Monguno and the analogy of an antagonistic adviser- Bala Ibrahim
President Muhammadu Buhari said his ambition is to bequeath a better Nigeria for the present and future generations in the country. But I doubt if posterity would permit the realization of that ambition, at least with regards national security, as long as he is relying on the advice of Gen. Monguno rtd, the National Security Adviser.
Every time Gen. Monguno speaks on security matters, his remarks tend to ignite controversies, condemnations or a prolonged public disagreements, with the latest being his comment that, the failure to combat the growing insecurity in the country is due to the high cost of equipment and the inability to get hold of adequate technology.
NSA Monguno said that the various security agencies in the country were not deploying adequate technology to combat insecurity, because of its difficult procurement process, citing cost as a particular inhibitor.
Cost? I don’t understand. Certainly Monguno’s statement seems in conflict with the picture painted by the President, at least with regards the issue of meeting the financial requests of the security chiefs.
Only yesterday, I saw on the television, after an emergency meeting with the service chiefs, and in what looks like an indictment on the office of the National Security Adviser, a visibly disappointed PMB, saying the security agencies were not doing enough to end the security challenges in the country, despite the enormous logistics provided by him. “I approve every security request brought before me”-PMB
The President registered his displeasure at the fact that his previous directives to the military to end insecurity in the country had not yielded the desired results, hence, directing again, that all the operational and intelligence agencies should rescue unhurt, all persons kidnapped by terrorists, including those in the recent Abuja to Kaduna train attack.
If every request on security is approved and funds made available, why should Monguno be complaining about the cost of equipment? Who is responsible for making the request, and are the requests made without getting the actual cost of the equipment?
Sometimes last year, shortly after PMB had relieved the former service chiefs of their positions, NSA Monguno told the BBC that the new service chiefs did not meet the money approved for arms purchase when they assumed office. The amount in question runs into billions of naira.
That statement from Monguno attracted an instant denial by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Gen.Tukur Buratai, saying no such funds, meant to procure arms and ammunition were missing while he was in office.
NSA Monguno issued a statement later, saying he was quoted out of context.
Last week, Monguno was quoted by the media, accusing the governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, of divulging sensitive security information. Monguno’s remarks followed the pronouncement of El-Rufai, after some terrorists ambushed and attacked a Kaduna bound train coming from Abuja, where he said, the Nigerian authorities know the camps, the identities and listen to the conversations of the armed groups terrorising large part of the North-west region, but the security agencies are reluctant on striking.
In anger, governor El-Rufai said if need be, the governors of the affected region may opt for engaging mercenaries from outside.
NSA Monguno issued a statement later, saying he was quoted out of context. He said he was not referring to the Kaduna state governor in his comment on the protection of sensitive operational information.
When the comments of a National Security adviser are always allegedly quoted out of context, and he is responsible for advising the President on foreign policies and national security, as well as coordinating some security policies from various agencies, the President, and indeed the country, are at risk of being given antagonistic advises, that could lead to attacks, or expose them to the possibility of being harmed by the enemy.
Monguno’s attitude to work makes him look unsympathetic to the plight of Nigerians, or even antagonistic to the mission of Mr. President. He has not demonstrated anything in the discharge of his duties, to escape the accusation of belonging to the above classification.
Last week, members of the House of Representatives, while proposing that the National Assembly be shut down in order to compel PMB to rise to the occasion of ensuring the protection of life and property of Nigerians, asked, for God’s sake, where is the National Security Adviser, Gen. Monguno? Some even rhetorically wondered whether he had resigned his position.
Eventually, in utter disappointment with his performance, the lawmakers called for his resignation or outright sacking by the President.
Monguno may be doing well in smart or fashionable dressing, and eloquent or persuasive in speaking the English language, but as a national security adviser, his performance is far below expectation.
And the President needs to factor the analogy, or comparison, between competence and cosmetics, especially as it affects the expected service of a national security adviser and see how it would help his mission to leave behind the legacy of a better Nigeria.
Ibrahim, a media advisor writes from Abuja.