For the third time in three months, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, honoured invitations by the Department of State Services (DSS), in Jos, Plateau State. Dr Mailafia was first invited by the DSS, after he claimed, in a radio interview, that a serving governor in northern Nigeria is the commander of the Boko Haram.
Of note, Dr Mailafia has admitted he has no evidence to back up the claim. Indeed, some reports claim he said he wished he did not make the controversial statement, even though he did not recant same. While the initial invitation is necessary to find out what he may know, the subsequent invites turned the thing to a show. And, if the DSS has proof that Dr Mailafia is engaging in subversive activity, it should make it public, or charge him to court to ventilate the allegation.
Considering his status in the society, we agree that Dr Mailafia should be more circumspect in his statement. But, in the absence of proof, many believe that what is assailing many parts of Nigeria is an organised crime, with internal collaboration. Addressing reporters after the latest visit, Mailafia said: “Many have said the worst things and nobody invited them…All that I am saying is that the killings must stop.”
No doubt, there must be some well-funded interests subverting Nigeria’s security through the Boko Haram insurgency. Considering the incendiary capacity and sustenance of the criminality, the bandits likely have an underlying economy and well-coordinated support system, beyond the resources from their raids. But such support may not necessarily emanate from a government official.
So, instead of focusing on Dr Mailafia’s claim, the DSS should focus energy on identifying the criminal elements trying to upend our country, and stop wasting energy on routine grilling of the man. By inviting him over and over again, the intelligence agency gives the impression it is relying on him to provide them a clue to a Pandora box. Such tactics amounts to turning intelligence gathering to a circus, and making the man a bogey.
The challenge facing Nigeria, particularly the northern part of the country, is far bigger than Dr Mailafia, and his unsubstantiated allegation. Even without a finger pointed at a serving governor, the security agencies should throw their nets wide to solve the challenges facing the country. With wide tentacles spread across all local governments in the country, the DSS has the resources to smoke out those terrorising Nigeria and their sponsors.
To keep chasing Mailafia’s shadow is to elevate the interrogation to state persecution, and thereby make the man more important than he already is, to his supporters. The hundreds of supporters who amass at the DSS headquarters each time he is invited, believe in him, and the more what he said, even if it couldn’t be substantiated. The more he is made a subject of invitations by the DSS, the more what he says is elevated to a mantra. Already, according to him, some persons are planning to eliminate him, for speaking out.
We urge the DSS to realise that what is of paramount interest to Nigerians is to end the killings across the country, just like Dr. Mailafia said, after his latest visit to DSS. We strongly believe that intelligence gathering and processing is at the threshold of solving the nation’s security challenges, and that is the work of the DSS. So, instead of engaging in shadow boxing with Dr. Mailafia, the DSS should concentrate its energy on its core functions.
Enough of the distraction from what is becoming a Dr Mailafia’s bogey.