MYSTERY OF A LIFESAVER
When Ahmed Isah was invited via an electronic communication gadget (telephone handset) by the Department of State Service (DSS), l had wondered what could have been his state of mind at that moment. I remembered, as a crime reporter with the defunct National Concord newspaper when, sometime in 1984, my brave editor, Mr. Nsikak Essien, invited me to his office and handed an invitation letter from the Nigeria Security Organisation (NSO) to their office situated at Shangisha, Lagos State, to answer questions surrounding my involvement in a row between two former Inspectors-General of Police, Aliyu Attah and Ibrahim Coomassie. The investigating officer, Senior Security Agent Dennis Amachree, had handled the approved and signed memo by the Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar (the rest is in my new book,”Diary of a Crime Journalist”).
On my arrival at the fortified premises, with a tall brick fence, giant light bulbs and CCTV cameras, the sight of the security gadgets and the thought of what could happen to me once inside sent shavers down my spine.
As a young reporter then, two security institutions you would not want to have any problem with were the NSO, now DSS, and the military.
Journalists who had bad encounters with them were left with gory tales. Unfortunately, I crossed the path of both agencies thrice, in Lagos, Makurdi and Enugu. In fact, my Enugu experience in 1985, when I was the chief correspondent of the National Concord, made an indelible and unforgettable impression about the agency and its personnel. My Enugu arrest was horrific (see my National Concord article, “Reporter in NSO Den”). I was arrested by the head of Anambra State headquarters of NSO, based in Enugu, Mr. Njemanze, through the instrumentality of the Nigeria Police, under Commissioner of Police Johnson Odu, who got me arrested for an investigative news item about plans by armed robbers to invade Anambra State that I published and was first handed to one Mr. Bawa Lawal, who was in charge of invesgitation. After interrogation, I was later handed to Njemanze, who, after another thorough and cruel interrogation, threatened me with Decree 4 detention. Thank goodness, my publisher, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, and my editor-in-chief, Mr. Duro Onabule, saved me from the dragon.
Such were my encounters with the dreaded security agency. So, for the DSS to have invited Ahmed Isah would not have raised any eyebrows, except that the reason shows complete negation of the pains and feelings of the people, who daily seek justice at the doorstep of the man they call Ordinary President.
Most security agents throng the radio station for assistance and justice over alleged unjust treatment meted out to them by their institutions.
Truly, the Ordinary President of the Masses, lsah, is generally known for fighting for the masses, including security agents. He is a dogged fighter, always up against injustice. Even the Vice President, Professsor Yemi Osinbajo, had once paid him a two-hour official visit on the live radio morning programme, “Brekete Family” and had expressed appreciation for his good works.
In fact, the office of the Vice President of Nigeria, Nigeria Police, banks and other government institutions all have liaison officers attending every morning session of the radio programme and taking public petitions emanating from the station to their offices for solution. Many cases of gross injustice concerning Nigerians at home and in diaspora had been resolved and justice obtained for the petitions by
So, it was rather unbelievable that a man who wants and dreams for a better country would be alledged to be recruiting and trying to incite retired military officers seeking for justice and reinstatement against the government.
So far, his interrogation has spanned more than two weeks, with visitations of security agents to the Human Rights Radio station, ransacking computers and carting away dozens of documents freely submitted by disengaged security personnel seeking
Meanwhile, the question on the lips of admirers, listeners and those in diaspora is whether there is more to the daily invitation than meets the eyes of ordinary Nigerians. Today, I see the DSS differently, just as many Nigerians appreciate the enormous efforts and sacrifices of these military officers.
However, time heals all wounds. Recently, both the DSS and the military reached out to me with an oilve branch of friendship and partnership. First, it was a surprise visit to my house by the DSS media director, Dr. Peter Afunanya, and later I received another official invitation to the office of the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, where we discussed several issues and snapped a photograph together.
Devastation of my homeland
Home is the geographical birthplace of every person. There is a lot of emotional attachment to that particular space everyone calls natural home. It is mostly where one’s umbilical cord is buried. So, the saying goes “Home, sweet home.” The holy book narrates how Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah, who was resident in Judaea working, when he enquired and heard about the devastation of his homeland, Jerusalem. He became distressed over the stories he received from home (Nehemiah, Chapter 1, verses 1-11). In fact, a hit song was sung by the group Boney M in a track titled “By the Rivers of Babylon” about the devastation. Today, every news that emanates from my homeland, the South East region, consisting of Abia, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Anambra states, is not only horrifying but they also sad: tales of devastation. It is either young men are killed by armed security agents, or vice versa. It is very distressful.
On the other page, the stories are gory narratives of how a pregnant woman was callously killed. More stories abound of the killing of innocent security officers, which certainly would attract repraisals, and kidnapping of uninvolved persons, obviously, for ransom. Insecurity of various dimensions is daily reported in the newspapers. Our youths have become merchants of illicit drugs, not caring about the consequences. They are themselves against the state governments and their security agencies.
They disrupt economic and political, social and even religious gatherings. Yet we condemned the devilish activities of Boko Haram and the bandits. These stories are a painful reminder of the evil past of the country. It must be reversed. Political leaders should be patriotic enough to fear God by ensuring that all hands are on deck to bring peace and stability to the region. Also, these leaders should provide sources of income by establishing industries in every local government to absorb these youthful hands in my homeland