Uncovering sponsors of terrorism


By Rekpene Bassey


Danjuma Ali-Keffi, a retired Major General renowned for his fearless demeanour, unyielding discipline, and gallant spirit, once commanded respect as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the prestigious 1 Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, stationed in Kaduna. An unwavering commitment to moral integrity and straightforwardness marked his character.

On a fateful day etched in tragedy, General Ali-Keffi was entrusted with welcoming the late Chief of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, at the Kaduna Airport.

However, fate had a cruel twist in store. Instead of the anticipated reception, he found himself thrust into the heart of a harrowing emergency.

The duty of overseeing the urgent evacuation operation to retrieve the charred remains of his esteemed superior and ten others from the wreckage of the ill-fated jet that carried them from Abuja fell upon his shoulders.

The trauma inflicted upon Ali-Keffi by this ordeal is beyond comprehension. It required considerable time and effort for him to regain even a semblance of composure. Yet, in the aftermath of the tragedy, the General demonstrated remarkable resilience, gradually emerging from the depths of despair to confront the mystery surrounding the crash head-on.

In the ensuing days and weeks, General Ali-Keffi embarked on a quest to unravel the enigma shrouding the tragic incident. His investigation led him down a path fraught with suspicion and intrigue.

With a discerning eye, he began to entertain the notion of a conspiracy lurking beneath the surface, suggesting the possible involvement of insiders with significant influence, perhaps even shadowy figures financing terrorism.

Despite the weight of grief and uncertainty, Danjuma Ali-Keffi stood resolute, determined to pursue justice and uncover the truth behind his comrades’ untimely demise. His unwavering commitment to duty and relentless pursuit of accountability are testaments to his indomitable spirit amidst adversity.

Danjuma Ali-Keffi, previously entrusted with leading the presidential Board of Inquiry (BOI) by former President Muhammad Buhari, undertook a profound investigation into elements within the system clandestinely aiding or funding the Boko Haram terrorist group. Despite the depth of his inquiry, the findings remained obscured, buried beneath the rug of bureaucracy.

However, Ali-Keffi’s courageous vocalization of suspicions surrounding the tragic demise of General Attahiru, who was resolute in his mission to combat terrorism within the nation, led to his arrest, detention, and forced retirement from the Nigerian Army. His unwavering dedication to exposing the truth about terrorism’s clandestine supporters resulted in his harsh reprisal, indicative of the systemic challenges faced in rooting out corruption and conspiracy.

Notably, General Ali-Keffi’s revelations echoed sentiments expressed by former President Goodluck Jonathan, who, during the 2012 Armed Forces Day commemoration, highlighted the insidious infiltration of Boko Haram elements within government agencies and security institutions. This acknowledgment underscores the pervasive nature of the threat posed by terrorist organizations and their collaborators.

Furthermore, General Babagana Mungonu, Buhari’s former National Security Adviser, tantalizingly hinted at possessing a list of terrorist sponsors, yet the promise of disclosure remained unfulfilled throughout his tenure.

These instances illuminate a troubling reality: the presence of influential backers behind terrorist activities persists, shrouded in secrecy and perpetuating a cycle of impunity. The failure to address these issues effectively underscores the imperative for steadfast action and transparency in combating terrorism and its enablers.

The persistence of such disclosures from high-ranking individuals begs whether these revelations are made with credible information or merely speculative conjecture. If these statements are based on well-founded knowledge, one must question the government’s failure to take appropriate action. This raises concerns about the effectiveness of governance and the ability of institutions to address such critical issues.

Moreover, the failure to root out these collaborators and sponsors of terrorism undermines efforts to enforce security measures effectively. Terrorism and insurgency cannot be tackled decisively unless these covert elements are identified and dealt with within the bounds of the law. The presence of such individuals within the system obstructs progress and perpetuates the cycle of violence and instability.

The identity of these saboteurs and sponsors remains elusive, prompting speculation about their potential ties to the government or other powerful entities. The government’s inability to apprehend and prosecute these individuals raises questions about complicity and accountability within the system.

Recent events, such as the brazen abduction of 287 children in Kurigi and another 87 last Sunday, 17 March, in Kajuru-Station communities respectively in Kaduna State, allegedly orchestrated by armed bandits, underscore the urgency of the situation. The audacity and brutality of such acts demand swift and decisive action to root out the perpetrators and ensure justice for the victims.

At this critical juncture, it is imperative to uncover these treacherous elements lurking within our society and hold them accountable within the confines of the law. Failure to do so undermines national security and erodes public trust in the government’s ability to protect its citizens and uphold the rule of law.

Rekpene Bassey is the President of the African Council on Narcotics (ACON), a Security and Drug Prevention Specialist

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