Dangerous Incoherence in the Antiterrorism War

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POLITICAL NOTES

The news last week that the Defence Headquarters had no knowledge of the arrest of a journalist declared wanted by the military over alleged connections to Boko Haram terrorists, Ahmad Salkida, highlights a terrible lack of coordination among the security agencies involved in the antiterrorism war.

Salkida’s arrest had grabbed the headlines on Tuesday. He was said to have been apprehended by operatives of the Department of State Services on Monday at the Abuja airport on arrival from the Middle East, where he had lived since the outbreak of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Declaring Salkida wanted recently, alongside one Ahmed Bolori and a lady, Aisha Wakil, the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, had alleged that they had information on the whereabouts of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok in April 2014.

“The Nigerian Army hereby declares the two gentlemen and the lady wanted for interrogation,” Usman stated. “This becomes necessary as a result of their link with the last two videos released by Boko Haram terrorists and other findings of our preliminary investigations. There is no doubt that these individuals have links with Boko Haram terrorists and have contacts with them.

“They must, therefore, come forward and tell us where the group is keeping the Chibok girls and other abducted persons to enable us rescue them.”

But following the news of Salkida’s arrest on Monday, the Director of Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, told THISDAY, “Honestly speaking, I read it just like any other person read it online some days ago. And I believe if there is anything like that the Defence Headquarters must know. So, actually, I don’t know anything about this and I am honest about it.”

Disjunctions like this happen all too often, and this is the bane of security in Nigeria. The relevant authorities should be awake to the dangers of this anomaly and move to fix it urgently. – Vincent Obia