By Kayode Sesan
Nigeria’s Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA became a shadow of itself under the leadership of President Buhari’s newly appointed National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd), BREAKING TIMES gathered on Tuesday.
Respected journalist and columnist at The Nation Newspaper and Premium Times, Dele Agekameh in an article on 25th January, 2012, revealed how Nigeria’s national security was compromised by Major-General Monguno, a trained architect with no previous military intelligence background, while serving as Director of the DIA.
According to Agekameh, the redeployment of Major-General Monguno from the DIA to the Defence Headquarters in 2011 brought a new lease of life to the DIA. “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”, Agekameh wrote.
The DIA was established along with the State Security Service, SSS, and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, NIA, in 1986. The agency was designed to be modeled after the American Defence Intelligence Agency, comprising 30 percent of serving military personnel and 70 percent civilians.
Writing further, Agekameh said; “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. The tyrannical tenure of Monguno, an indigene of Borno State, may have compromised national security. In Agekameh’s words, “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.””
Monguno was on Monday 13th July, 2015 named National Security Adviser by President Muhammadu Buhari 46 days after his inauguration as President.
Within hours of Monguno’s announcement, Boko Haram terrorists reportedly killed 45 Nigerians in Monguno town of Borno State where the new National Security Adviser hails from.