Tag Archives: Marilyn Ogar

Opinion: Dear GEJ, negotiation is still the only way to defeat Boko Haram

by Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Terrorism is achieving political agenda through violence. The politics of power is the reason behind the argument of not negotiating with terrorists. The protagonist point of view is that negotiating with terrorists rewards violence and discourages political change through peaceful means. They argue that negotiation weakens the negotiating government’s democratic structures, sets a dangerous precedence and undermines international effort at eradicating terrorism. The terrorists ability to undermine government’s legitimacy as a guardian of public peace and as a trustee of the democracy is why the agents of government always find themselves in an awkward position when secret negotiation falls flat. No one illustrates this better than Marylyn Ogar, whose misteps in her partisan blindfolds is legendary.

The dirty and murky boiler room deals, involving third party negotiators with government approval, is a potent indicator that governments most often negotiate with terrorists contrary to their admissions. Marylyn Ogar and her bosses cannot claim ignorance of Dr. Stephen Davis. They also know most if not all the sponsors of Boko Haram. They are not exposed because Nigeria is one big corrupt jungle where power is sought by a clique to corner the commonwealth. The unwritten rule remains: ‘I will not hurt you as long as we protect each other’. Make no mistake about it, Boko Haram are backed by political juggernauts who are bent on having a Nigeria of their own construct. The reluctance to name, shame and try them for their crimes lends credence to the facts. Why is the Nigerian government denying Dr. Stephen Davis? The Australian negotiator has clearly brokered deals for government with Niger Delta militants before; documents and pictures exists to prove it. Apparently, he decided to go public because this government lacks the capacity and political will to name, shame, prosecute and bring the sponsors and the chief perpetrators to justice. With a castrated military, I understand the frustrations of Dr. Davis. There seem to be no other way. Nigerians are crushed helpless by the devastating, cruel, daily deaths and the loss of towns and villages to the Islamic Caliphate of Boko Haram.

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What to do? Clearly, the government knows what we don’t know. It is near certain that the sponsors will never be tried in this country even if all of them get named. The best Nigerians can hope for within the country’s border is a press conference to deny their involvement and a few crocodile tears and the macabre dance of death will continue unless the alleged sponsors venture out of this country. I have always believed in not negotiating with terrorists. But in the case of Boko Haram versus the Nigerian Army, what are the options? Under the prevailing circumstance, I have assumed a more realistic posture and have revised my priors. The Nigerian military cannot defeat Boko Haram. The military has been decimated by decades of corruption, dis-incentivization of meritocracy, cronyism and contract splitting. Given Nigeria’s adverse circumstances, negotiation may be the best, if not the only way of avoiding an undesirable outcome of a bloody country-wide war.

Nigeria is not the United States or France who dare proclaim we don’t negotiate with terrorists. The United States has the best military in the world, their superior air force will destroy Boko Haram in a nanosecond. The opposite is what Nigeria has. The Nigerian Armed Forces tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other military equipment do not justify the budget allocated to the defence ministry year after year. The Air Force actually has one operational fighter jet while the Presidential fleet has a dozen aircrafts. The once proud and competent military has been crippled and has become a huge joke.

 Nigeria is better served by employing careful negotiation as a means of constructing an outcome that is better than what obtains now and the evil that lies ahead.

This war cannot be won by executive fiat or by wishing. No one can legislate patriotism and competence for fractious armies with low morale. The military must be invested in and changed, and change takes time. On the fighting capacity of the military, the country is sadly a decade late and several billion dollars short. It will take more than 10 years of rigorous training, policy redirection and monitored funding to bring back the military to its former glorious height. Nigerians must be prepared for a slow and painful process of balkanization if negotiation is taken off the table. In the case of Boko Haram, given a weak military, ethnic and religious schisms, Nigeria is better served by employing careful negotiation as a means of constructing an outcome that is better than what obtains now and the evil that lies ahead.

Make no mistake about it, Boko Haram are backed by political juggernauts who are bent on having a Nigeria of their own construct. The reluctance to name, shame and try them for their crimes lends credence to the fact.

Negotiation is uniquely suited to Nigeria because the country, since the Maitatsine uprising, has spent the last 34 years fighting itself one way or the other. The denial and unwillingness to face the truth lies in the explanation and interpretation of the various levels of violence in the nation. Going through history, it is often difficult knowing where to begin. Violence has become the reference point for Nigerian politics, society, and economy as referenced by electoral violence, ethnic strife, sectarian violence and economic sabotage in the the Niger Delta. The arguments against negotiations are based on narrow political considerations, statements of principle, and personal opinions, profiteering from misery, rather than well-rounded, pragmatic recommendations.

Military chiefs have been alleged to be opposed to negotiations because they are profiting from the $6billion defence budget and do not want to see a cut in the face-value of their meal ticket. Is the successive capture of territories and incapacitation of the Nigerian army not suggestive that Boko Haram is more powerful and shows Nigeria’s interests cannot be satisfied through the status quo? Negotiation strategies and the decision to accept or reject a proposal should always be based on Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). That is, the decision to accept or reject a negotiated agreement should be a function of Nigeria’s best alternative course of action. What is Nigeria’s best alternative under the current circumstance? I have serious doubts if procuring military equipment can help Nigeria in the short term. What is the use of an embroidery machine and electric motor sewing machines to a bad tailor? We have an abysmal alternative in our military. The comparative cost of fighting instead of negotiating is getting higher everyday. A whole section is under attack and the country is at war. Beginning negotiations is no guarantee that a negotiated solution will be reached, but it is a necessary and often profitable first step towards ending the carnage. The Chibok girls are still missing and many more men are slaughtered, their wives and daughter cornered as sex slaves. Should this continue?

Given the current status of Boko Haram, President Jonathan has two essential alternatives to negotiating with the terror group. The first alternative would be to examine their demands, negotiate what can be met and opt for conditional amnesty. The second option is for the military to submerge itself in total confrontation with Boko Haram, seeking their comprehensive defeat or surrender. No country wins a war by being indifferent to its people and their suffering. The public is getting increasingly weary of the ongoing carnage in the conflict. Shekau’s public statements point to his preference for a confrontation strategy and further escalation of the conflict leading to seizure of many more territories. Is that Nigeria’s preferred option?

“Negotiation is an intricate exercise that begins with utopia and that which is desirable, continues with that which is possible, and reaches that which is viable, passing by that which is necessary.” I’m in favour of negotiations, but it can only help buy more time. The outcome of the National Conference shows the dearth of statesmen in Nigeria. Nigeria is not ready to take the bitter pill towards a just and equitable nationhood. There is no short cut to unity until there is a political agenda based on substantial agrarian reform, redistribution of wealth, state ownership and exploitation of natural resources, and higher investment in education and health sectors.

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This article was published with permission from Premium Times

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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DSS warns Nigerians to watchout for female suicide bombers dressed as nuns

by S’ola Filani

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The Department of State of State Service (DSS) has warned that terrorists may be planning to attack in a different way after 13 pieces of Catholic Reverend Sisters’ regalia were stolen from a shop in Kano state purportedly for suicide bombing.

In a statement released by Marilyn Ogar, spokesperson for the DSS, Nigerians are advised to look out for persons, especially female suicide bombers who may disguise in this regalia. The DSS believes that it might a new tactic adopted by suicide bombers following the awareness of Nigerians to the use of hijab.

On 20 August 2014, about 4:00 a.m., some yet to be identified persons broke into a tailoring shop located at No. 55 Odutola Street, Sabon Gari, Kano, and stole about thirteen (13) pieces of Reverend Sisters’ regalia of the Catholic Church.

With the recent trend in female suicide bombings in the country, the removal of these regalia may be the handiwork of terrorists’ elements that may want to perpetrate acts of terror using such garments.

Consequently, this Service has taken necessary pre-emptive measures to thwart the exploitation of distinct religious wears for terrorist purposes. We also wish to draw public attention to this development and call on all citizens to be more circumspect and exercise greater vigilance with users of such peculiar attires.

The DSS then encouraged Nigerians to report any suspicious movement by anyone to the security operatives.

“We enjoin all and sundry to continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies through the provision of useful information on suspicious activities within their immediate environment. This Service will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders as we strive to keep our country safe.”

Abimbola Adelakun

Abimbola Adelakun: Who is Marilyn Ogar working against?

by Abimbola Adelakun

By tomorrow, Friday, August 22, the kidnapped girls of Chibok would have been unwitting ”guests” of Boko Haram for 130 days. Between their kidnap and frightful escapes, the recurring line from the relevant security agencies has been, “We know where they are”! Ironically, every Nigerian knows where they are too: With Boko Haram!

The Department of State Security, formerly known as the State Security Service is primarily charged with intelligence gathering within Nigeria. Perhaps, bereft of adequate intelligence and tactics to take on bigger opponents like the abductors of the Chibok girls, it resorts to chasing shadowy ones.

Ms. Marilyn Ogar, the public persona of the agency, has taken a fancy to mundane stridency. She is a civil servant; a high ranking one who should know better than the pedestrian manner she has bedevilled Nigerians with of late. Watching her on TV talking about the governorship Osun election was perhaps one of the most embarrassing outings by any Nigerian public official ever. If Ogar is the best the DSS has in its ranks, it is probably not too much to ask them to rethink their staffing parameters.

 

It is not clear whose voice Ogar sprouts but clearly she seems to think that being the spokesperson of an organisation gives her the licene to prattle even streamside gossip. One can deduce from her recent bluster and blunder that she lacks the self-restraint that should come with being involved with intelligence gathering.

 

 

Given that Nigeria is no longer under the military -where any and every nonsense was foisted on the populace – it stretches one’s imagination that the deleterious propaganda of Ogar is allowed to stand. It makes one wonder if she is the ventriloquist or just the puppet on its lap. Even more importantly, one needs ask if there is not a tacit approval of her annoying and unceasing public oration by her superiors. At the rate at which she is letting on important information to the public in a poorly thought-out yet gossipy manner, it seems the DSS is not taking itself seriously enough.

It is not clear whose voice Ogar sprouts but clearly she seems to think that being the spokesperson of an organisation gives her the licene to prattle even streamside gossip. One can deduce from her recent bluster and blunder that she lacks the self-restraint that should come with being involved with intelligence gathering.

Some months back, she dumped on doubters who questioned her assertion that the “real” Abubakar Shekau was dead. She responded that questioners ought to uncritically believe whatever the DSS tells them. Some weeks after, she sprayed a similar zealous uncouthness on the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners. She termed the protesters a “franchise” even without linking them to any parent organisation or presenting proof of its affiliation to any sponsor.

Still not done, Ogar, a week ago, resumed her exerting nuances when she alleged that a “certain political party” had attempted to bribe the DSS officials during the Osun election. Given that there were two main political parties that tussled in that election and Ogar already works for one, or seemingly so, given that one controls the central government, it does not take much effort to know which she was indiscreetly accusing. Worse, if a security official can openly boast about being offered a bribe (knowing there is an extant law against such practices), then it shows the level the Nigerian society has degenerated. Even more shocking is the glaring reality that her words have not attracted enough outrage to compel any decisive action from appropriate quarters.

As if that was not enough, she went further to allege that any loss the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, records at the polls is usually accompanied by bombing attacks. This should have been classified as another one of Ogar’s rants except some weeks ago, a similar line of thought had been offered by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku. Maku claimed that about every milestone recorded by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has been followed by a terror attack. He cited several instances – the rebasing of the Nigerian GDP, the World Economic Forum summit that took place in Abuja and, even the Ekiti election. I shudder to imagine that this sort of stringing what might as well be happenstance together is what now passes for “intelligence gathering” in Nigeria.

It remains unclear who is echoing who and whether these unsubstantiated tales are not even endorsed in government quarters; and whether huge sums of money are not allocated for security officials to further pursue this line of reasoning.

But suppose there is some sense in the claim that some disgruntled elements throw a bomb each time they cannot have their way so as to undermine the never-seen-before-in-this-world achievements of Mr. President, is simply making the accusation the best Ogar’s organisation can offer? What is the relevance of the DSS then if it cannot accompany its theories with indisputable facts and a decisive course of action?

If a whole secret service agency should degenerate to putting two and two together and arriving at wild figures that suits them, then how are they different from the countless conspiracy theorists who more or less abuse their privilege of possessing a laptop, Internet connection and an opportunity of a discourse when they concoct similar mindless fiction on virtually every national issue? We might as well save the nation some much needed money by closing down the DSS offices and let the public generate its own insinuations.

There have been several calls for Ogar’s sacking but what we are dealing with here is beyond a lone personality who will not just stop talking. The DSS has a chequered history and Ogar is a reflection of an organisation that urgently needs to clean itself. Like all public bodies, due process is often thrown to the dogs whilst nepotism, tribalism and religious affiliation are exploited, building up a burdensome cult of personalities. And, given that the infamous National Security Organisation of Umaru Shinkafi, Mohammed Rafindadi and, Mohammed Gusau is the DSS fore-runner, Ogar’s shortcoming is more of a continuation of an institutional deficiency, rather than an isolated incident.

However, Ogar should neither be condoned nor tolerated. She should understand that her words go a long way. History is sated with misguided officials who did their pay-masters bidding to calamitous consequences. People like Sani Abacha, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Augusto Pinochet and, Nicolae Ceausescu suffer labelling for their activities in office. Yet, what are sometimes overlooked in their historical narratives are stories of their foot-soldiers who facilitate their destructive tendencies through words. If Ogar thinks her words are mere words, ask the Tutsi who died in the Rwandan genocide all about the power of rhetoric. The instigation by various spokespersons fuelled the mayhem. That is why Ogar needs to be reminded that while she might be working for her ultimate self-interest, (and is likely to be noticed and rewarded for her relentless efforts), she is largely working against the nation’s collective interest.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

See you in court – APC breathes fire at Marilyn Ogar

by Godwin Akanfe

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned what it called a thinly-veiled attempt by the Directorate of Security Service (DSS) to link the party with the insurgent group Boko Haram, without providing a shred of evidence to support the allegation. In a press release issued by party spokesman, Lai Mohammed, the APC also called on the DSS’s spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar to either resign or failing that, be fired by the Federal Government.

In the statement, the party called on the National Assembly to invite the Director-General of the DSS to explain if Ogar’s partisan stance represents the official position of the service on the spate of bomb blasts in the country; if indeed N14 billion was offered as a bribe to the DSS and by who; and why the DSS has chosen to descend to the political fray at the expense of its professionalism and national loyalty.

Lai Mohammed is questioning Ogar's neutrality.

Lai Mohammed is questioning Ogar’s neutrality.

Mohammed also said that the APC has decided to sue Ogar for attempting to blame it for the series of bomb blasts in the country. The lawsuit, according to Mohammed, is to give her the opportunity to present whatever evidence she may have of the APC’s complicity in a court of law.

“Ogar threw caution to the wind and exhibited its crass partisanship when on national television she claimed that any time the APC wins an election, there is no bomb blast, but that whenever other parties win, there is always a bomb blast,” Mohammed said. “That this incredulous accusation could be made by the spokesperson of a security agency, without providing a scintilla of evidence to support such claim, has confirmed our fears that the nation’s security agencies have now constituted themselves into the enforcement arm of the PDP.

“For the DSS Spokesperson to echo the same capricious statement that has been made in the past by the spokesman of the PDP shows that the agency has dropped its toga of non-partisanship and has descended into the political fray. If the DSS has any professional ethics, if DSS is not an arm of the PDP, then the agency must publicly dissociate itself from the irresponsible and unfounded allegation by Ogar and disengage her from the service.

“Doing that will be the first step in restoring the credibility, or whatever is left of it, of the DSS. In the alternative, we challenge the DSS to present to Nigerians any evidence it may have linking our party to the spate of bomb blasts in the country. After all, it is trite that he who alleges must prove,” Mohammed added.

The party said since the APC won the election in Osun, Ogar has been struggling hard to discredit the party and its victory, including making a spurious allegation that the party offered the DSS 14 million naira as a bribe and also trying to make a joke of the arrest of the party’s spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for no other reason than that he belongs to the opposition.

Marilyn-Ogar

Why we released Nyanya bombing mastermind after arrest in 2011 – SSS

Marilyn-Ogar

by Akan Ido

The Spokesperson of the State Security Service, Marilyn Ogar has given an insight into the arrest and release of the Nyanya bombing mastermind, Aminu Sadik Owuche in 2011.

Ogar said Ogwuche who was recently re-arrested by Intepol after reportedly escaping to Sudan was set free in 2011 after intense pressure from his father, a retired colonel of the Nigerian Army, lawyers and the human rights community.

Ogar who spoke with journalists on Tuesday said, “He was arrested in 2011 when he came into the country from the United Kingdom. That was based on information that we had that he was involved in some terrorist activities. He was with us.”

She said the suspect had to be released on bail to his father following accusations from the human rights community that his rights are being deprived.

“We carried out further investigation. We started having lots of queries and enquiries from his father, the lawyers, and especially the human rights activists saying we were depriving him of his human rights.

“We had to make his father take him on bail based on the fact that when we need him, he would release him to us. And of course, when he was mentioned as one of those that had masterminded the Nyanya bombings, we went straight ahead to ask the father to release him to us. And of course, the father couldn’t produce him. So, based on that, we had to work with other sister agencies and we were told he is in Sudan,” she said.

She reiterated the security agencies’ resolve to tackle terrorism saying they can never be overwhelmed by the scourge.

“He was declared wanted. Because all security forces are working as one, the police had to do what they had to do and today the Interpol came in. So we can never be overwhelmed. We are dealing with terrorism,” she declared.

Sadiq was said to have been fingered in the bombing which took place at a busy bus park in Nyanya, Abuja on April 14 killing scores of people.

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Nigeria, others commence operations to rescue abducted Chibok schoolgirls

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by Akan Ido

Mike Omeri, the Coordinator of the National Information Centre has announced the commencement of operations to rescue the missing schoolgirls kidnapped a month ago in Chibok, Borno State.

Omeri, who is also the Director General of the National Orientation Agency however refused to give further information on the efforts being taken towards rescuing the missing girls.

Omeri who was speaking yesterday in company with information officers of some security agencies and ministries also confirmed the arrest of the alleged mastermind of the Nyanya bombing, Aminu Sadik Ogwuche is Sudan.

He said work has already begun on the extradition of the suspect who was apprehended by the Interpol.

He said, “We wish to authoritatively confirm to you the interception and subsequent arrest of one of the two suspects that were declared wanted, Aminu Sadik Ogwuche, whom we said fled to Sudan. He actually did; he fled to Sudan.

“Ogwuche had been declared wanted by the authorities in Nigeria for his involvement in the bombings in Nyanya. The efforts of Interpol, the Nigerian Police and Department of State Security Services have led to his arrest.

“At present, security authorities are working to see to his extradition to Nigeria. Once information is available on his arrival, we will let you know.”

Marilyn Ogar, the Deputy Director, Public Relations at the State Security Services, had on Tuesday explained that Ogwuche was released during his first arrest in 2011 because of pressure from his father, a retired colonel of the Nigerian army, lawyers and the human rights community.

She had said, “He was arrested in 2011 when he came into the country from the United Kingdom. That was based on information that we had that he was involved in some terrorist activities. He was with us.

“We carried out further investigation. We started having lots of queries and enquiries from his father, the lawyers, and especially the human rights activists saying we were depriving him of his human rights.

“We had to make his father take him on bail based on the fact that when we need him, he would release him to us. And of course, when he was mentioned as one of those that had masterminded the Nyanya bombings, we went straight ahead to ask the father to release him to us. And of course, the father couldn’t produce him. So, based on that, we had to work with other sister agencies and we were told he is in Sudan.

“He was declared wanted. Because all security forces are working as one, the police had to do what they had to do and today the Interpol came in. So we can never be overwhelmed. We are dealing with terrorism. Even investigation itself is quite consuming.”