… says ‘terrorists interrogated named serving govs, senators, Aso Rock officials as sponsors’
. Accuses Buhari of partisanship, disinterest in probing indicted high-profile politicians
. DSS afraid to act without President’s order, says Olawunmi
A former Military Intelligence top brass, Navy Commodore Kunle Olawunmi (rtd), on Wednesday revealed that some serving state governors, senators and Aso Rock officials have been the major sponsors of the Boko Haram terrorists in the country.
Olawunmi, who is now a professor of Global Security Studies at Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, disclosed that Boko Haram insurgents arrested by the military intelligence unit had during investigations mentioned some serving governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as their sponsors.
He, however, expressed regret that the disinterest displayed by President Muhammadu Buhari in the matter and his body language discouraged the security agency from going after these high-profile politicians indicted by the arrested terrorists.
Olawunmi stated this while speaking on a Channels Television ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme on Wednesday.
The retired military intelligence specialist, who was reacting to Tuesday’s bloody attack by bandits on the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, where they killed two military officers and kidnapped another, said such an unprecedented incident was an “aberration,” especially when the assailants escaped without anyone of them being hurt and even went away with an abducted officer.
Olawunmi also condemned the security lapses by the NDA and other military formations across the country which had made it a tradition to open its doors freely on Fridays to everyone for the Muslim Juma’at prayers, noting, “It is an aberration; you don’t attack the Nigerian Defence Academy and get away with it.”
He claimed that terrorists and criminals use the opportunity of the Friday prayers in the various military formations in the country to profile the barracks environments.
According to him, “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 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 Juma’at.
“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.”
The university don added that as a member of the Intelligence Brief at the Defence Headquarters under the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.), he identified and informed the 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.
Olawunmi said, “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 (Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahi) 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 because we need to arrest people.”
He further expressed regret over the alleged refusal of the Buhari administration to prosecute the 400 Boko Haram sponsors it announced to Nigerians that it had arrested.
Early this year, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had announced that the Nigerian Government arrested some Bureau De Change operators suspected to be facilitating the transfer of money to the Boko Haram terrorists.
But Olawunmi accused the government of lack of interest in prosecuting them mainly due to alleged partisanship.
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 at the NDA)?” he queried, adding that terrorist financiers want to turn Nigeria to Taliban type of country.
‘DSS has information on terrorism sponsors but can’t act without Buhari’s order’
The university don also expressed regret that the Department of State Services, which has large volume of information on Boko Haram terrorists and their sponsors couldn’t act because of President Buhari’s body language on the matter.