Anyaoku Backs Akinyemi, Says FG Should Stop Leaks on NIA

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Emeka Anyaoku

Obinna Chima

Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has aligned himself with the position of Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, warning that the activities of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) should never be made a public affair.
Anyaoku, said this in a statement he released on Tuesday.

He explained that apart from his intervention that led to the signing of the Abuja Accord by all the presidential candidates in the run-up to the 2015 national election, he hardly issues public statements on developments within the country.
“But because of its gravity, I feel compelled to publicly express my full support for the statement by Akinyemi on the need to stop leaking secrets on NIA which I have just read in our media while on a visit to London.

“It is common practice by responsible governments throughout the world for only the head of government and his/her very few appropriate ministers to be involved in the operations of the nation’s external secret service. While not sparing every effort to check corruption, to expand the scope of such involvement would be doing huge damage to the security of the state,” he said.

Akinyemi, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, had recently warned that the report of the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo panel investigating the discovery of N13.3 billion in an apartment in Ikoyi by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should remain classified in order not to compromise national security.

Akinyemi had said when news broke that some millions of dollars had been found hidden in a flat in Ikoyi, he was quite indifferent, as it had become a “recurring decimal”.
“I was not even bothered when nobody initially stepped forward to claim it. But when Ayo Oke stepped forward to claim it on the part of the NIA, alarm bells started to ring in my ears. It is one of the sacred traditions of the external intelligence trade to admit nothing and to deny nothing,” he said.

Akinyemi, who was also the deputy chairman of the 2014 National Conference had noted that a saving grace emerged when the president set up the Osinbajo panel to untangle the web over the millions of dollars.
“But the president inadvertently made a mistake. He did not appoint anyone with a history of external intelligence experience unto the panel. External intelligence operations do not belong in the same security genre as domestic security forces such as the DSS, EFCC and the police.”

  • absam777

    There are no more sincere elders in the land. What is sensitive about corruption?

    • aeskor

      You miss the point of what Akinyemi said; investigate all you want, but do not release the report into the public domain. I can understand Nigerians feeling so frustrated about the level of corruption in the land, but I also remember a Yoruba adage that says even when we are crying, we should keep our eyes open. I believe that is the purport of Anyaoku and Akinyemi’s intervention. There has been an investigation and certain classified information that would, without the investigation, have been in the knowledge of a very few Nigerians, have probably been divulged, if indeed they have been. Such information, must be redacted if any part of the report should be made public. Whether you believe it or not, there is a sensitivity about corruption, when the object of that corruption is a sensitive institution in the governance structure of the country like the NIA. The average Nigerian is generally ignorant and complacent about security and that includes the various governments. If the information outflow regarding the NIA is not properly handled, it can be used by foreign spy agencies to leverage their intrusion into the most sensitive centres of power in Nigeria and thereby compromise the very systems that are set up to protect us from such foreign interference. The Russians are very good at using information covertly obtained to blackmail officers of foreign governments into spying for Russia. Why was Trump’s former NSA’s information disclosure deficit the basis of the uproar the led to his resignation? It was because the FBI recognised that Flynn’s failure to reveal his discussion of the sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador could be used later by the same Russians to blackmail him.

    • Benny agafa

      I am surprise too, with that huge money you are saying that one should not talk about it. The country is in great problem from the so called elder to the young ones.

  • RumuPHC

    Enough of this glib talk !

    People that know little or nothing about security should refrain from talking security.

    How can the report of a probe over the discovery of huge sum of foreign currency at a private and very unsecured location be a threat to national security just because the DG of NIA claim the money belongs to the Agency and is for covert operation?

    Even if the claims of the DG were to be true but is obviously not the case, an exposure of incompetence at the highest level of national security including consequent sack of high ranking officers and reorganization of the Agency will certainly improve rather than degrade national Security.

    What is so secretive about an infrastructure project to government officials and political leadership when the details of such are well known to management of Julius Berger and site workers of the construction giant ?

    Or better still, what manner of covert operation local and international requires dollar cash disbursement from a rented flat in an apartment block?

    We can imagine what a determined foreign enemy know about our security if it took a poor ordinary gateman to come to conclusion that there is huge cash stashed in a house and the disguise of the courier and keeper of the supposedly NIA ” safe house ” does not fit the role.

    The feeling of security is more of a perception than physical . The involvement of the NIA in the Osbornegate saga has dented the impression of the ability of the Agency to protect the country. Nigerians will feel even less secured if the whole truth on this matter is not made public.

  • Arabakpura

    If it is one of the sacred traditions of intelligence service to deny or accept nothing, it means Oke is not well grounded for that office! We can clean up and start afresh!