Aidoghie Paulinus and Olivia Kalu, Abuja
A former governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has disclosed how the timely acting on security report can avert insecurity in the country.
Aliyu spoke in Abuja during the 12th annual conference and general meeting of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice.
The former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, said but for his prompt acting on security reports made available to him while he was governor, Shekau would have established a Boko Haram base in Niger State.
Aliyu called on government at the federal and state levels, including institutions, to make it a practice of reading every security report made available to them by the security agencies.
According to Aliyu, “Most of the problems we are having, if I go by the newspapers report, even the Jos crisis, I understand intelligence report was written and that we should have been aware three or four days to that crisis, that it was going to happen.
“Now, if you are aware that things are going to happen and you let it happen, ok, you can judge it in your heart.
“So, what I did was to be proactive and pre-emptive. Boko Haram probably would have started in Niger State because the Boko Haram leader, Shekau, was in Niger State in a place they call Mokwa.
“They were calling their place Daral Salam. In 1991, they were only nine people who went there and asked the Village Head for a farmland and he gave them.
“By 2007 when I went to Niger, they were over 7,000 and they have enclosed themselves, they have turned it into a territory and they were the only Muslims in the world. But they were also engaged in armed robbery and abduction of peoples’ wives and children.
“I understand before I arrived there that two Immigration officers were sent to investigate and they became members, which meant the life there was easier and probably better than where they were.
“So, when I went, I read all the background information. Anytime their leaders were brought to Abuja, they would go back with more strength and they would be rewarded.
“So, I was wondering who in Abuja was doing this to them. I read and I contacted and I was very lucky also that I had a proactive president then, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who assisted me and we discovered that over 80 percent of the people that were there were not Nigerians. And they were people who will be willing to slaughter you like you slaughter goat.
“What I did was to call all my colleagues who we discovered had indigenes there and alerted them that I am sending you your own people who have ran away from you, make sure you know their movement.
“The others that were not Nigerians, we took them to the borders and we paid their transportation to leave.
“And Shekau went to Lokoja, from there, we heard he had resurfaced in Maiduguri. And I thank God that he did not start in Niger because by now, I don’t know what would have happened to the Niger Bridge,” Aliyu said.
Speaking earlier, Aliyu said as a governor, he was lucky to have gone to Niger State prepared.
He said, “Prepared not only academically that I had a Phd, which I earned in 1989. I retired as a Permanent Secretary and as a Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory, I was virtually a deputy governor and I dealt with all the security agencies and apparatus of the country.
“So, I was already familiar with the terrain. When I went home as a governor, I understood that I needed to read every security report whether it is a lie because sometimes, when they want something, they can write you a report. Even if nah lie, I will act.
“I would not say ‘oh, I am aware this would not happen because the same security agencies that are writing you to prevent, the same security agencies have people on the ground’.
“They have what they call informant; they have what they call friends of the security and co.
“If they tell you that so, so, so may happen and you refuse to act, then it may happen, not as they said, but as they did.
“So, governor or any person in charge of security, whether a vice chancellor, always be pre-emptive by being proactive. Read your intelligence report. I understand many people don’t.”
Aliyu also called on government and institutions at all levels to be predictive and predictable, saying that even in governmental affairs, the citizens need to know that government affairs could be predicted, that by tomorrow, they can wake up fine and be secured.
Speaking earlier, President of Society for Peace Studies and Practice, Dr Nathaniel Danjibo, said Nigeria was bleeding and challenged by several conflicts cutting across all states and communities.
He said the conference was called to help the nation chart a new cause with new brilliant, innovative ideas in order to surmount the great challenges.
Danjibo said, “We have the issue of the agitation for secession; we have kidnapping, ritual killings, ethno-religious conflict, the farmer-grazer conflict and terrorism. These are myriads of conflicts that are bedevilling this nation and are begging for solutions.
“It is in this respect that the Society for Peace Studies and Practice deemed it necessary to organise this convergence, great academics and practitioners of peace and security studies to come and help this nation chart a new cause with a new brilliant, innovative ideas in order to surmount these great challenges.”