Though the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has enormous powers on security based on its mandates, the occupier of the office does not have the power on controlling troops and personnel of military and security services.
Recently, a group, Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEDP) launched an aggressive campaign against the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.)over the recent breach in the security architecture of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Afaka, Kaduna State. They even called for his removal.
The ONSA is statutorily empowered by Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 to coordinate and support “all security, intelligence, law enforcement agencies and military services to prevent and combat acts of terrorism in Nigeria.”
Additionally, the NSA is a Senior Official in the cabinet of the President of Nigeria who manages National Security on behalf of the President and serves as his Chief Advisor on all matters that are vital to the very survival of the state. He also coordinates the activities of all services chiefs among others without controlling the troops or personnel.
Therefore, it is obvious that, the enshrined mandate of the NSA is to proffer advice on how to tackle security challenges, while the implementation of the planned actions lies within the domain of the respective ministries, services and agencies.
Since his assumption of office, NSA Babagana as an adviser, has recorded tremendous successes, some which could be glimpse from leaked on some of sincere and strategic advice in curbing the menace of banditry, terrorism and other criminalities in Nigeria.
Even though one could occasionally observe that his office was being undermine by other operators and players, Monguno was always careful in treading softly to avoid rocking the boat.
For instance, in June, 2021, ONSA directed the immediate dismantling of all illegal security outfits across the country and issued warning against the use of those outfits to extort, harass and intimidate Nigerians.
The directive was necessary because, ONSA is charged with the control and monitoring of the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) under the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) which is domiciled within the domain of his office.
One of the illegal outfits mentioned in the statement was NATFORCE which was allegedly masquerading and acting as part of the Nigerian security architecture while engaging in mounting illegal roadblocks, conducting illegal searches, seizures and recruitments of personnel.
Unfortunately, in spite of ONSA’s directive, NATFORCE is still in operation without being sanctioned by respective security agencies.
Meanwhile, a lot of military operations are ongoing within the all the nook and crannies of the country in order to get rid of criminal elements.
Even in the midst of security challenges, success stories are being recorded by the gallant Nigerian troops. On June 20, 2021, scores of Boko Haram terrorists were eliminated while six of their gun trucks were destroyed Lamboa town and other 6 BHTs were eliminated at Kumshe town, Borno State.
On July 13, 2021, the troops eliminated 28 ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists along Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway while 37 other terrorists were neutralized at Bula town, Yobe State. In fact over 100 terrorists were eliminated and 93 kidnapped victims were rescued in July 2021.
On May 5, 2021, NAF aircraft eliminated congregation of bandits in Birnin Gwari and another 120 bandits in Sububu forest along Zamfara State axis.
Even this week, on August 23, 2021 precisely, the Troops of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) successfully neutralized syndicate of criminals who specialized in kidnapping of people in Plateau State.
Some of the successes can be attributed to the strategic roles of ONSA in coordinating activities of joint operations Including the ongoing intelligence driven non-kinetic operations in the North-East that is pushing Boko Haram members to surrender en-masse.
In fact, NSA Monguno was recently quoted as saying “it is evident that a lot of successes have been recorded. A large number of people are surrendering in the North-East as a consequence of the relentless efforts of the armed forces, intelligence and security agencies. This is very evident.”
In June, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned a state-of-the-art Falcon Eye Maritime Intelligence Facility at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja. The facility is a brainchild of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), as part of efforts to boost Nigeria’s overall maritime security architecture, in accordance with the National Security Strategy (NSS).
The Falcon Eye surveillance facility project, according to Monguno was necessitated by the many security challenges, such as kidnapping of oil workers, sea robbery/piracy, incessant problems of crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, hostage-taking, maritime terrorism, facing the maritime sector.
There are similar such facilities by ONSA that serve as force multipliers for security platforms tasked to effectively secure our the communities and the nation in general from external aggression.
There is also the procurement of A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft from US and other fighter jets from Pakistan. The procurements which all required end-user certificate from ONSA would help strengthen Nigeria’s national security, as well as a timely end to activities of bandits and terrorists.
While most of the attacks on ONSA are based on ignorance, I urged NSA Monguno to remain focus and diligent on delivering his mandates for safer, saner and secured Nigeria.
Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi writes from Madobi, Kano State