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    Terror sponsors turning Nigeria into Taliban country – Ex-naval chief

    A former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, has said some sponsors of terrorist groups are bent on turning Nigeria to a country where the Taliban will reign supreme.

    Olawunmi expressed regret that he convinced the United States government and American intelligence agencies to allow Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) become Nigeria’s President in May 2015.

    Olawunmi recalled how some Boko Haram suspects, who were arrested by the military mentioned some of their sponsors, adding that current governors and senators were among those financing terrorism in the country.

    He spoke on Wednesday when he featured on a Channels Television programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’ monitored by The PUNCH.

    The retired Navy Commodore, who was reacting to the recent attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna, said, he once interrogated Boko Haram terrorists, who mentioned names of current governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation.

    He added that he was not afraid of death, saying, “The DSS knows them (sponsors), the NIA knows them, the DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency) knows them because it is the DIA that conducted the operations that arrested the (400) suspects.”

    Olawunmi stated that the President had demonstrated an unwillingness to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to him.

    “You remember this Boko Haram issue started in 2012 and I was in the military intelligence at that time. We arrested those people. My organisation actually conducted interrogation and they (suspects) mentioned names.

    “I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that I know that the boys that we arrested mentioned. Some of them are governors now, some of them are in the Senate, and some of them are in Aso Rock.

    “Why should a government decide to cause this kind of embarrassment and insecurity that happened yesterday (Tuesday’s attack on NDA)? Terrorist financiers want to turn Nigeria to a Taliban type of country.”

    He, however, lamented that Buhari had done unprecedented and monumental damage to the Nigerian people with his alleged nepotism, and unwillingness to deal decisively with sponsors of Boko Haram in his government.

    On the emergence of Buhari as President, Olawunmi maintained that he was part of the top-ranking military officers from the Nigerian intelligence circle who met with their US counterparts in December 2014, in the build-up to the March 2015 presidential election.

    According to him, himself and his colleagues from the DSS, the NIA, amongst others, had convinced the US government that “the only person that can come and put this country right is Buhari”.

    He described as an aberration, Tuesday’s attack by bloodthirsty bandits on the Kaduna campus of Nigeria’s foremost military university (NDA), where two military officers were killed and another kidnapped.

    “It is an aberration; you don’t attack the Nigerian Defence Academy and get away with it,” he lamented, adding that the NDA, like other military environments in the country, carelessly opens its doors to everyone on Friday for Jumat prayer, thereby giving terrorists the opportunity to profile the military institution.

    “On Fridays, you are going to see the same thing happening across all military formations in the country…If you go to Defence Headquarters, I served at the Defence Headquarters as the Deputy Director, Defence Administration between 2015 and 2017, throughout my two years at the Defence Headquarters, I received visitors twice because of the strict security architecture there.

    “But every Friday, the gate of the Defence Headquarters is thrown wide open for everybody to come in and observe Jumat. That is the time the terrorists have to profile our security environment. It has always been the case. I have served the military intelligence for the past 35 years. Our problem is religion and socio-cultural.”

    Copyright PUNCH.

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