About Security Breach & Coup Scare

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About "Security Breach" and "Coup Scare"

 

By

 

Nowa Omoigui

nowa_o@yahoo.com

The terms "security breach" and "coup scare" have become topical in recent weeks. Normally I do not muse about current or very recent events but the webmaster has asked that I put things in perspective for readers. Therefore, I shall reflect on these issues and muse over some of the more curious elements in the story as it broke, including contradictions in news accounts and implications for civil-military relations. As a rule I shall stick to publicly available information.

What exactly is a "security breach"?

According to an information security glossary, "A breach of security is where a stated organisational policy or legal requirement regarding Information Security, has been contravened." [http://www.yourwindow.to/information-security/gl_securitybreach.htm]

The same principle applies to other forms of security. If, for example, a stated organisational policy or legal requirement regarding physical security has been contravened then a breach of security has occurred.

The information security glossary goes further to say that "Every Security Breach will always be initiated via a Security Incident, only if confirmed does it become a security breach."

What then is a "security incident"?

"A security incident is an alert to the possibility that a breach of security may be taking, or may have taken, place." Indeed, "every incident which suggests that the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information has been inappropriately changed, can be considered a Security Incident." The reason why these elements are critical is because the loss of any one of them can directly threaten the existence of any private or public entity. Confidentiality basically implies an "assurance that information is shared only among authorised persons or organisations." Organisations go to great lengths to classify information so as to define the appropriate level of confidentiality. Integrity refers to the sense of "assurance that the information is authentic and complete" and that the information is accurate and reliable enough for the purposes for which it is meant. Availability, on the other hand, describes the "assurance that the systems responsible for delivering, storing and processing information are accessible when needed, by those who need them."

A few recent examples of such incidents and breaches will help place the terms in perspective. Most will recall that in November 2003, just before US President Bush was to visit the UK, Ryan Parry, an undercover reporter working for the Daily Mirror voluntarily revealed that he had worked for two months at the Buckingham Palace as a footman. He had gained unrestricted physical access and employment after using a false reference in his application. The revelation, which proved to be a serious embarassment, and could have resulted in disastrous consequences had it not been a prank, led to a security review by the UK Security Commission.

There have been numerous other incidents and breaches, including internet based attacks of large information systems, at US government (e.g. Pentagon), US Universities (e.g. University of Texas at Austin) and US Airports (e.g. Oakland International Airport). A few weeks ago it was reported that 22 persons illegally obtaining security badges at Port Canaveral, a massive Port which hosts many cruise ships and millions of passengers.

Some of the more sensational incidents and breaches have occurred at the United Nations and the European Union. Many will recall the public revelation of bugs planted on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's phone lines, by, presumably, British and American intelligence. The European Union has also recently revealed that bugs were found on phone lines of France, Germany, Spain, Britain and Austria at the EU's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

In Nigeria, we have a long history of security incidents and breaches, only that they do not often get called by those names. I am sure many will recall the frequent incidents of examination paper leakages which actually go by many local "fond" names. Behind every leakage, however, is a security incident and a serious breach of security. Similarly, Nigeria's long history of electoral malpractices is laced with many excellent examples of security breaches.

Anyhow let us come to the matter at hand.

"Coup Scare"

The term "coup scare" is very familiar to Nigerians. Rumors of real and imagined coups and counter-coups have pervaded national life for decades. They usually occur in "epidemics" usually during or just after some national incident which exposes acute, chronic or acute-on-chronic fissures and frustrations within the military, between the military and political class or in the polity as a whole. Security experts prefer the phrase "coup indicators." We have also been treated to few examples in foreign countries lately, including the Equatorial Guinea mercenary saga.

Beginning with an April 1st Vanguard story headlined "FG tackles coup scare in barracks ", - which some observers initially considered an "April Fool's joke" - the stage was quickly set for what has now become a fixation about an alleged military coup-in-utero. The newspaper said "Ten months into the second term of Obasanjoís Presidency, the military authorities are battling frantically to contain a coup scare threatening the democratic rule and espirit de corps in the Armed Forces. As at the last count, not less than 22 officers are said to have been interrogated and the net has been cast wide for more suspects." It went on to say, "Vanguard sources hinted that the masterminds of the unlawful intent to disrupt the democratic rule had been recruiting officers along religious, ethnic and geo-political lines with intent to incite men under arms against the state." Needless to say, this unfortunate comment - which the article could have done without - came across as if the alleged 'plot' had geopolitical and religious fault lines. In a country with a track record for conspiracy theories and easy incitement, red flags immediately went up and the discourse was poisoned from then on with a regional-ethnic-religious undercurrent.

But the Vanguard story did not stop there. It went on to outline a catalogue of "democratic era woes" as the backdrop to the alleged "plot": According to the newspaper, "The suspects, from the rank of Majors and above, were
alleged to have also been playing up the unresolved issues of the last election, killings, assassinations and general insecurity, corruption, non-payment of arrears of salaries and allowances and general political disaffection as basis for the recruitment to insurrection. Vanguard also gathered that the movement of Major Al-Mustapha from Kirikiri
Prisons by the Directorate of Military Intelligence yesterday may not be unconnected with the information gathered from people who have been questioned with regard to the coup scare."....."Vanguard gathered that the military authorities are trying hard to manage the damage the coup scare might have been causing among the officers and men of the Armed Forces. Consequently, the Federal Government has commenced immediate payment of all arrears of salaries and wages of military men with steady releases by the Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala, to that effect."

Deep into my daily routine of scowering the international media for security and defence related information for my archive, I was still trying to assimilate the incredible and highly embarassing revelation (if true) that it took a "coup scare" to prompt "immediate payment of all arrears of salaries and wages of military men" when I stumbled across a related story in the same newspaper. In an account titled "Police avert jailbreak as Kirikiri inmates protest Al-Mustapha's transfer" the Vanguard reported contradictory accounts, saying,

"A source told Vanguard on account of anonymity that, the armed policemen stormed the prison at about 6p.m. on Tuesday to effect the arrest of Mustapha, but other inmates foiled the move, following which the policemen went away to re-group. They returned at 10p.m. fully armed and even arrested a top official of the prison who were taken away hand-cuffed. Vanguard learnt that there were sporadic gun shots by the policemen who took the prison official to his residence, very close to the prison, which was searched also. But, according to another account, the DMI operatives arrived the maximum prisons at about 11.30 p.m. following a directive from Abuja to transfer Al-Mustapha to DMI. It was gathered that in the process, some armed robbery suspect inmates reportedly forced their way out and attacked the prisonís staff who went to hand Al-Mustapha to the DMI operatives. Other inmates were said to have joined in the scuffle with a view to preventing the DMI men from taking Al-Mustapha. Some prisons staff were reportedly held hostage in the process. It, however, took the intervention of a large number of patrol team which comprised MOPOL and conventional policemen to quell the situation. The team said to have been led by the Area Commander, BRAVO MOPOL, Mr. L.F Salami, shot sporadically into the air to scare away the inmates."

On that same day, another newspaper (Guardian) provided "details" about what the Vanguard described as "the movement of Major Al-Mustapha from Kirikiri Prisons by the Directorate of Military Intelligence yesterday ...." The newspaper said, inter alia, that "Hamza Al-Mustapha..........was forcefully removed from detention at Kiririki Maximum Prisons, Lagos in a dawn operation by security men Wednesday." However, (and this is important), the report specifically said "the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) has denied that Mustapha was abducted." In other words, a reasonable reader can conclude that there may have been trouble in expropriating the Major from one form of custody in the state apparatus to another but he certainly was not "abducted."

Indeed, the Abuja based Comptroller General (CGP) of the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), Abraham Akpe, publicly revealed that he had received a formal "request" a week earlier, dated March 25, from the National Security Adviser (Lt. Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd)) asking the NPS to release Mustapha to the Apapa based Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) in Lagos. The DMI apparently wanted to question the Major about ''matters of national security." The CGP then directed that the request be honored by NPS officials based in Lagos State where the KiriKiri Prison is located.


It seems logical to infer that what happened next was that Major Mustapha - who, among others, is standing trial for the February 1996 attempted murder of Guardian publisher Mr Alex Ibru - was alerted to the request from Abuja by local NPS officials at KiriKiri and opted to fight it in open court. I am left with no other interpretation because Mr. Olalekan Ojo, counsel to the Major, was reported to have "brought an application of interlocutory summons asking the court to issue an order restraining the comptroller of prisons, Lagos State Command, from giving effect to the directive of DMI to release Mustapha to the directorate." Note also the subtle twist of language. What began as a "request" from the NSA to the CGP, was now being described as a "directive" from the DMI. In court documents, the counsel was reported to have asked that "the directive by DMI to the controller of prisons to release him be declared illegal, invalid and ineffectual, and an order restraining DMI from removing or directing his removal from Kirikiri except by order of the court."

In response, the current presiding judge of the Ibru case, ostensibly "ordered" that "all parties", namely the DMI, State Security Service (SSS), Police, and Comptroller of prisons, be put on notice and is said to have fixed Wednesday March 31st for arguments. In the meantime, however, he did not issue a specific temporary injunction restricting Mustapha to KiriKiri - a loophole the Director of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, Colonel Ganiyu Adewale, would later point out.

Early on that appointed morning for arguments, however, according to one Frank Ezekweche, of J.B. Dawodu Chambers, (also a counsel to Mustapha) "armed uniformed operatives invaded Kirikiri ......at about 12:00 a.m. and kidnapped Mustapha." Ezekweche reportedly also told the court that there were about 200 ""armed uniformed operatives" involved. He also alleged that they "shot sporadically into the air" and that "some of the inmates and the prison officers attempted to prevent them from taking him away."

Another newspaper, Daily Trust, on the same day, apparently relying on information obtained in the "court premises" from Mr James Danbaba, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police who is currently an inmate of the Prison and fellow defendant, went further to specify that the Major "was whisked away from the prison to an unknown destination by operatives of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI)." Indeed, the newspaper went further to claim, (citing Danbaba) that "the security agencies that stormed the prison between two and three in the morning were made up of the navy, the DMI, the department of State Security Services (SSS) and the police all numbering about 200 men in 20 vehicles." To all of this was added the juicy detail that Mr Ibe Logher, deputy comptroller of Kirikiri prison, was arrested and his house searched. Putting two and two together, it appears then that Mr. Logher was among the "prison officers" Mr. Ezekweche was referring to that attempted to prevent the "armed uniformed operatives" from taking Mustapha away - against the directives of his bosses within the NPS.

What Ezekweche described as an attempt to 'prevent' Mustapha's transfer was characterized by the Trust as "a riot" during which "many inmates were said to have been seriously wounded." All available accounts agree that there was "sporadic shooting." The Trust additionally reported that urgent medical assistance was requested for the wounded and that some lives may have been lost. It went on to say that "Frank Ezekueche......narrated how the DMI men invaded the prison" further cementing what became a widely held but patently false public perception that soldiers, on orders from the DMI, invaded the Prison to "abduct" the Major.

The story gained even more sensation when a public statement issued by the family of the Major - and cited by the Trust - claimed that, "Information reaching us indicated that the gunmen arrived the prison at 11:00 pm yesterday (Tuesday) and attempted to abduct him. But they met stiff resistance from inmates and prison guards which resulted in a shootout which lasted up till 3 am when they eventually succeeded in gaining access to his cell, and shot him in the leg. Only Allah knows how many got killed or wounded in this process of abducting my brother....." The background was further laid for a perception that the Major was a victim of a complex conspiracy when Alhaji Hadi Al-Mustapha, the family spokesperson, was quoted as saying that the family had received information to the effect that the Major and his family were to be eliminated via a cooked-up coup charge "in order to divert national and international attention from his unending detention and eventually isolate him from his fellow political detainees, and later have him killed either by poison or physical elimination." All of this was amplified by a report that the President of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) had alleged that there was a move to transfer Al-Mustapha and other defendants, to Ilorin, in Kwara state outside the jurisdiction of the Lagos High Court and far away from the location (in Lagos) of the alleged crime.

These were not the only newspapers to report on matters related to the issue at hand. With such insinuations inserted into the public consciousness, the next day, April 2nd, This Day newspapers reported in an account titled "Why Al-Mustapha Was Moved, By Prisons Service" that the Nigerian Prisons Service statement issued late on April 1st in response to early news accounts said that "Al-Mustapha was taken away from Kirikiri Maximum Prisons by operatives of the Directorate of Military Intelligence for interrogation over a matter it did not disclose." Interestingly, the NPS was at pains to explain that Mustapha is still in the "custody of the Nigeria Prisons Service" even though "taken away to where he is being interviewed by the DMI" because of his status as an active duty soldier. As was the case with other many other newspaper reporters, the This Day reporters concerned did not question how the prisoner could be in the custody of the NPS and at the same time be "taken away from Kirikiri Maximum Prisons by operatives of the Directorate of Military Intelligence." In fact what really happened - as we shall see later - was that the Major Mustapha was physically moved out of KiriKiri by NPS officers, transported in an NPS vehicle, and then delivered to the DMI. No soldiers were involved.

A Punch account published on the same day directly quoted the NPS as saying that "Al-Mustapha was invited for interview as a serving member of the Nigerian Army.......He remains in custody of the Nigerian Prisons Service and will be returned to Kirikiri Prison or any other designated place on completion of his interview by the Directorate of Military Intelligence."

It was from the This Day account that the phrase "security breach" entered the discourse. According the newspaper,

"Al-Mustapha was alleged to have recently made a telephone call to President Olusegun Obasanjo's hotline during which he reportedly made some unguarded remarks on the state of the nation.

Obasanjo was reported to have been taken aback by the security breach particularly from a detainee being tried for murder. This development was said to have informed why the President ordered an immediate investigation into how Al-Mustapha got Obasanjo's hotlines.

Investigation carried out by security operatives was also said to have indicted the Ag. Controller of Kirikiri Prisons who was accused of relaxing the security around Al-Mustapha. Based on this fact, the controller too is said to have been invited for questioning by the DMI "and is still undergoing interrogation like Mustapha as at yesterday evening."

On the same day, The Independent newspaper, in an article titled "Al-Mustapha whisked to Abuja" also reported that "Mustapha was moved from Kirikiri by operatives of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), with the approval of the prison authorities, for questioning over "matters of national security." The story went further to reveal, curiously, that the Internal Affairs Minister was only just going to be briefed, after-the-fact, by the CGP. To confirm that there may indeed have been a problem at KiriKiri, it also quoted Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ighodalo, as saying that "A report was lodged at the Kirikiri police division that there was an attempted jail break and we quickly mobilised our men to prevent such a thing from happening...." However, Ighodalo claimed the Police was not involved in any shooting. But even Ighodalo's partial admission was denied by others. An account, on the same day, titled "Al-Mustapha has case to answer Ė Defence Hq" in the Punch quoted the CGP as saying:

"The attention of the Nigerian Prisons Service has been drawn to certain news broadcast in local and international media speculating a shoot-out and jailbreak in Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, Lagos. This is untrue. There was no shoot-out or jailbreak at the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri or any of our prisons during the period."

Also, on the same day, the Guardian, in a story titled "IG, SSS deny role in Al-Mustapha's transfer" further contradicted Ighodalo. The paper quoted Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun as saying, "We were not in any way involved. What concerns the police with that [?] We are not prison officials. No, no!, the police have no hand in that...." It also quoted the Director of the State Security Service (SSS) in Lagos, Mr. Toyin Akande, as saying that "we are not aware of the incident...the Directorate of Military Intelligence is in the best position to comment on the issue since it is a military affair." The Guardian cited unnamed "sources at the DMI" as saying that "the operation on Wednesday morning was purely a military affair and in the interest of the nation." The same story explained that "Al-Mustapha would be brought back to the prison as soon as the DMI finishes with its investigations"

The orgy of denials, partial denials, statements and counter-statements continued. The same Punch newspaper story quoted above account cited Colonel Ganiyu Adewale, Director of Defence Information, as saying that

"I am not sure that they took him (Major Mustapha) in an unusual manner. He is there to answer questions concerning the military aspect of his offence. He is still under investigation; he is still being investigated. It is an ongoing process. If he was arrested by the military at all, he is to face military investigation for his involvement in the offence for which he is in court. (Italics mine) It is a normal process."

The Director of Defence Information went on to say, concievably in response to the Vanguard "coup scare" headline mentioned earlier,

"I am confirming to you that as far as Iím concerned, Iím not aware of any coup attempt. Iím not aware of any officer that has been arrested for coup attempt. No officer was taken to any prison. I donít know where those who published it got their information. As far as Iím concerned at the Directorate of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, Iím not aware of any coup scare. It is not true."

But later, on the same Friday, April 2nd, the BBC, in an article titled "Nigeria probes 'security breach' " quoted Presidential spokeswoman Remi Oyo as saying that a "considerable" number of Nigerian military officers - including Major Hamza al-Mustapha - had been arrested following "serious breaches of security......". In the second paragraph of the story, the BBC claimed that she said the investigation followed "rumours of a coup plot". But the same BBC story then went on to say that "She told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that she could not reveal the nature of the alleged offences. "I am not at liberty to say what kind of allegations they are, we will leave that to the intelligence community which I do not belong to but what is important to say [is] that they are being investigated alongside civilian collaborators...." Further complicating the public's understanding of what actually transpired at KiriKiri, the BBC said "Mr al-Mustapha was seized from prison by police earlier this week and handed to military intelligence."

But the BBC did make the astute observation that "there is still no indication of who might have been conspiring against President Obasanjo or why." Like the Vanguard story of April 1, it also reflected on some potential faultlines in the polity, by stating, "....there is a sense of unease in Nigeria. The president has not been able to stop a series of ethnic clashes in various parts of the country, or the vicious political infighting within his own party. And despite high oil prices, daily life is still difficult for Nigerians, including soldiers, who have been complaining about delays in receiving their pay."

For its part, the Agence France Presse (AFP), in a report titled "Nigeria probes military officers amid coup warnings" quoted Ms. Oyo as saying, ""It's true that the intelligence community -- national and military security agencies -- are investigating what looks like a serious breach of security on the part of some military officers and apparent civilian collaborators...." An Army Captain told the AFP reporter in Kano that "It's true that arrests have been made in military circles of officers accused of attempting to subvert the government, but military intelligence is keeping the issue very confidential....We don't know what this is leading to..." Separately, an unnamed Army General revealed that "most of those questioned were disgruntled elements without current commands and, while being potential troublemakers, were no threat to the government." Citing unconfirmed reports, the AFP also claimed, unguardedly in my view, that "Some reports said that most of the officers under investigation are from the Hausa people, one of the three largest linguistic groups and the dominant culture in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north."   In closing, the AFP report also said President Obasanjo "was re-elected in April last year, in a poll which both Nigerian and international monitors said was marred by widespread ballot-rigging."

Meanwhile, the SSS issued a public statement from Kano saying (according to Vanguard),

"We are aware of the press statement issued by Hadi Mustapha that Hamza Al-Mustapha (Major), was abducted and shot in the leg in the early hours of 31st March, at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos. "We want to state categorically that there is no iota of truth to the effect that Al-Mustapha was abducted and shot in the leg in the early hours of 31st March, 2004, at Kirikiri Maximum Prison and moved to an unknown destination."

"For the avoidance of doubts, Al-Mustapha is presently with the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI). He was specially conveyed by the prison officials in their vehicle for clarification of some security matters. It is, therefore, not true that he was abducted and shot, as it is being circulated."

On the same Friday, from Abuja came reports that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, met with Defence correspondents. He was quoted (by the Saturday Punch) as saying, among other things,

".....I have heard things about national security. The fact is that I have not been in Abuja. I just came to Abuja this afternoon.....National security is so important that I will not want to speculate about rumours........I will only talk of what I am 100 per cent sure of, with details and facts.......I do not believe that any civilised person in Nigeria today will go to abduct anybody, I do not also believe that any organisation will do that. But if the army I am commanding has become uncivilised, I will be shocked. Though I have been out of Abuja, I believe that if the Army has been involved in anything like that, I would have known. If the Presidency has made a statement then, why are you asking me again? I am telling you with all sincerity that because I am not 100 per cent sure about some of the things I have read in the newspapers, I will crosscheck with the military source, from DMI and from my officers. When I ascertain that they are true, then I will talk. But I will not just talk because I love to talk.........."I will hate to allow rumour to spread and it will be most dangerous if I will be the one spreading the rumour........."That is what some of you are encouraging me to do, to spread rumours. I have to be absolutely sure before telling you. Please, donít be disappointed because I want us to deal with facts and each time we meet with you, I will want to speak on facts......"Iím not aware of what you are saying that an Army officer has been detained. I am not aware. So, let me check the facts from my principal staff officers, DMI, the Provost Marshall, the Chief of Training, Chief of Policy, all the others, let me check the facts. I will come out. I am sure if I donít, our spokesman will speak...."But if the Presidency has made a statement, that saves all of us the trouble. Go and get the facts from there." ....."We will continue to do business with facts and sincerity but the way we publish news frightens me. We write so much speculation. Let me say this, I will not, I repeat, I will not deceive any of you. I will not lie, I will not speculate. I arrived too late today (yesterday), to get the facts for you."

At the same time, Ms. Oyo, speaking to State House correspondents further emphasized that, "I do not know of any coup anywhere. What happened was that there was a breach of security by some military personnel and civilians, and the matter is being investigated."

Nevertheless, inside sources continued to leak snippets of information to the Press. The Sunday Punch reported on Sunday, April 4th in an interesting report titled, "FG hunts Al-Mustaphaís spies ... in Aso Rock ē ĎSecurity breachí explained" that "the on-going interrogation of the detained Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Late Gen. Sani Abacha, Major Hamzat Al-Mustapha and 27 others followed security tips that he might have penetrated the Presidential Villa and that some moles within the seat of power were collaborating with him." It observed that "the presidency considered it as the "highest level of security insubordination" for Al-Mustapha to have got the hotline of President Olusegun Obasanjo.... the "audacity of Al-Mustapha" caused a security upset for the presidential Villa." It also quoted an unamed source as saying "The essence of investigating the security breaches is not to take anything for granted. You will remember that ex-President J.J. Rawlings was in prison when he staged a coup díetat in Ghana." Going further, an insider apparently claimed that "the presidency limited investigations to security breaches, (instead of coup) because of certain security signals or indices that neither Al-Mustapha nor Lt. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi could command loyalty for a successful coup.......Another reason why Al-Mustapha or even General Bamaiyi cannot succeed is that, most of the present General Officers Commanding (GOCs) were allegedly maltreated during the Abacha era, by Al-Mustapha and for that reason alone, it is not within the realm of possibility. Another "source" was quoted as saying that "Moreover, Nigeria is not a Banana Republic, it is therefore absolutely impossible for an Army Major, that has been incarcerated for up to four years to mobilise support and loyalty to plan a coup, I repeat, it is impossible." Nevertheless, in a tantalizing oblique reference to the possibility of an internationalization of the inquiry, the report claims that "the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) may employ the services of other security agencies to track down suspected collaborators with Al-Mustapha, although these agencies have not been contacted."

The Sunday Punch also claimed that measures were adopted earlier this year to nip in the bud what was thought to be "an emergence of disloyalty among some elements in the military". It said, "Though no arrest was made, (sic) a massive redeployment was carried out, apparently to disorganise what ever plans that might have been afoot." It went on to reveal that "an innocuous remark by an Army Major to three retired Generals at a wedding ceremony in Jos sometime ago resulted in the belief that some elements in the military were disloyal to the present administration. When the DMI was confronted with this information, it claimed that there was nothing in its records to indicate such a stress. It was learnt that the Director of the DMI was again summoned to Abuja early last month, over the pervasive atmosphere and rumours of disloyalty in the military, and he was said to have assured the Presidency that, there was no cause for alarm."

Meanwhile, This Day Sunday reported that investigations had been extended to "detained advance fee fraud ('419') suspects and bank chiefs." Some '419' characters happen to be current detainees at the Kirikiri maximum security prisons and are alleged to have led the efforts of fellow prisoners at KiriKiri to resist Mustapha's transfer to the DMI. Bank chiefs reportedly have come under focus because of certain alleged financial transactions by Mustapha. The account quoted a source as saying,

"I also understand that the military intelligence officers are looking at the banks where withdrawals were effected. They also want to know those details to get their facts correctly and the heads of those banks may be invited to answer a few questions. That is normal in the military once there is alleged plot to undermine the government of the day. They look at all clues."

As might be expected, various military personalities have gone public with pledges to the democratic order. Examples include the Chief of Training and Operations at the Defence Headquarters, Major-General Samuel Adejumo, (Daily Champion, April 5), and Brigade of Guards Commander, Brigadier-General Julius Oshanupin (Daily Trust, April 5), among others. A joint statement from the quarterly Chief of Army Staff conference said the same thing. (This Day April 6) Curiously, the Defence Minister, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was listed in a Guardian newspaper story among federal ministers slated to be dropped or redeployed - but there has been no word from the government on this matter. Clearly, this may not be the time to reshuffle a cabinet and send unintended signals to various constituencies. Meanwhile, in a cryptic comment, the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Rowland Oritsejafor told the Vanguard (April 6) that the federal government "would not allow anybody to use the military to fulfill their own personal interest."

 

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