I Just Hope It’s Not Another Hogwash, By Ali M. Ali

sambo_dasukiIf the story teller is foolish, the listener isn’t – Hausa proverb

There is a lot of hogwash being hawked around. Every dawn brings forth a new brand of bunkum. But on closer scrutiny, the latest looks and smells like the last. The variables may differ but the plot remains predictably the same.
The latest is the ‘discovery’ of an arms depot in Kano with links to Hezbollah. This is cheerless. The Joint Task Force (JTF) which made the shocking find shouted “eureka”. Its members jumped for joy. The JTF is peopled by operatives from the across the Armed Forces and the police. It is nobody’s favourite. God help the citizen unlucky to get caught in the snare of the JTF.
In places like Maiduguri, citizens have suffered more in the hands of JTF than the insurgents they were sent to flush out. Only last week, a visiting friend who works and lives in Maiduguri told me how low JTF ranks in that troubled city. According to him, a Boko Haram element is more likely to win an election in a free contest than a JTF operative for the simple reason of the latter’s high handedness in dealing with the public. Boko Haram bombs and flees. A JTF operative brutalizes and destroys property indiscriminately, Shehu, my friend, sums everything up.
So it is understandable if the JTF milks to the maximum the image boosting opportunity presented by the discovery of those arms. Just look at the sheer size. “The weapons include anti-tank weapons, rocket propelled guns, anti tank/anti personnel mines, among other dangerous weapons.” Part of the chilling press statement reads.
It went on: “These discoveries were not accidental but the outcome of an ongoing robust counter terrorism investigation by the Department of the State Services, Abuja, in the past several months. The investigation also confirms the existence of a Hezbullah Foreign Terrorist Cell in Nigeria. Consequently, the DSS on 16 May 2013 arrested one Mustapha Fawaz, the co-owner of the popular Amigo Supermarket as well as the Wonderland Amusement Park all in Abuja. Thus, his arrest and confession unveiled other members of the foreign terrorist network which led to the interception of one member of the syndicate named Abdullah Tahini, a Lebanese national, at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, with an undeclared amount of sixty thousand United States Dollars on him en route Beirut. Thereafter on 26 May 2013 one Talal Roda, also a Lebanese with a Nigerian passport, was arrested in this same house.
“All those arrested have confessed to have undergone Hezbullah terrorist training and further implicated one Fauzi Fawad, also a co-owner of Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park. However, the fellow is now at large. The arms and ammunition were targeted at facilities of Israel and Western interest in Nigeria; however, the security agencies are making frantic efforts to unveil the true situation. At the end of investigation, all those involved will be prosecuted”, the statement concluded.
To that effect, Fawaz has been released but his businesses, from the looks of things, were the front, have been sealed. In the ensuing frenzy, a newspaper hit town with the purported arrest of Tahir Fadallah, chairman of the Lebanese community, in connection with the arms find. An obviously incensed Fadallah has refuted the story. But even at that, he did it with a certain style uniquely his.
Apart from being born and bred in Kano, Fadallah speaks Hausa with native proficiency. He considers Kano his first home. Most of his bosom friends are natives of the state. With business in hospitality and furniture industry, it is difficult to picture Fadallah in bed with any terror group at home or abroad.
These are trying times for the Nigerian “Intelligence Community”. Of late it has not acted like it had any “intelligence” at all. Most times, it has come across as a lousy actor in interpreting a script most probably written abroad. For example, sometime in February, the SSS addressed a press conference and told a mostly disbelieving citizenry that a certain Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, 50, and a Shiite obviously working for Iran was plotting to “kill’´ two prominent Nigerians, both of them bearing Ibrahim.
In telling the country that Berende had confessed to plotting to kill Babangida and Dasuki, the SSS overplayed its hands. It may be dumbly unaware that toeing that line was blowing off the cover for Zionist interests. Everybody in the informed circle knows that there is no love lost between Iran and Israel. The question the SSS didn’t address was what strategic interest would the murder of these former leaders serve Iran?
Fast forward to May 28th when the JTF discovered the bunker in Kano and the links to Hizbullah. For years, Hizbullah, mainly peopled by Shiites, has resisted Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It is a political party primarily formed to expel Israel from Lebanon and a prelude to its final obliteration. It receives support from Iran. I strongly suspect that the Berende and the Kano arms discovery were not an accident. They are linked and I suspect too, more of such plots will follow. The Israelis are, after all, now security consultants in the country. I hope that this discovery is not just another hogwash.

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