A worrisome ethnic ‘cleansing’ and a seeming officially inspired nasty tactics is polluting the operations of Nigeria’s foreign intelligence service.
Apparently piqued, some concerned retired directors and senior operatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), on the platform of NIA Veterans Association are currently pressing the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, a retired Army General, to save the intelligence agency from the fatal grips of nepotism.
Nepotism, according to them, is a principal consideration in appointments, and postings to juicy beats, pointing out that how the agency is currently run promotes acts of incompetence.
They are blaming the sorry state of NIA on its Director General, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
In a petition addressed to Monguno dated April 20, 2021, the concerned veterans are calling on the NSA to intervene and save the agency from further embarrassment from wrong-headed decisions being taken by the NIA DG most of which border allegedly on nepotism, distortion of hierarchical order in postings and other decisions capable of bringing the nation to disrepute.
They mentioned postings involving Station Officers and Liaison Officers. Station Officers are officers that routinely carry out intelligence work under the cover of diplomatic services in all Embassies and diplomatic missions of all nations all over the world.
”Station Officers are embedded in Missions, and act and behave like all day-to-day conventional diplomats in all missions with normal diplomatic designations and assignments, which provide covers, for the ease of their work.
”Sometimes they are clandestinely identified by the counter intelligence services of the host countries, but since they are sent as diplomats, the host countries normally accept them as diplomats, because all countries are into the business, so it is silently accepted as a normal practice in the diplomatic service.
”On the other hand, Liaison Officers or LO’s as they are referred to in the intelligence parlance are Intelligence Officers that have openly been declared intelligence officers to their host countries, by their governments.
”The standard practice all over the world is to appoint older and highly experienced officers, who are about to retire or even retired officers in some countries. In Nigeria, L.O’s have always been Directors, Deputy Directors and some Assistant Directors”, the petition alleges.
They equally cited the instance of one Faisal Haruna Wando whom they alleged was too junior to occupy his present office if not for nepotism.
”We released the name because, as an already declared Liaison Officer, his identity is already in the public domain, a GL8 Officer, who is posted to Paris as L.O. This young man graduated from the training school in December 2017.
”From our collective and individual experience we know that the versatility of the job of L.O requires that an officer must at least spend not less than 20 to 25 years both abroad in different countries and at home as a desk officer, to succeed in the discharge of this onerous duty.
”Not only is an officer supposed to be a jack of all trades, but an officer experienced enough, to know how much information to give out and when to give it. Because as a Liaison Officer, you will also be required to give intelligence from your country as much as you receive.
”It is a delicate and potentially risky balancing act. The intelligence service is replete with many cases”, the ex-spy chiefs said and further alleged blatant cases of nepotism in posting of personnel by the Director-General whom the group said was not even qualified to be appointed the DG of a key agency like the NIA.
Continuing, they informed the NSA, ”you may wish to recall that even during the last posting of Ambassadors, we called your attention to the fact that some of the postings and nominations were very irrational, unfair and unmerited.
”For example among the three young ladies he nominated, over and above their seniors, one is his relation from Katsina, the other, though from Borno is the wife of his close friend, also a Katsina man and a Director at ECOWAS, while the last one that he posted as CG (Consul General) in Dubai, was the girlfriend of his mentor.
”The same thing with the four male Ambassadors that he nominated. We warned that they didn’t have the required minimum of 30 months in service, but he went ahead and nominated their names and now, they are posted to Turkey, Iran, Benin and Equatorial Guinea. Does this make us look serious in the eyes of these countries?”
Hitting on, the spy masters said it is a well-known fact in the Intelligence circle, that some countries, like Russia, USA, Israel, France and a host of others, are known to have nurtured and incubate Moles, in other countries for ages and decades, after recruiting them at very early stages.
They are fearing Wando being a very young and ‘green’ officer, who is not yet married yet and not fully exposed to the dynamics of intelligence in diplomatic circles may fall victim to the extent that he might be influenced to work against Nigeria rather than work for the country.