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Boko Haram governor: Why Mailafia should not be demonised

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For the precarious security situation in Nigeria that has defied all known hypothesis, it’s important to realise that the only antidote to solving the security crisis is truth. ‘Naked truth’ for that matter.

Since the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia revealed in a radio interview that some repentant Boko Haram fighters told him that “a northern governor is one of their commander”, all had not been well within the elite circle. The intensity of Boko Haram attacks; the consistency; the sophisticated weapons; even the coordination of attacks and those of bandits not only in the Northeast, but Northwest and Northcentral show a trajectory of high level conspiracy against the State and its citizens.

Reflecting deeply on this, there have been unimaginable heavy casualties in human and finanacial resources occasioned by criminal attacks, a situation that has put the President Muhammadu Buhari administration under pressure. Unarguably, this administration had been derailed in its programmes projection as a result of security emergencies and contigencies which ordinarily such opportunity would have been used to advance the lives of Nigerians.

Therefore, there is no well meaning citizen that would not be concerned over the pathetic security situation which predated the current administration, to say the least. Particularly, the terrorists attack was leaving a seemingly helpless situation on part of security agents who are actually doing much to protect lives and property of the citizens. Given that security should be a shared responsibility, if the nation must overcome security challenges, hence, any patriotic citizen in Dr. Obadiah Mailafia’s standing should do nothing less than to blow the lid open.

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Come to think of it. Could terrorists be succeeding in their operation in a manner they do without insider collaboration? How much does AK47 cost? How much does Pump Action cost? How much does anti aircraft launcher cost that all these weapons and other sophisticated ones are commonly used as walking sticks by riffrafs and ragamofins against the State and its citizens.

These issues should not be rhetoric to rational minds, but should challenge the nation’s intelligence network to the extent of digging out the foundational problems of insecurity that is starring all Nigerians on the face. Wrongly or rightly, Dr. Mailafia has made a point. The onus shifts on security intelligence community to investigate the allegation rather than using him as a scapegoat or as canon fodder for inability to tackle these monstrous challenges.

One is not oblivious of distraction coming from highly placed citizens who assert that the allegation by Dr. Mailafia is weighty. Is the spate of attacks by criminals not weighty? Is sacred lives being wasted on daily bases not weighty? People are displaced and some could not go back to their community, even as many can’t go back to farms. A situation that is weighty indeed!

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President Buhari had asked a question in a security meeting with Service Chiefs that reflected frustration of a President who has done so much to end terrorist activities without success that, how are terrorists getting weapons despite border closure. Its surprising that Boko Haram fighters are well equipped with weapons that are not manufactured in Nigeria. The nagging question is who are sponsoring them?

So, if there is a northern governor sponsoring them, ‘a claim that is still in the realm of allegation’, the intelligent community should focus on the substance rather than the shadow. The governor in question should be made to face the wrath of the law so that Nigerians can have a sigh of relief.

It’s at this juncture, the Department of State Services (DSS) should be commended for the professional manner the quizzing of Dr. Mailafia was handled on Wednesday. For six hours, the former Apex Bank boss was grilled at the Jos office of the secret police and discharged.

Those calling for prosecution of Dr. Mailafia for hate speech are missing the point. Those interpreting religious, political and ethnic colouration are missing it all. It’s not the time to vilify Mailafia, but what is paramount is, who are those backing terrorists to carry out the heinous attacks.

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It’s particularly worrisome that on account of Mailafia’s interview, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) penalised the host radio station in Lagos to the tune of N5 million. The rush, the quick move to penalise the radio station for alledged breach of broadcast code on the controversial and unresolved penalty which was increased from N500,000 to N5,000,000 leaves much to be desired. This should be condemned in strong terms, the attempt to gag the citizens from speaking out. Crime is often carried out covertly and it’s pretty difficult to know those behind it and it should be stated unequivocally that this action might deny the intelligence community of credible information from the people in future.

If some citizens were bold enough to open up on the elements aiding and abetting criminality in Borno by the insurgents, the crisis wouldn’t be this bad.

It’s time to call a spade a spade. Government must invest in the military heavily and other security arms. There is no weak military anywhere, if government of that nation invests heavily, particularly that it wasn’t a normal time Nigeria find itself.

Samson Atekojo Usman, a journalist writes from Abuja (ateko2007@gmail.com)

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