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Babagana Monguno: Meet The Man That Buhari Made National Security Adviser

Published by Nairaland on Tue, 14 Jul 2015

By Dele Agekameh 25/01/2012:The Fun of bomb blasts and gun fire that rocked the ancient city of Kano last Friday and also reared its ugly head in the wee hour of Sunday in Bauchi State has again brought to the fore the noticeable failure of intelligence pervading the nation's security network. Unfortunately, for quite some time now, attention seems to have been concentrated only on the inability of the police to rise up to the internal security challenges confronting the nation.With the recent 'escape' of a high-prized Boko Haram agent from police custody, nobody should be in doubt that the police has finally lost grip of the nation's security, if it had any before. But we all know that the police alone cannot provide adequate security for the nation. That is why there are other sister agencies with clear-cut mandates. One of these agencies which have escaped public binoculars is the Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA. It is, perhaps, one of the agencies that are in a better position to neutralise the current scourge of Boko Haram's insurgency.Regrettably today, the DIA is a shadow of itself. But how did it get to this sorry pass' With the redeployment of Major General Babagana Monguno from the agency to the Defence Headquarters a few months ago, many of its staff breathe the air of respite. Why was it so' Monguno was appointed Chief of Defence Intelligence, CDI, in July 2009 but throughout his tenure, the agency retrogressed in terms of manpower development and relevance to national security. Monguno closed down all the offices of the agency in the states with the exception of Abuja and Lagos. Even at that, the agency's office in Lagos operates with skeletal staff, most of whom are artisans.One of the problems confronting the agency is a sort of military oligarchy that exists in the system. It is a kind of enthroned dictatorship that has been ravaging the place. DIA was established along with the State Security Service, SSS, and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, NIA, in 1986. The agency was supposed to be modelled after the American Defence Intelligence Agency, comprising 30 percent of serving military personnel and 70 percent civilians. A fundamental crisis erupted when the military started seeing the agency as a 'welfare ground'. Those at the helm of affairs, therefore, started their own restructuring by posting military personnel to the agency indiscriminately without any recourse to the act establishing it. In no time, the agency became flooded with military personnel while the number of civilians there took a sharp nosedive. The CDI and deputy CDI have consistently been military officers.What is happening at the agency is the promotion of military supremacy, as it has long become a custom for the military personnel posted to the agency to rub it on their civilian colleagues that they are 'bloody civilians'. The irony of the whole scenario is that the military personnel are visibly idle even though they enjoy the luxury and privileges of being there, including training programmes abroad which have become their exclusive preserve while the 'bloody civilians' are denied this opportunity. The foreign training is like 'settlement' as they never come back to put their newly acquired knowledge to work, thus leaving vital security assignments that naturally fall within DIA's orbit for other sister agencies to perform. No wonder the agency has literally been relegated to irrelevance in security matters in the country.Not only this. Monguno's era witnessed a gradual decapitation of the agency as the total staff strength fell from about 100,000 to a miserable 10,000. Mostly affected were civilian staff, many of whom were compulsorily retired without any gratuity. As a result of this, many of the victims have dragged the agency to court. Currently, the agency operates about 11 departments. Out of these, only two departments that are less consequential are allocated to civilians. This is breeding a lot of suspicion and animosity between the military and civilian staff of the agency.Monguno's tenure was an era of terror itself for an agency that could have easily fought the current wave of terrorism to a standstill. His professional background as an architect and someone who had no previous intelligence training must have robbed the agency of the required direction it needed during his tenure. In many instances, instead of a properly coordinated security duties, he usually resorted to ad hoc arrangements which exposed his naivety. During the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan on May 29, 2011, it was a fidgety Monguno who ordered the network providers to shut down Abuja networks for the duration of the ceremony out of fear of terrorists' strike. He also ordered the closure of the entry routes into the city. The only respite was to allow those who wanted to leave the city to do so.Imagine the security agencies in say United States closing down Washington for a President's inauguration even after 9/11 episode. What you have there is total covert operations that have often yielded good results. Such covert operations are alien to the security agency like DIA, which is saddled with internal security network. Monguno had the exclusive past time of putting fears in the minds of the staff, particularly the civilians, threatening and sacking them at the slightest opportunity. In addition to this, field officers were starved of funds while money was allocated for events that had no bearing with the job of the agency. For instance, during the wedding ceremony of the daughter of AVM Faloyin, his deputy, in 2011, the vault of the agency was thrown open as military officers allegedly flew Business Class to the occasion in the United States with estacodes while ordinary bulbs could not be replaced as money was not released for operations.If we are to fight the current resurgence of terrorists activities in the country, the Presidency should take more than a passing look at the DIA as a whole so as to enable it to function as it ought to be. One way to do this is to make sure that professionalism is enthroned in the agency. It is good news that the new CDI, Major General S.Y Audu, is an intelligence officer who understands the terrain.The tyrannical tenure of Monguno, an indigene of Borno State, may have compromised national security. This is because at the inception of Boko Haram insurgency, those who were apprehended were handled with kid gloves, as they were left in the agency's visitors' room instead of cells. This enabled them to move freely and even got to know that the agency had internal problems. It sounds unbelievable that the Boko Haram suspects were being served special meals from Mr. Biggs and others, while Monguno kept referring to them as 'friends of the agency'.What is needed at this stage is a total overhaul, re-organisation and restructuring of the agency to enable it to meet the exigency of the moment. The DIA should revert to the good old days when its operatives were everywhere. The greatest problem in the security network of the country at the moment seems to be inter and intra-agency rivalry. This may have been responsible for the constant failure of intelligence in the country's security system.The security apparatuses need to come together and work for the common good of the country. This can only be achieved through concerted efforts in the area of inter-agencies' cooperation. The plethora of security agencies too must put their house in order by engaging in confidence building, training in modern crime prevention and detection as well as provision of good working conditions for their operatives so as to encourage them to offer their best for the country.www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/columnist/wednesday/dele-agekameh/34414-dia-and-national-security.html5 facts you should know about acting NSA, Babagana Monguno1. Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd.) hails from Borno State2. He is an erudite polyglot, he speaks Nigeria's 3 main languages(and others) fluently3. He is a King's College Old Boy(KCOB)Lagos and was top of his class at all military levels 4. He holds a PhD in Architecture from the UK 5. He is the son of Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, a minister in the FG during the 1960s-70s 6. Before his retirement from the Army, he held several command and staff appointments including Commander, Guards Brigade, Deputy Commandant, National Defence College, Chief of Defence Intelligence, Chief of Defence Logistics and Commander, Training and Doctrine Command.http://citypeople.com.ng/i/5-facts-you-should-know-about-acting-nsa-babagana-monguno/
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