Connect with us
Advertise With Us

COLUMNS

NIA: Between Competence And Politics

Published

on

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has responsibility for Nigeria’s foreign intelligence and counterintelligence activities. That puts it on the same footing as the United States of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (SVR RF) or Israel’s Mossad.

Operations of bodies like these are meant to be clandestine, shrouded in the highest secrecy possible, but nonetheless they have the unwavering task of securing the nation. It is important to point out that security in this regard goes beyond chasing terrorists across the globe or across international boundaries. The security covered by such organizations is an all-round affair: how do the activities of the other nations (even allies) impact on the long term interest of the country in question? How do economic policies, scientific or technological breakthrough of other nations, media content generated elsewhere and even hard drugs from other climes or just any other thing happening offshore affect the nation?

The competence of a country’s foreign intelligence agency is therefore of the greatest importance as every other effort made on the home front may amount to naught if the country’s interests are not protected internationally. Countries that are adjudged as super powers today did not attain such reckoning simply on the strength of firepower alone; the international respect they hold is coerced out of other countries by their being strategically positioned, through their intelligences agencies, to keep a finger on the pulse of things in their relationships with other nations.

Unfortunately, in Nigeria, these imperatives are lost on the emergency critics that have jumped on the bandwagon of criticizing development at the NIA following the emergence of Mr. Rufai Abubakar as its substantive Director General. That appointment has attracted what can best be described as a barrage of dim-witted reactions that are powered by parochial sentiments, ignorance or a deadly combination of both. This is hardly surprising in a country where every single football fan is a coach, technical adviser and player at the same time, hence a penchant for every single fan to ascribe to themselves the position of foremost expert where the round leather game is involved. National Interest, as safeguarded by the National Intelligence Agency, does not however lend itself to such all-knowing analysts; this is also not about freedom of speech or expression because other Nigerians have a counterbalancing right to have their lives protected from nitwits that could unravel the country with their ill comments.

Those that criticized the appointment out of selfishness and sentiment are perhaps the most dangerous crowd there is. Notable among such is former president, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo, who had vehemently tried to dismiss the appointment as parochial and shaded by nepotism without showing the kind of restraints required in reviewing such issues given his background as one time military man and two time leader of the country. He omitted to mention that had he appointed the NIA leadership based on competence during his time as Nigeria’s president, the country might have fared better than it did with issues related to foreign intelligence.

Dr Obasanjo’s presidency was, for instance, dominated by foreign interventions that can scarcely be described as beneficial to Nigeria. Relations with other nations were defined more by a need to cater to Obasanjo’s oversized ego than to secure the national interest of Nigeria. Nigeria thus intervened in crisis situations; help stabilize them while other countries stepped in to reap the benefits. Under his watch Nigeria entered into treaties that are today albatrosses, burdens that stymie the country’s ability to make rapid progress.

Mr Rufai Abubakar’s appointment as the Director General of NIA must therefore not be rubbished considering that it is a national institution of crucial importance. Dr Obasanjo’s condemnation of the appointment is unbecoming especially following reports that he is embittered because his preferred candidate was not appointed. Similar criticism by those that should otherwise be knowledgeable is also reportedly sponsored by those that were disappointed at not making the cut.

Cognizance must be taken of the abysmal low to which the NIA had sunken under the previous leadership that pandered to political correctness and “Federal Character”. The NIA became a laughing stock when it could not, as a clandestine agency, properly secure the $43.5 million operations cash that an anti-graft agency discovered in a flat in Lagos.  The agency has also been reduced to a nest of chatter boxes where directors are comfortable to routinely leak sensitive information to politicians under the pretext of writing the National Assembly.

The noise from these bitter lots is being echoed and amplified by some persons without the lightest iota of intelligence on their immediate streets of residence, which clearly places foreign intelligence beyond their grasp. These are the ones that have become overnight intelligence analysts to the extent that they fantasize about knowing the right kind of person to appoint as the head of NIA.

Had those in this alliance of the angry taken time to understand the person of Mr Rufai Abubakar they would have perhaps been humbled enough to know that theirs is an exercise without merit given the Director General’s track record. His is a blend of experience as a government employee tempered with knowledge of the country’s security needs and with the requisite network in international circuits to swing things the way of Nigeria. The question then is whether such level of sterling competence should be ignored by a desire to comply with Federal Character principle or sacrificed in pursuit of a noxious political agenda. Nigeria is bigger than any of the stakeholders in this matter and it is the interest of the country above all others and not that of people in search of slots to place their marionettes and create new conduits to national treasury.

The great nations Nigeria aspires to surpass did not become strong by undermining their foreign intelligence agencies neither do they subject them to discourse by the uninformed. They are treated with the deserving reverence for institution that are equivalent of a country’s jugular, never to be toyed with.

Rather than engaging in a futility that would only further undermine Nigeria’s interests with other nations, people should rather applaud President Muhammadu Buhari, whose appointment into security agencies have shown that he has a grip on security hence the results recorded under his leadership. What is needed is not antagonism of Mr President or his appointees but to give him the backing necessary to perfect the foundation for a Nigeria that will truly be a world power house.

– Agbese wrote from the United Kingdom.

Advertisement
Comments

MOST READ

NEWS2 hours ago

Osinbajo, Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, Osoba Extol Jakande’s Legacy At 90  

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, National leader of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu...

NEWS2 hours ago

WHO Set To Declare Nigeria Polio Free

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is set to declare Nigeria a polio free country. This is according to...

NEWS2 hours ago

Air Peace Loses Nose wheel, Tyre After Hard Landing In Lagos

An Air Peace Boeing 737-300 with registration number 5N-BQO operating from Port Harcourt to Lagos on Tuesday made an emergency...

NEWS2 hours ago

Power Distribution: KEDCO Secures Additional Units

Following the management’s resolve to restructure the company with a view to improving service delivery to its teeming customers, Kano...

NEWS2 hours ago

Ekiti Warns Principals Against Collection Of Illegal Levies

Ekiti State Government has warned school principals against collection of illegal levies in their schools, saying it would no-longer condone...

NEWS2 hours ago

C’River North Youths Hail PMB Over Jedi-Agba’s Ministerial Nomination

Cross River youths under the auspices of Northern Cross River Youth Coalition (NCRYC), Tuesday, commended President Muhammadu Buhari, over ministerial...

NEWS3 hours ago

Insecurity: Lagos Assembly Calls For Establishment Of State Police

Following the increasing rate of insecurity in the country, the Lagos State House of Assembly has called for constitutional amendment...

Advertisement

MOST POPULAR

%d bloggers like this: