrorism Agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of addressing internal security challenges like terrorism and banditry. The government should also call upon people like the retired IGP Abubakar Dahiru Mohammed whose committee did a fantastic job in Zamfara to contribute their quota. In the same vein, we call upon the Zamfara State government to implement the IGP Abubakar D Mohammed security report if it is truly committed to safeguarding the lives and property of its people. We are aware that many notable personalities including judges, politicians,traditional chiefs and some security personnel were indicted in the report. Is the government trying to hide the report to cover these privileged people?
7. We want Nigerians to see the fight against insurgency and banditry as a collective responsibility and not just the duty of the military or General Buratai and President Buhari. We must get actively involved and provide intelligence and moral support to our troops. The government must also hasten to fully implement the Buhari Plan which we believe has the power to address some or all the root causes of insecurity in the Northeast.
8. As for the issue of the sack or retention of the Service Chiefs,we don’t think it is necessary to lobby or advocate for the retention of the Service Chiefs because the President knows what he is doing; he knows the sacrifice some of them are doing to keep this country safe. While it is true that no man is indispensable in this life, we believe that this is not the time to talk about the sack of Service Chiefs. In anycase the Revised Armed Forces of Nigeria’s Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service 2017 (HTACOS) empowers the president to extend the tenure of the security chiefs, irrespective of age or length of service. Part 1 of the HTACOS, Section 11.09 of the document states that “the foregoing notwithstanding, the President/C-in-C reserves the prerogative to extend the tenure of a CDS/Service Chief irrespective of his age or length of service.”
9. God will surely grant victory to Nigeria. I thank you all for your attention.