A former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, has said that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation but the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has demonstrated an unwillingness to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to him.
He described as an “aberration”, Tuesday attack by bloodthirsty bandits on the Kaduna campus of Nigeria’s foremost military university, the Nigerian Defence Academy, where two military officers were killed and another kidnapped.
“It is an aberration; you don’t attack the Nigerian Defence Academy and get away with it,” he lamented, adding that the NDA, like other military environments in the country, carelessly opens its doors to everyone on Friday for Jumat prayer.
Olawunmi said terrorists and criminals profile military environments during the weekly Muslim prayer on Fridays.
He said, “In 2017, I carried out an investigation by the minister of defence that wanted me to check what was going on with the training and the security there (NDA). I remember I spent about a week in the NDA with the commandant and the staff but something struck me: every Friday, the gate of NDA is thrown open and everybody has access to pray in the mosque.
“On Fridays, you are going to see the same thing happening across all military formations in the country…If you go to Defence Headquarters, I served at the Defence Headquarters as the Deputy Director, Defence Administration between 2015 and 2017, throughout my two years at the Defence Headquarters, I received visitors twice because of the strict security architecture there but every Friday, the gate of the Defence Headquarters is thrown wide open for everybody to come in and observe Jumat.
“That is the time the terrorists have the time to profile our security environment. It has always been the case. I have served the military intelligence for the past 35 years. Our problem is religion and socio-cultural.”
Furthermore, Olawunmi, a Professor of Global Security Studies, said he was a member of the Intelligence Brief at the Defence Headquarters during the leadership of the then Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.).
The intelligence expert said he told the then CDS that the centre of gravity of the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the North-East and spreading to other parts of Nigeria was the sponsors.
“I told General Olonisakin then that the centre of this problem cannot be solved the same way we solved the problem of the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta problem was solved during (Ex-President Umaru) Yar’adua basically by me and I told them that we can’t use that same template for Boko Haram.
“I told General Olonisakin to look at the centre of gravity of the problem. I was made a member of the committee in 2016-2017 including (the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim) Attahiru that died.
“I told them that the centre of gravity of Boko Haram in Nigeria is the sponsors of the programme. It was beyond us because the job we needed to do was kinetic but we cannot resolve issues of sponsors of Boko Haram that were in Buhari’s government that we know them. That was why we couldn’t pursue that aspect that could have resolved the issue (insurgency) because we need to arrest people.”
‘Why Buhari refused to prosecute 400 Boko Haram sponsors’
The PUNCH had reported that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, earlier in the year said the Nigerian Government arrested some Bureau De Change operators who were facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists.
Olawunmi said the government has not been able to prosecute the sponsors because it is allegedly partisan.
He said, “Recently, 400 people were gathered as sponsors of Boko Haram, why is it that the Buhari government has refused to try them? Why can’t this government bring them to trial if not that they are partisan and part of the charade that is going on?
“You remember this Boko Haram issue started in 2012 and I was in the military intelligence at that time. We arrested those people. My organisation actually conducted interrogation and they (suspects) mentioned names. I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that I know that the boys that we arrested mentioned. Some of them are governors now, some of them are in the Senate, some of them are in Aso Rock.
“Why should a government decide to cause this kind of embarrassment and insecurity to the sense of what happened yesterday (Tuesday attack on NDA)?” he queried, adding that terrorist financiers want to turn Nigeria to a Taliban type of country.
‘DSS has information on terrorism sponsors but can’t act without Buhari’s order’
Olawunmi also said that the Department of State Services has “tremendous information on terrorists but they can’t do anything except the body language of the Commander-In-Chief”.
He, however, expressed hope that the next Nigerian President in 2023 might have the willpower to bring the high-profile sponsors of Boko Haram to book.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, said in August 2020 that repentant terrorists revealed that a serving northern governor is a Boko Haram leader.
For over 10 years, the Boko Haram terror group had killed thousands of Nigerians in the North-East. The sect had also burnt down and bombed scores of villages as well as churches. The Nigerian Army and the Presidency had at several times claimed the group had been ‘technically defeated’ and ‘weakened’ but the bloodthirsty terrorist faction continues to strike with daring effrontery and crude savagery.