Alleged graft: Group asks Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Monguno to resign

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NSA Babagana Monguno

By Nengi David

The Coalition of Oduduwa Descendants (COD) has called on the National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno to resign with immediate effect over several allegations bordering on corruption, fraud and abuse of office. 

The South-West coalition, at a press conference on Friday in Lagos, vowed to mobilise other ethnic groups to embark on what it describes as “mother of all protests” should the NSA remain in office. 

According to COD’s national secretary, Comrade Lawson Adeshina, Monguno must step aside for the country to make progress in its fight against terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements. 

Adeshina noted that the NSA is more focused on managing terrorism as a business from which he has been reaping at the expense of peace and security in Nigeria. 

Speaking further, the COD scribe revealed that Monguno allegedly marked up contracts and inflated procurements which hampered the acquisition of critical military hardware. 

Adeshina, though, admitted that the immediate service chiefs would have done even better than they did had Monguno not abused his office to deny the country the opportunities to buy weapons. 

Having shown a “lack of capacity to be decent”, the group, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Monguno who it says is “unfit to continue to occupy the office of the National Security Adviser or any other public office for that matter”. 

Upon his sack, the COD further urged that Monguno be investigated and put on trial for sundry crimes committed as a result of his greed.

Read the full statement:

Gentlemen of the press, you must have noticed how concerns have increased among Nigerians about the seeming degeneration in the nation’s security situation. This is despite the sterling efforts that the military chiefs have put into securing lives and property in the country. 

Tragically, the immediate past military chiefs were demonized by those who do not understand the intricacies and circumstances under which they served. We are afraid that the incumbent military service chiefs may just be walking into the same barrage of problems unless something drastic happens. 

These problems have a collective name called the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, whom we now understand is more focused on managing terrorism as a business from which he has been profiteering at the expense of peace and security in Nigeria. 

It is most unfortunate that at a time when Monguno should have been focused on procuring weapons for prosecuting the war against Boko Haram and terrorism he was rather vested in marking up contracts and inflating procurements such that critical military hardware was not acquired as at when due. This bottleneck was responsible for many deaths as the delays or failure to get this equipment contributed to what people had thought was a lack of capacity on the part of the military. 

Gentlemen of the press, please note that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured a court order to freeze the properties linked to a former Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Brigadier-General Jafaru Mohammed, who is a confirmed crony of Monguno.

We are worried that Monguno’s treasonous tendencies were such that he sold the entire country out to his Emirati associates at the International Golden Group (IGG), which he fronted on many occasions as the choice company to secure government contracts including, even for the supply of Hilux Pickups that local firms can handle. 

It is now glaring that the entirety of Monguno’s crimes was concealed because he can abuse his office as the National Security Adviser (NSA) to sabotage investigation and prosecution. To the extent that Jafaru Mohammed has been nailed and have an asset forfeiture order secured against him, the man he ran errands for, the NSA should have by now been in a similar situation with him.

What we saw however was a Monguno, who was trying to soil the hard-earned reputation of men who diligently served the nation, the immediate past service chiefs. With the benefit of hindsight, we now believe that these men could have done even better than they did had Monguno not abused his office to deny the country the opportunities to buy weapons. Each time he inflated or marked contracts up, he made it impossible for the military and the Nigeria Police Force to buy the equipment that was desperately needed to fight crime and secure Nigeria against terrorists. We only wish that someone had called him out earlier. 

One can thus now categorically say that the problem of inadequate or in some instances the total lack of equipment to fight terrorism is responsible for the scenario where kidnappers, bandits and terrorists have become bold and are now holding the country buy the jugular was caused and aggravated by Monguno. This is the highest travesty possible: the man who should deploy his expertise for making Nigeria secure as National Security Adviser preferred to abuse his office to make Nigeria ungovernable and into a veritable killing field.

We do not want to believe at this point the theory in some quarters that Monguno orchestrated the explosive growth of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping to create a desperate condition that will allow him to carry out the fraudulent procurements that he has been eager to do but has been persistently blocked from doing by those who have the interest at heart. But the theory remains a genuine concern because nothing about the virulence of insecurity besetting appears normal. Nothing adds up, which makes it most likely that only someone so strategically positioned could have precipitated the kind of anomaly that is now tormenting the land. 

Equally worrisome is the muted allegations that ethnic sympathies on the path of the NSA have made defeating Boko Haram/ISWAP difficult because persons of his ethnic stock are commanders of the terrorist group. The parochial manner in which Monguno is willing to make money at the expense of the country is however making one have a rethink as to the possibility of such cringe-worthy compromise on the part of someone that the nation relied on to defeat terrorists. 

We should not forget that Monguno’s first brush with integrity was the ill-fated Presidential Panel that investigated arms purchases. He was linked with several allegations of unsavoury comprises and extortion rackets manned by his associates. Given what we now know about his dealings, it is no surprise that he was able to coerce key witnesses into silence and swept that scandal under the carpet, or so he had thought. 

It is unthinkable that an appointee of President Muhammadu Buhari, who promised Nigerians improved security, could have jeopardized the military and the police force of the country with such impunity. Monguno has simply demonstrated that he has no sense of loyalty to either the country or his Commander-in-Chief. This is an untenable position.

In other climes, committing a tenth of the infractions alleged against Monguno would have seen the officeholder act honourably and resign, if only to allow for transparent investigation of the accusations made. The full array of Monguno’s infractions and their implications for national security make him. 

To the extent that he has shown a lack of capacity to be decent, we hereby demand that President Buhari immediately sacks Babagana Monguno as the National Security Adviser. He has to go for Nigeria to make progress in addressing the hydra security challenges that are daily defying the intense efforts at curtailing them simply because some dubious people have set up the system for the country to remain in trouble.  A failure to sack Monguno will see the Coalition of Oduduwa Descendants (COD) mobilizing other ethnic and community-based groups on the mother of all protests since Monguno’s greed has compromised the safety of all of us. 

We additionally demand that Monguno, upon his sack, must be further investigated and put on trial for sundry crimes he has committed as a result of his avarice. Nigeria is bigger than Monguno and it is time that he feels the full weight of the law for all the things he has done to put the country in the present dire strait it is in.

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