The incident of last Tuesday where dare devil terrorists attacked the heavily fortified Kuje medium prison and caused disruption in the activities of the correctional centre will go down in history as one sore point in our nation’s development.
However, a time-tested saying has it that life is 10 percent what happened to you and 90 percent how you react to it. It is important to dissect our reactions to the sad event and how that can serve as spring board for future planning.
It is incisive to start from President Muhammadu Buhari’s reaction to the attack. He first paid a visit for on-the-spot assessment of the level of damage. That in itself shows charismatic leadership. He followed it up with the meeting of service chiefs at the presidential villa.
Buhari’s decision to immediately summon security top brass has been roundly applauded by security experts. It has been likened to John F. Kennedy’s reaction during the 1962 Cuba Missile Crisis where the United States president, in a marathon meeting of his war cabinet, directed that every means possible must be used to remove the Soviet missile from the Cuban waters, as it compromises the United States security.
For the umpteenth time, the president’s response to insecurity is clear and unambiguous. Buhari gave marching orders to the security chiefs to go after insurgents, bandits and terrorists, charging them not to rest until all Nigerians are at rest.
The world just witnessed a scenario where the longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was shot dead during a campaign appearance. Whatever may be the excuse of the assailant, one lesson to learn from that unfortunate development is that Japanese did not rise up against their security agencies or condemning and looking for who to blane. Rather, they are rallying round and supporting Authorities to ensure that things like this don’t happen again.
Suffice it to express my frustration with my country men and women, whose interests is to take their leaders to the gallow and country to the cleaners, each time things go wrong. Why can’t we learn from citizens of other countries in crisis,m like it is happening in Ukraine? Despite proven Russia’s military fire power, it only failed to take Kyiv and effect a regime change because the ordinary Ukrainians stood resolute and supportive of their government. They offered useful information, cooperated with security agencies in their intelligence gathering and strategy execution activities.
Even the authoritarian regime in South Korea is enjoying the support of its people because they need to secure their country against internal subversion and external interferences and aggression. This explains why the United States, despite all it’s antics, scheming and gimmicks against North Korea, has so far, failed to undermine the Kim Jung-un regime. This is so because the force of the people is more powerful than the hurricane. Where the people are one and united in purpose, no act of sabotage can prevail over them.
I have been privileged to interface with many security and intelligence experts from these developed countries and their approach and contributions are quite constructive. But in Nigeria, those parading as security experts are to say the least quacks. Merely listening to their analyses on security during interviews on both print, electronic and social media would leave wondering how every character with access to the media can become a self-acclaimef security expert.
It is most obvious that most of them can’t even separate classified intelligence, classified investigation, classified security and information. We must say it boldly that theirs plans and those of their paymasters are to sabotage all efforts made by the Buhari administration ahead of the 2023 election.
For instance, there are those who claim they shared intelligence with the government before the Kuje prison attack. But I’m very sure that if the intelligence they are providing are truly for God and country, and not manufactured for sinister purposes, our intelligence community would respond promptly. Their true motive is to instigate Nigerians against government.
You can’t share fake intelligence and expect the relevant authorities to act. Our intelligence community is made up of seasoned professionals in crime management and prevention. They know what is genuine and what is the antics of merchants of division.
Let me reiterate for the upteenth time that no weapon, no threat, no terrorists activities can succeed or overwhelmed a nation or people who are united and supportive of their government. Can a tree make forest? What or who is government? My understanding of government is that the people are the government and government is the people. What the government is able to do or fails to achieve depends on the will or collective resolve of the people for whom government exists to defend.
President Buhari has demonstrated leadership capacity and willingness to keep Nigeria safe and better than he met it. In this regard, he has appointed most brilliant minds in the land to revamp the security architecture of the country. He didn’t stop there; he armed the security outfits to the teeth with most modern equipment and crime fighting gadgets. However, as I mentioned earlier, no matter how well armed the security architecture of any nation may be, it can’t stop crime without the participation, willingness and cooperation of the people. If it were so, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and other developed wouldn’t have had security concerns because their security agencies are armed with Hi-Tech equipment.
Maybe we should weigh in on what the Minister of Internal Affairs, Rauf Aregbesola, said about the attack on Kuje prison. He regretted the attack but said, “It’s a fallout of the success of the war in the North East.” The terrorists that are being dislodged and dealt deadly blow from the North East are the ones stranded and now attacking soft targets around the country. The Owo Catholic Church and Kuje Prison attacks are confirmation that the heat is getting too much up north.
The evidence based successes of the National Security Adviser (NSA), m Major General Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd), couldn’t have come without a cost. It is said that “a thousand sheep led by a lion will defeat a thousand lions led by a sheep.” These implies that a lot depends on leadership. The NSA has effectively mobilised and provided the needed leadership, which has restored hope in Nigeria’s ability to defend itself.
In line with global best practices, security in today’s Nigeria is top notch in Intelligence-led security. A lot has changed since Buhari assumed power. Our operations used to be reactive but now proactive. The current mantra is “nip it in the bud. Let it not happen at all.”
Some of us who have tried through writings and advocacies to explain that the NSA Monguno-led security coordination is working have been called names. Can you see now that news of blood flows in the North East has disappeared from pages of our newspapers? Even news of banditry operations in the North West has also been drastically reduced in recent times. Without a doubt, the synergy among the intelligence community and service chiefs under the supervision of the the NSA is paying off!
The Nigeria’s Secret Police, Department of State Services (DSS), under the leadership of Yusuf Bichi, which has the responsibility for acounter-intelligence, internal security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance as well as investigating some other types of serious crimes against the state has been on top of its game.
Despite its unflinching efforts at uncovering and nipping potential attacks in the bud, some Nigerians don’t seem to see anything good President Buhari’s efforts to keep Nigeria safe.
The Nigerian Army, under the leadership of Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya, combined with the Chief of the Air Staff and their men has demonstrated competence and capability in securing the country. As the Army is on the ground, the Airforce is providing air cover for the men on ground. This combination has effectively turned the tide in the fight against insecurity.
Internationally, the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) under the leadership of a distinguished diplomat, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, has performed well. Check the way the Nigerian fugitive, Nnamdi Kanu, who was denting Nigeria’s image internationally was bundled and brought back home to face trial.
As if that is not enough, many sponsors of Boko Haram, ISWAP and other criminal organisations have been exposed. Some have been tried, while the channel and source of funding of some have been stifled.
Buhari has in the last seven years given his best to Nigeria, to ensure that the dignity of the country is restored. The least we can do is to offer constructive criticism that can add value to the nation instead of criticising.
Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, Presidential Support Committee (PSC)