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The Monguno I know



Monguno, a Local Government Area in Borno State Nigeria with headquarters in Monguno town has an area of 1,913km and a population of 109,851 as at the 2006 census.
The postal code of the town is 612 and one of the sixteen local government areas that constitute the Borno emirate, a traditional town located in the state.

In January 2015 when the Boko Haram insurgency was making waves, residents fled the town and the village of Dorn- Baga for the internally displayed persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri following the capture of the nearby Bama by the insurgency. The two towns were captured by the illegal forces precisely on the 26th of January 2015.

Amnesty International expressed concern that local residents request more troops for protection from Boko Haram had been ignored by the Nigeria Army. On February 17, 2015 the Nigeria Military retook Moguno in a coordinated air and ground assault.
This is the town where this amiable; humble philanthropist, complete gentleman and a detribalized Nigerian Maj. Gen. Babagana Mohammed Monguno (Rtd.) hailed from. His father Mohammed Monguno was a brother to the late elder statesman, Ali Shettima Monguno, a Federal Minister of Internal Affairs in the first Republic.

He attended king’s college Lagos and holds a bachelor of science Degree in Architecture and a Masters Degree in Internal relations. He also obtained a PhD from a university in the UK.
As a Combatant regular Officer of the Nigeria Army who was once recommended for the chief of Army Staff position, he held different prestigious positions in the Army including, Commander, Guards Brigade, Deputy Commandant, National Defense College, Chief of Defense Intelligence (CDI), Chief of Defense Logistics and Commander, Training and Doctrine Command Oshodi Lagos before his retirement.

Monguno was appointed as the National Security Adviser (NSA) by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 13th July, 2015.

He is a member of course 21 set of the Nigerian Defense Academy and speaks the three Nigeria major languages fluently including Idoma.

A man who does not believe religion is the problem today opined that the problem of the world and of course Nigeria without exception is politics.
Monguno once told the writer that to be born into a certain family or part of Nigeria is a privilege which does not make you better than anybody.

“If I were born to a farmer in the South, East or Western part of the country, I would have been a Christian, so whatever privilege God gives to one is by his mercy which should not be used to intimidate others”.

A good philanthropist and a brother to all, he has more Christian friends and as a member of the great Kings College alumnus, interacts better with friends feeling at home while in their company addressing everyone as brother.

A man bound with humility, though born to the family of Mohammed Monguno, a senior civil servant and brother to the first Republic Minister of Internal Affairs Ali shettima Monguno, has discipline and humility as his watch word and motto in life.

As commander Guards Brigade, he led the troop that saw the then President, Late Umar Musa Yar’Adua off to the airport on one of his several trips abroad. The Commander on his return came to Zenith Bank with his full Military Ceremonial regalia as a Brigadier General, met me outside the Bank on my return from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for banking interactions on behalf of the Bank. I felt nervous and in my curiosity, put my hand in my trouser pocket fidgeting precisely looking for nothing, a fifty Naira note fell out of my pocket. The General feeling what I was going through and trying to calm my nervousness, stepped down in his uniform with his ceremonial sword beside him, picked the fifty Naira note from the ground and gave it back to me with people watching us. I became cold to the marrow, wondering and asking myself, could I have done this to another man if I were to be in his position? From that day, I learnt that great lesson of humility.

A man of high discipline who has the interest of his country at heart, following the rising spate of socio-political tension in the Gulf of Guinea, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd), recently insisted on the leadership of Nigeria within the Gulf of Guinea giving Nigeria’s critical and strategic role in Africa.

Speaking at the decoration of the Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Commodore YEM Musa to the new rank of Rear Admiral, Monguno insisted that Nigeria could not afford a pedestrian role as such position would be detrimental to the nation’s economic and political standing.

Monguno who joined the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, to decorate Musa argued that “we cannot think of the efforts of the Nigerian Navy without support from other services especially from the Central Government, the maritime challenges we have are enormous.

“One of the reasons I insisted on having the Gulf of Guinea summit in Abuja was because, we really pressed for Nigeria to take over the Chairmanship of the Gulf of Guinea being the only blue water Navy in the whole of the Gulf of Guinea; knowing full well the antecedents of the Nigerian Navy and so many situations, I just thought that it would also be an added platform for the Nigerian Navy to show what it can do”, he stated

The Federal Government appointed two Nigerian companies, Notore Chemical Industry and Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and chemicals, granted exclusive rights to manufacture the product for local consumption after the Federal government banned the importation of Fertilizer following discovery that certain grades were used to manufacture the improvised Explosive device (IED) employed by terrorists in the country which had been used for incessant bombing of oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta Regions, a visibly angry Monguno said that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) will not hesitate to close down any company engaged in acts of illegality in the manufacture and distribution of fertilizers in the country.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser has observed with total dismay, some unpatriotic act and abuse of the goodwill of government, reports of these companies have indicated that about 71 percent of the 2.05 million metric tons cumulative annual production is being exported to the detriment of our national economy. This has resulted in a spike in the price of urea-based fertilizers in Nigeria with obvious implications on food security in the country.

“In view of the foregoing, I wish to categorically state that the government will continue to adhere to the rule of law, however, it must be noted that the rule of law is not akin to anarchy. Accordingly, this office will not hesitate to close and withdraw the operating license of any company that exports products without first meeting local consumption. This office and the Ministry will work to put in place measures to access production and determine exportable quantity by the respective companies”.

A man who always insist that the right thing be done at the right time, but do not welcome mediocrity, cheat and laziness will always reward hard work and punctuality like he did in all the command he headed during his days in the Army as attested to by those who worked with him.
This is the Major General Babagana Mohammed Monguno I know.

Tom Okpe (Itoshi) is an Abuja based Journalist.