Intelligence gathering is in recessionBy Tunde Asaju

​You do not need a soothsayer to know that it is not just the economy that’s in recession in Naija, for a long time intelligence and intelligence gathering has been in recession. When an insurgency is unleashed on your nation while security chiefs nap at public functions, grow potbellies and acquire choice properties at home and abroad, there is something wrong. When brigands get their hands on RPGs and other sophisticated weapons and smugglers of chicken and turkey are paraded as economic saboteurs, there is something terribly wrong.

When the military is embedded with corrupt civilians, lose focus, rig elections and plot against peaceful transition just to cover their dirty tracks, there is something terribly wrong. When maltreated footmen disobey the orders of their corrupt superiors and they are court marshaled while the substance of their grievance is swept under the carpet, there is something wrong. When the same senior officers are trigger happy to head multi-million dollar amnesty deals rather than earn medals for gallantry in the field of battle; you know that professional military men are in recession.

Intelligence gathering can never totally eliminate terrorism, but how did we get to that place where we now have a Boko Haram equipped with military grade weapons and armoury while our soldiers have obsolete equipment? How creek brigands overthrow the legitimacy of governments forcing them to negotiate safe passage for our nation’s army? Who has been declared ‘wanted’ for letting in Libyan mercenaries now unleashing sulphuric hell across the land? When would we be briefed on the effectiveness of the presidential order to move the command headquarters to Haramistan? How did the promise to end Boko Haram in three months culminate in ‘technical defeat’? Where does Abubakar Shekau get the magical nine lives of the cat and the capacity to make propaganda videos that ridicule our might as a nation?

What ‘intelligence’ have we gathered from Amina Ali Nkeki, the lone straggler and her ‘husband’ who were picked up in May? How has that intelligence helped in the effort to locate the remaining Chibok girls? Did we just resettle the traumatized straggler and return to the eternal comfort of official trypanosomiasis? Are we, judging by the way we have treated Aisha Yesufu and other #BringBackOurGirls activists eager to silence the agitation for the safe return of lawful citizens in unlawful captivity?

Of course all these are rhetorical questions. We cannot heckle this ‘people’s government’ into giving answers as that tantamount to treason. It is better for government to act as puppets pulling the strings of scandals keeping the gullible entertained than to govern. Bloody civilians should not poke their fly infested noses into the lucrative pie of security votes even when they are casualties of security ineptitude. A lot has changed in the Buratai era that reduces the time he has for his snake farm snakes and Dubai estates to suggest that nothing has changed.

Without prejudice to the ‘intelligence’ that led to the new declaration, there is a new rule in town in which lawful citizens could be declared wanted by whims and caprice. It is the infection of a disease called Erdoganitis, a syndrome that reverses the logic of complicity under which you are guilty until declared innocent. You could be guilty by association until the contrary is proved. Like Erdogan, our army declares three individuals whose locations were known ‘wanted’ without a formal invitation? Twelve hours after the declaration, two of the ‘wanted’ make contacts with the army and are told to relax and wait until the ‘intelligence’ needed to bring them in are gathered.

This is the best demonstration of the efficiency of our intelligence gathering. Just when you think that things have reached rock bottom, you realize that the base is only a superficial cover for a gigantic sinkhole. If we were an accountable nation, those presiding over this international embarrassment would have lots of explaining to do. In Naija, they are waiting for promotion.

I sometimes feel scandalized realizing that I share the same nationality with those who lionize the actions of those whose conduct pauperize the nation fiscally and intellectually. How lower does it get than being a citizen of a country where a state government uses public funds to place birthday adverts for a jailbird conscious that at home and with plea bargaining, he would have been vying for the chairmanship of his party.

I am surprised no one has declared Shehu Sani wanted. Does it have to do with the non-existent immunity of the legislator? What about Modu Sheriff and the governors of haramistan states? This is the logic that destroyed newspaper circulation vans for unsubstantiated claim of being used to smuggle arms. I hope Oby Ezekwesili packs a sanitary bag – she may be on the ‘wanted’ list. It takes national embarrassments like this to know that it’s not just the economy that’s in recession; even intelligence gathering is in recession. Whenever critics feature on the ‘wanted’ list, it would be a worthy badge of professional honour.

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