Muhammadu Buhari

A report emanating from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari has declared secessionist agitation groups like the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) as a threat to the nation’s security.

Other groups declared as enemies of the state are Boko Haram terrorists, Niger Delta militants, Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN or the Shiite group), Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS recruitment cells, armed herdsmen, cattle rustling and gun running syndicates.

Classified documents sighted by THISDAY titled: ‘2016 Annual Threat Assessment’, showed that a multi-agency and multi-disciplinary organisation called the Intelligence Fusion Centre (IFC) has been created to analyse information from different sources and agencies with respect to threat to the country.

IFC will then integrate all information gathered by different security agencies into a single intelligence product.
The IFC, intelligence sources said, would make it easier for security agencies to share information.

In determining which organisation constitutes a threat to the country, the IFC considers both intent and capability.
“For it is the combination of these two factors that most sharply characterises the significance of these threats to the security of Nigeria,” the 2016 Annual Threat Assessment stated.

“The above classification, perhaps explains the decision to clamp down on both the IMN and IPOB.”
International human rights organisations such as the Amnesty International reported that excessive forces were used by Nigerian security agencies in dealing with both IMN and IPOB.
Until last week, the leaders of both groups were kept in jail. However, IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was granted bail under stringent conditions which those in authorities believed he would not be able to meet.

Kanu however pulled a surprise and fulfilled all the bail conditions. He was consequently released.
But leader of IMN, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, was not as lucky. He had been in jail for almost a year and a half.

An order of a Federal High Court directing government to free him and his wife was not complied with. The decision to disobey the court order might have been informed by intelligence classifying the group he leads as a threat to the nation.

Meanwhile, the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has written to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to release Zakzaky on medical grounds.

A copy of the letter obtained by THISDAY reads: “Concerns are mounting for the Sheikh’s deteriorating health following injuries sustained from gunshot wounds during the military assault against the IMN in December 2015.

“During that attack in Zaria in which over 1,000 people were killed, Sheikh Zakzaky lost the use of an arm and one of his eyes.
“Since then, together with his wife, he has been in the custody of Nigeria’s domestic intelligence agency Department of Security Service (DSS), detained without charge. Reports from family members now indicate that he is in real danger of losing sight in his other eye.

“Despite repeated pleas Sheikh Zakzaky has not been allowed access to suitable medical treatment. The most immediate requirement is for him to be seen by a specialist opthalmologist in a well-equipped facility where treatment can be urgently administered if deemed to be necessary.
“You will no doubt be mindful of the fact that prompt and effective intervention can help secure the best medical outcomes for patients. This is why you yourself have travelled to London to seek medical treatment twice since last June.

“Having availed yourself of the opportunity to access specialist treatment, it would surely be wrong of you to prevent other Nigerian citizens from doing the same whether that it is inside or outside the country.
“Sheikh Zakzaky is a double victim. Firstly, he is being held illegally by the DSS in flagrant violation of a recent High Court order demanding his release. At the same time, the detaining authorities are preventing him from receiving urgent medical attention which is only aggravating his condition.
“In the interests of justice, compassion and fairness. we urge you to immediately allow Sheikh Zakzaky to access urgent medical care and release him unconditionally in line with the law and due process.”