By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups Against Terrorism in Nigeria, has called for the immediate resignation of Mohammed Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari, following his comment on the immediate past service chiefs.
Addressing a press conference on Monday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, the Convener of the coalition, Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi, said Monguno has betrayed the sacredness and dignity of his office as the NSA by implying that President Muhammadu Buhari is not in charge of affairs in the country.
Monguno recently suggested in an interview with BBC Hausa that money appropriated for arms under Buhari’s former service chiefs — who had served for almost five years — “is gone.
Hours after the interview, however, Monguno was quick to dismiss his earlier comment, saying he was quoted out of context.
According to the coalition, Monguno, despite his recant of the comment, displayed limited capacity in security process and could be one of the reasons why the present administration is challenged by insecurity.
While describing the comment from the NSA as careless and ridiculous, the coalition said the tenure of the immediate past service chief’s, especially the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd), was the best and rewarding to have ever happened to the Nigerian Army, in terms of capacity building, morale upliftment and equipment acquisition.
“We believe a personality like Monguno is morally and psychologically unfit to continue to serve as the NSA to President Buhari due to his several unpatriotic gaffes especially the recent comment on the outgone service chiefs. On this basis, we demand his resignation as the President’s NSA.
“From the psychological perspective, he appears bitter and frustrated, perhaps over the restricted terms of reference President Buhari gave to him as the NSA. He probably wanted to be powerful and have unlimited say on the affairs of the security agencies and their budgets.
“He apparently was miffed that President Buhari decided that arms procurement must be handled by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Police Affairs, not the office of the NSA as the practice was before 2015.
“Don’t forget that before the demise of the former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the NSA wrote a series of letters that leaked to the media accusing Kyari of interfering in military affairs and frustrating the war against Boko Haram.
“Before they eventually retired last January, everyone was aware that Monguno was not on good terms with the service chiefs. We can only advise the incumbent military chiefs to watch their backs because Monguno is lurking with his ‘tricks’.
Stating that Monguno was aiming to create a wedge between the former and current service chiefs, the coalition said the NSA ought to have take his exit, if he had any modicum of moral principles, the coalition said he was usually trying to be clever by half by trying to exonerate the President from any wrong doing, but shot himself on the foot by saying, “baa siyo kayan ba”, and “kudin sunbi ta wata hanya da ban sani ba, kuma ba wanda ya sani a yanzu.”
“Its so sickening that a public official could implicitly indict himself to score cheap points to get back at his imagined foes. For all it is, he should have known better rather than looking to pack the falsehood he already spilled on the ground. He has presented the Buhari-administration in a bad light especially with regards to addressing the security challenges in the country.
“As an anti-terror group, we commend the reaction of the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Buratai denying fiddling with funds meant to procure arms and ammunition while in office.
In a statement by his lawyer, Osuagwu Ugochukwu, the former military chief said there was no arms fund missing under the stewardship of LT Gen T.Y Buratai.”
“Anyone interested in knowing how Arms were procured by the ex-service chiefs and particularly LT Gen T.Y Buratai should channel such request for information to the Ministry of Defence and stop the habit of speculation and false information peddling. Because any attempt to further tarnish the image of the former Chief of Army staff will be resisted legally.”