While Nigerians continue to live in fear due to the worsening security situation in the country, aspersions are already being cast on security agencies for their role in the slump in the country’s security.
After a raid leading to a clash between members of the Boko Haram sect in Baga, a Borno fishing community near the Lake Chad and men of the Multinational Joint Task Force, 185 lives were lost while thousands of buildings were destroyed. The Joint Task Force however stood its ground that only 30 people died and just about 200 buildings were destroyed. Not even the satellite pictures shown by international and human rights organizations succeeded in making the security agencies change their figure.
The recent kidnap of the former Minister of Mines and Power, Dr Ali Shettima Monguno is already being linked with the Baga massacre in some places. Those who have propounded a “Conspiracy Theory” have alleged that the kidnap of the elder statesman was actually a “plot within a plot”. According to those alleging a relationship between the two incidents, Monguno’s kidnap was not perpetrated by Boko Haram but by those who wanted to cover up the Baga killings.
Findings revealed that the former Minister was kidnapped to divert attention from the Baga incident. The kidnapping incident happened just days after the JTF announced that it had information that the Boko Haram sect was likely to adopt kidnapping as a new dimension in their war against the State.
Members of Monguno’s family disclosed that the kidnappers contacted the family and demanded for “alms”, without specifying a particular amount. Findings revealed that Boko Haram hardly demands for ransom, in most cases, what they demand is the release of their members being held by various security agents.
The Monguno kidnap truly achieved the aim of diverting attention as the abduction of the 92-year-old man was being condemned all over the state. And as expected, his release was a big relief as sympathizers had already thronged his residence praying for his release and safe return.
While the Borno State capital was still celebrating Dr Monguno’s release, the JTF announced that it had arrested the killers of General Mohammed Shuwa. Incidentally, the JTF had announced last November that the killers of the retired General were killed during a shootout. Back then, the spokesman of the JTF in Borno State, Lt. Col Musa Sagir had announced that a commander of the sect, Ibn Saleh Ibrahim and some other members of the sect were behind the killing and that they were killed. Incidentally, the Boko Haramn sect had denied involvement in the killing of General Shuwa.
Below is an excerpt of the statement issued by Lt Col Musa Sagir on November 15, 2012:
”In a sustained follow up operation this afternoon, the combined troops of the JTF Operation Restore Order, 333 Air Defence Regiment, the Department of State Security supported by Armoured Personnel Carriers with helicopters conducted a major offensive against the insurgent at Nganaram, Bulabulin and Bayan Quarters areas of Maiduguri metropolis.
During the offensive and in a counter attack, a major Commander of the Boko Haram sect, commanding the North West and North East of Maiduguri by name, Ibn Saleh ibrahim with some of his commanders and foot soldiers were killed.
The security intelligence “confirmed the late Ibn Saleh Ibrahim was responsible for the recent assassination of the Nigerian Civil War hero, Gen Mamman Shuwa through the order of the Boko Haram sect leader, Abubakar Shekau.”
And on May 6, 2013, the same Lt Col Sagir Musa issued a statement which directly contradicted the one of November 15, 2012. In the May 6 statement, three suspects were arrested in connection with the murder of the General. The names and ages of the suspects were given as follow: Mustapha Umar, 22, Goni Modu Lawan, 22 and Goni Ali, 20.
It was also contained in the statement that the men confessed to be members of the Boko Haram sect in the Gwange Cell under Abdul Kareem (now deceased) as their leader.
The statements have started generating controversies bordering on the sincerity of the JTF in the war against terror. While many are already faulting the figures often released by the JTF after encounters with Boko Haram insurgents, some are leaning closer to believing claims by the dreaded sect that most times, law enforcement agents kill innocent citizens in error, claiming they were Boko Haram members. The JTF Operation Restore Order spokesman, Lt Col Sagir Musa could not be reached for his views as of the time of filing this report.