Since President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office as Acting President following the failing health of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010 till date, there have been some form of discontent from sections of the country, especially the North.
From the aftermath of the declaration of jonathan as winner of the April 2011 poll to the January protest against the removal of fuel subsidy by the administration, indications that some persons and groups desperately want Jonathan out of office either by voluntary resignation when the country becomes ungovernable or via impeachment through the National Assembly abound. But a most dangerous development in all these is a hidden wish for a military coup d’etat to sack Jonathan. No real reasons have been adduced for this wish.
In the last edition of The Parliament International magazine, the faces of alleged sponsors of Boko Haram were unveiled. Despite attempts by some of those named to rubbish the report via court actions, the worry of many Nigerians today is that they remain largely free Nigerians with most of them in government going about their work without any move by relevant security agencies to follow up the report.
In that report, the magazine stated inter alia, that, the sponsors and patrons of the Boko Haram Islamic group are among what can be described as fine crop of Nigerian leaders who many others look up to for exemplary conduct and lessons in peaceful, progressive co-existence.
The report named and gave details of what the magazine tagged; Spymasters in government. They include but not restricted to the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Training Development Fund, PTDF, Rabe Darma, one Professor Sambo who was the Director-General, Energy Commission of Nigeria, ECN. He was also the vice chancellor of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, Bauchi; and Sidi Sani, the current chief executive of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA. He was a commissioner in Kaduna state.
Others named were the current minister of state for health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, former National Security Adviser, retired military General Mohammed Aliyu Gusau, a partisan politician who has always sort to govern Kaduna state, Suleiman Hunkuyi and a drop-out from the University of Maiduguri, Aminu who was a fan of late Afro beat musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as he could off-handedly sing most of Fela’s songs as he smokes Indian hemp up till four years ago when he got linked to Boko Haram. Currently, he is in Kaduna prison awaiting trial for yet-to-be-disclosed offence.The remaining persons named by the magazine were current governor of Bauchi state, Isa Yuguda who curiously advertised an apology to Boko Haram mid last year, former Borno state governor, Ali Modu Sheriff who made unsuccessful attempts to debunk his alleged links with Boko Haram sect, and the wealthy octogenarian owner of Chanchangi Airlines, Ahmadu Chanchangi, who hails from Taraba state but has since adopted Kaduna as his home has long been associated with Boko Haram that he is well known as a key sponsor of the group.
But beyond these, reports abound of alleged membership of Boko Haram by officers and members of the various security agencies in the country. Most affected are the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force. Services like the State Security Service, National Intelligence Agency among the remaining are least affected from investigations by The Parliament International.
For instance, during the last set of crises in Plateau state, there was an Army Corporal who served as leg man in collecting cash from sponsors of Boko Haram and lodge them in a commercial bank in Jos, (names withheld.) The complicity of some officers and men of the Police Force in the Boko Haram saga, it was further gathered, may have been due to prevalent lack and want in the service.
It was learnt that so poor are policemen on special duty remunerated that they easily compromise or get compromised on the beat. And their poor allowance of N300 per day is seen as the product of fraud by senior Force officials who collect the federal government’s approved N5,000 per day allowance per policeman, and pay a paltry N300 to each of such officers. “In such a case, there will be loyalty problem. That is when some of us do what you alleged we do,” retorted a police officer in Borno state. Though the N1,000 per day per SSS official on similar duty is considered motivating, the general opinion across the different security services in that current allowances paid for special duties are inadequate compared to the risk they are exposed.
Views abound in the land that inspite of the obvious need to probe the report on the foregoing personalities, the rather conspiracy of silence among the oligarchy in the country, especially those of the north is as worrisome as it is telling. It was gathered that arising from the fate suffered by some northern personalities like Goje and Yuguda in the hands of Boko Haram including religious and traditional leaders, not a few members in the existing oligarchy wish to “be involved.” Another school of reasoning holds that some of such top Nigerians are “direct and in direct beneficiaries of the spoils of terrorism a head 2015 when Jonathan is expected to complete his tenure as president.
“They using the president, and using him for their own benefit. All they are doing is encourage the president that he is doing well and should not be shaken by the insecurity problems in the country as it will soon fizzle out like other crises before now,” retorted Uwem Jude, a Lagos-based current affairs analyst. Also, it was gathered that they exploit the weakness of security chiefs in the country to perpetrate their acts.
Security chiefs’ laxity
The Parliament International magazine recently stumbled on facts that underscore the gross compromise of the country’s security chiefs in the fight against insecurity. A top civil servant in the presidency was forced to wonder aloud last Boxing Day; “While we are all praying to God to divinely arrest the insecurity problem in Nigeria, security chiefs are growing fatter and richer. They feed fat on the huge budgets made available to them fight insecurity. They lack direction in the issue of intelligence gathering that can help in fighting the crime. Your magazine reported on the suspected sponsors of terrorism in the country; why have the security chiefs not seen any need to follow up on the matter?”
He said his position was drawn from the fact that even when Goje and Yuguda had cause to apologise to Boko Haram for unpublished wrong doings, security chiefs in the land chose to look the other way. And according to him, the spate of bombings would continue with such a trend continuing.
The civil servant added that in less than one year, between October 1, 2010 and August 26, 2011, the country recorded the following infamous list of bombings unrivaled in the history of insecurity in the country:
- October 1, 2010: bomb blast during Nigeria’s 50th Independence Day celebration at the Eagle square, Abuja.
- January 1, 2011: bomb blast at the Abuja army barracks (mammy market).
- April 8, 2011: at the INEC office is Suleja, Niger state.
- April 26, 2011: Maiduguri, Borno state.
- May 29, 2011: at an army barrack in Bauchi.
- June 16, 2011: at the police headquarters, Abuja.
- August 26, 2011: at the UN headquarters, Abuja.
The 2011 Christmas Day serial bombings he continued was a national embarrassment that should have given the chiefs every reason to resign from office. But according to him, “they will not unless they are sacked. They are feeding fat on the spoils and cannot see any reason to quit for failing to deliver on their mandates to ensure a secured country.” He added that they respectively have “tight connections” with personalities within the oligarchy in the land whom they “give handouts to so as to remain in office.”
When on January 1, 2011 a bomb exploded at the mammy market in Sani Abacha army barracks in Abuja, approved the procurement and installation of Close Circuit Television cameras, among other sensitive security gadgets for metropolitan Abuja in the first instance.
The fund for the project seen as central to security monitoring across the nation’s cities, was released to the office of the Inspector-General of Police promptly; but its management sooner became a very big issue with heads of other security agencies practically crying blue murder over the released funds. “Of course, tongues started wagging and allegations and counter-accusations were being traded all over the place. In the process, security suffered; and the bombers began having a field day,” said the source.
Though it had been a case of “cat and rat” among the various security agencies, matters got to a head within the last one year when “intelligence sharing” among the security agencies began to suffer. “By intelligence sharing, it means making whatever security information Agency A, for instance, has available to Agency B, and indeed all relevant agencies for the common goal of securing the country,” one source revealed.
It was such yawning void created by the distrusts and mistrusts including rivalries among the security agencies that have since been held accountable for the spate of bombings in the country. For instance, last October1 Abuja Eagle square twin-bombings that claimed several lives were said to have been a result of the foregoing points.
Though the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND claimed responsibility for the act, the worries as to how it could have occurred a few metres away from where Jonathan was reviewing the 50th Independence Day anniversary military parade remain.
A top source at the ministry of Defence also added that the apparent foot-dragging and logjam over the prosecution of suspects arrested over the Eagle square and related bomb blasts flows directly from the foregoing. In the security agencies, there appears to be a lot of laxity and unpatriotic disposition on the part of operatives. For instance, in the Nigeria Police Force, so prominent are cases of questionable decisions that security is easily compromised.
Example is easily made of a dismissed Compol Zakari Biu. Biu was so notorious and corrupt that he set free several Boko Haram suspects with a court order.
For instance, the suspect student who threatened to bomb the third mainland bridge in Lagos is now a free man. This magazine gathered that his mother flew in from Bankock three days after her son was arrested. After 45 minutes with Zakari Biu, the boy was let loose, but not without a settlement of 100,000 US Dollars.
In the same manner, one of the most wanted man in the person of Kabiru Sokoto was let loose by Biu after he was arrested. Biu then took another suspect to Abaji for further investigations.
Zakari Biu, The Parliament Int’l gathered was the first trainer of Boko Haram guerrilla fighters since 2004.
Though Sokoto was re-captured, the former Inspector General of Police,Hafiz Ringim is yet to release his mobile phone that contained the names of high profile Nigerians that are either sponsors or sympathisers.
The foregoing reveals the ignoble spectre of in-fighting and inefficiency in the Force under the current dispensation of the Force. But perhaps, nowhere has the unhealthy rivalry and opportunism among the security agencies been as manifest as to undermine the country’s image globally as the days before the August 26, 2011 UN House suicide bombing. And at its press briefing mid last week the State Security Service, SSS gave inkling in this direction.
The Service admitted that it received “precise intelligence report,” on Friday August 19, 2011, that certain Boko Haram adherents were on a mission to “attack unspecified targets in Abuja, in an ash-colour Toyota Camry vehicle with registration number AA539GBL.” The report named a certain Bakura as the Boko Haram man that would use Kano as base for launching series of terrorist attacks on Abuja.
Unbelievably, the report was allegedly written by the SSS, addressed to the National Security Adviser (NSA), and copied to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the Chief of Army Staff (CAS). The initial delay in taking prompt action on the report appeared to be over when on Sunday August 21, 2011 “a joint operation by all security services led to the arrest of two notorious leaders of the Boko Haram extremist sect”: Babagana Ismail Kwalijima (a.k.a. Abu Summaya) and Babagana Mali (a.k.a. Bulama). After their arrests, “security was further beefed up in Abuja and its environs,” the SSS stated. But the unending strain of backstabbing, opportunism and blackmail was to rear its head hours after the SSS media event when in apparent suggestion of negligent culpability in the bombing, some security agencies have been feigning ignorance of the SSS report.
For instance, the National Security Adviser, NSA, General Andrew Owoye Azazi, reportedly denied ever receiving such report, saying, “people just want to cause confusion…. I did not receive a specific report… Ask the SSS…. There was nothing like that…” Marilyn Ogar, spokesperson of the SSS, ignored efforts of local media to ascertain the veracity of the report and confirm its submission to all agencies and officers listed as recipients. Azazi’s and Ogar’s denials have been complemented by the silence of other security agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, a stance indicative of the forces’ tacit admission of guilt.
“What is happening is good for us. Let them carry on with their in-fighting for relevance and power and let us have the opportunity to propagate our Holy War,” retorted a Boko Haram soon after. The middle-ages man, who boasted that Boko Haram’s crusade will succeed, revealed that, “we are aware that their agents have infiltrated our ranks. But they know that we are not resting. We are watching and praying. That is why they are fighting themselves to pave way for us to prosecute our agenda.”
“But this thing had been on; especially with the Police. In 2009, then IGP Mike Okiro received 14 different intelligence reports, which he never acted on. Incidentally, one of those was a dossier of intelligence information on the bellicosity of a certain Mohammed Yusuf, who, much later, prophetically emerged the commandant of the sect. Okiro’s successor, Ogbonna Onovo, toed the same path, consequently implicitly fanning the rise to national (and international) prominence of a largely unknown Islamic sect that was once confined to Maiduguri, Yobe, Kano and Bauchi” remarked a public commentator recently. Earlier that same 2009, former chairman of First Bank Nig. Plc., Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, had voiced his suspicions on his son’s strange behaviours to security and intelligence agencies. By December 26, 2009, Nigeria had earned a notorious spot on the Terror Watch List of the United States of America, after 23-year-old Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate plastic explosives carefully concealed in his underwear while aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route to Detroit, USA, from Amsterdam. Till date, there exists a plethora of cases where security lapses have resulted to loss of lives and property, but last Christmas Day’s bombing beats the imagination. Clearly, the consideration of all facts surrounding the last bombings as well as the UN-House blast is incomplete unless adequate attention is allotted to indiscretions of security agencies.
Arising from the foregoing, the question on every lip in the New Year is why Jonathan must continue to retain security chiefs who have obviously failed in their respective beats. Specifically, fingers are being pointed at the heads of the Nigeria Police Force that of the State Security Service and National Intelligence Agency as persons that have failed in ensuring a secured and safe Nigeria that must be shown the door. The NSA too who coordinates security matters for the president is also on the wish list of Nigerians of security chiefs that should go.
It was further revealing when this magazine gathered that the spate of bombings by Boko Haram is fallout of the bid of the north of the country for the 2015 presidency. Those who hold this view contend that ahead the 2011 presidential election which the north wanted Jonathan to stay away from, the north threatened fire and brimstone should Jonathan go ahead to contest and win. “They threatened mayhem that will make the country ungovernable publicly. And these were key political figures and leaders. Now that all these bombings are going on we do not need to look far to know those to ask questions; and ever since the mayhem they threatened started, these same people have been silent; maybe, savouring the whole condemnable act,” retorted the civil servant.
Another angle that was thrown up was suggestion that the north does not believe that Jonathan would quit office in 2015. Holders of this viewpoint argued that the president may seek re-election for a second term then. Thus, the earlier things are done to stop such an attempt the better for the sponsors of Boko Haram.
Veepee Sambo Agenda
Namadi Sambo, the current Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is already seeing himself as the president in waiting, It is not surprising therefore, when he launched his campaign in Dubai sometime in 2011.
The launching of “Victory Foundation 2015″ was attended by some of his close allies like Prof Sambo of Energy Commission, Rabe Darma of PTDF, Sani Sidi of NEMA, and Dr Ali MohammedPate, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health. The greatest threat to Jonathan’s administration is the ambition of his own running mate. Those who know the Vepee Sambo very well will tell you that his inordinate ambition will make him do anything for money and power. If this assertion is true, then President Jonathan is in for serious trouble, because the greatest enemy one can have is the enemy within. This magazine enjoy President Jonathan to engage Sen. Ahmed Makarfi as his consultant on Arch Mohammed Sambo.
To further their agenda to stop Jonathan and whatever may be his plot for 2015, many political office holders have been holding several meetings strategising ahead of the president’s current four-year tenure.
Both Isa Yuguda and Rotimi Amaechi are serving governors of Bauchi and Rivers states respectively. So far, they have managed to tag along with Jonathan presenting images of loyalists, especially in the public. But this magazine stumbled on facts that unveiled them otherwise recently.
Ahead 2015, both governors are perfecting plans to run on a joint ticket for the presidency. According available information weekend, while Yuguda seeks to succeed Jonathan, Amaechi would be his running mate.
Yuguda’s posturing derives from the fact that the north holds that Jonathan must quit in 2015 without an option to run for a second term to allow the president shift to the region. In doing so, the Bauchi state governor believes that with Amaechi running with, the south would be pacified and support the ticket.
Both believe that Amaechi;s current headship of the country’s Governors’ Forum is a big plus when the countdown to 2015 really begins.
Observers argued that not-too-cosy relationship between the president and Amaechi since the twilight of the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s administration till date may have pushed the governor to wish to join forces with the north to stop Jonathan or any of his favourite in 2015.
North’s rally against Jonathan
In the foregoing light too, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida are reportedly rallying sections of the country together for their respective goals; but with a common agenda to stop Jonathan in 2015.
IBB is said to be in regular touch with former National Security Adviser, NSA, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau among other northerners of various callings propping and sensitising them ahead 2015. For instance, on December 17, 2011, no fewer than 20 young military officers of the northern stalk were hosted in the former NSA’s guest house in Asokoro, Abuja. The young men were from the army, navy and State Security Service.
Though this magazine did not get details of the assembly, it was learnt that IBB and the ex-NSA counselled the young men to be “up and doing” in matters affecting their services and the country. He stated further that, they will get back to them on the way forward soonest. Source quoted both Gausu and IBB, as stated that, the journey for 2015 must start now. But now that it appear rocky, the young officers should be ready to do otherwise.
As for the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, his undying determination to be president of Nigeria has never stopped propelling him to rally and canvass support for his ambition ahead of 2015.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar III is also reported to be rallying northern emirs in a bid to get the north to commence shopping for a suitable presidential candidate acceptable to Nigerians across the board for the 2015 race.
“The north is north happy that the south snapped it from us last year. So, the earlier we start, the better it will be for us. We must identify candidates that can match the credentials of Jonathan and his universal acceptance level,” said one source close to a north east emir.
As for vice president Namadi Sambo, his plot to succeed Jonathan in 2015 began last year when a support group launched a rally for a Sambo presidency. Though he took prompt steps to stop the rally, the development may have unveiled him as one man that the president knows nurses his ouster come 2015.
Thus, put together, there is a looming gang-up against Jonathan from the north, especially, the politicians and likely accomplice in the military. The Amaechi factor in it all is being seen as a balancing act of sorts to give the north’s bid for Jonathan’s head a national colouration.
What is more worrisome is the fact that, this intelligent report on coup like any other may be swept under the carpet and Nigeria will be worst for it because another coup will take her 50years backward.
For those calling for regime change in the country through whatever means they opt for, they may just be living in Alice’s Wonderland. Many reasons account for this.
The overwhelming mandate of the Jonathan administration at the 2011 presidential poll, even as certified by the Supreme Court recently makes him and his administration a very popular one whose mandate is not about to be lost for any reason.
On the recent fuel price saga that occasioned the week-long protest penultimate week, it is common knowledge that Nigerians are united on the fact that deregulation in that sector is the best thing that could happen in that area. Their only quarrel was the timing given the circumstances of the country’s economy and security issues.
Besides the patriotic alacrity with which the military including other security personnel guided the anti-fuel subsidy removal protests across the country leading to a record minimal casualty figures further underscores the administration’s approval rating.
Still in doubt, below is a record of coups in the country and their attendant draw-backs and casualties that have largely constituted an albatross in the country’s developmental struggles:
Coup d’êtres in Nigeria
January 15, 1966
On January 15, 1966, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu led the first ever-military coup in Nigeria that led to the death of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Nigeria, Chief S.I. Akintola, the Premier of Western Region, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of Nigeria, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, Federal Minister of Finance and other military officers. The coup was poorly carried out in certain parts of the country and there was a strong accusation of tribalism. The Northern People accused Chukwuma as well as his fellow coup plotters of staging an Igbo coup. This is because most of the officers killed during the coup were those from other part of the country. The then general officer commanding the Nigerian army, Major-General Johnson Thomas Ununakwe Aguiyi Ironsi was sworn-in as the Military Head of State of Nigeria.
July 29, 1966
On 29 July, 1966, six months after the first coup plot, three young military officers of Northern background led by Lieutenant Colonel Murtala Muhammed staged a counter coup to even the score. This led to the death of Major-General J.T.U. Aguyi-Ironsi, Head of State, Col. Francis Adekunle Fajuyi Military Governor, Western region and other military officers. General Yakubu Gowon was then sworn-in as the Military Head of State.
Murtala Mohammed coup
In July 1975, a group of Colonel sacked the government of General Yakubu Gowon in a bloodless coup. General Murtala Muhammed also masterminded this coup. In this coup, no lives were lost. Muhammed assumed power in July 1975.
February 13, 1976
On 13 February 1976, six months later, Lieutenant-colonel Bukur Suka Dimka with his loyalist stage an abortive coup which claimed the lives of three officers; General Murtala Muhammed, Head of State, Col. Ibrahim Taiwo, Governor of Kwara State and Lt. Akintunde Akinsehinwa, ADC to Muhammed. This led to their arrest and subsequent execution of one civilian and 38 soldiers, including Major-General Illya Bisalla, five Colonel, four majors and other officers for their role in the failed coup.
Civilians involved in the coup include, Abdulkareem Zakari, a staff of Radio Nigeria, Lagos and Helen Gomwalk, sister-in-law of Joseph Gomwalk, were tried by military tribunal and punished. Zakari was executed for his involvement in the coup while Helen Gomwalk bagged a life sentence. She was later given amnesty by the Shehu Shagari administration.
The Muhammadu Buhari coup
On 31 December 1983, General Buhari Muhammadu staged a coup which sacked the Shagari’s administration. This coup led to the death of a loyal officer to the government, Brigadier Ibrahim Bako.
On 27 August 1985, Babangida led a palace coup which terminated the Buhari’s 20-month reign.
The Vatsa botched coup
In 1986, Major-General Mamman Vatsa led an abortive coup to overthrow the government of President Babangida. That same year, he and other 10 military officers were tried and were executed in March 1986.
Gideon Orka’s coup
On 22 April 1990, Gideon Orka staged an abortive coup to unseat the government of Ibrahim Babangida. The coup attempt has been describe as one of the bloodies coup and it was the largest execution of coup plotters in the nation’s history. This led to the death of nine loyal Soldiers. 69 soldiers of various ranks were accused of treason and they were killed by firing squad.
The second in command and Chief of general staff, Vice-admiral Augustus Aikhomu, revealed that at least three of the plotters of the April 22 coup were arrested, caution and released in 1987 over an alleged coup plot to overthrow the government.
They were G.T. Nyiam, a Lieutenant Colonel, S.D. Mukoro and Gideon Orkar, both majors. They were later released. Aikhomu also said that the officers regrouped once again in January to overthrow the government and had intended to kill not only the president, but also, the AFRC members and military governors, all civilian members of the council of ministers and senior military and police officers.
The suspects were later tried by the treason and other offences special military tribunal headed by Ike Nwachukwu, Major-General and then General Officer Commanding the 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna. After the trial, 42 persons were found guilty and condemned to death by firing squad. This was the largest execution of coup plotters in Nigeria’s history breaking the record of the 1976 coup led by Buka Suka Dimka in which 32 officers and men were executed.
Abacha’s Palace coup
On November 17, 1993, General Sani Abacha staged a palace coup to unseat the Interim National Government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Alleged coup of 1995
In 1995, there was an alleged coup plot which involve General Obasanjo (retired), former head of state; Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (retired) and other prominent Nigerians majority of whom were soldiers.
The civilians among them include Beko Ransome-Kuti, chairman of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), and his deputy, Shehu Uba Sani and four other Journalist. General Obasanjo and General Yar’Adua were jailed 15 and 25 years respectively. Yar’Adua died on Monday, December 8 1997 at Abakaliki prison, where he was serving his term while Obasanjo was released in 1998 by the then Head of State, General Abubakar.
Alleged coup of 1996
In December 1996, some top military officers were accused by General Abacha of an alleged coup plot. Then Chief of Defence Staff, General Abdulsalam Abubakar announced this on television. In his statement, he announced the arrest of 12 people who were planning to overthrow the federal government.
They are, Lieutenant-General Oladipo Diya, Chief of general staff and vice-chairman of the provisional Ruling Council ( PRC), Major-General Abdulkareem Adisa, former housing minister, Tajudeen Olanrewaju, former minister of communications, Colonels Daniel Akintonde, former military administrator in Ogun State, Edwin Jando, artillery brigade-commender, Abeokuta, Emmanuel Shoda, military assistant to Diya, Femi Peters, National War College, Abuja; Lieutenant-Colonel Olu Akiode, former military assistant to Olanrewaju; Major Biliaminu Mohammed, administrative officer in the presidency; Major Oluseun Fadipe, Chief security officer to Diya; K.A. Yusuf Ishiyaku, Artillery Department, Abuja; and Professor Femi Odekunle political adviser to Diya.
Summary of coups
Nigeria has had the following
· Five successful coups
· Two abortive coup
· One attempted coup
· Three alleged coup