NEWSDAILYNIGERIA-Pursuant to the reactions that followed the interview he granted the hausa service of the BBC yesterday, Friday 12/03/2021, the National Security Adviser to the President, Major General Babagana Munguno was compulsorily compelled to issue a statement, saying his remarks were quoted out of context.
“The attention of the Office of the National Security Adviser has been drawn to some media reports regarding Armed Forces equipment during an interview with the BBC Hausa service. We would like to State that the NSA was quoted out of context as he did not CATEGORICALLY say that funds meant for arms procurement were missing under the Former Service Chiefs as reported or transcribed by some media outlets from the BBC interview. During the interview, the National Security Adviser only reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to deal decisively with insecurity and stated President Muhammadu Buhari’s continued commitment to provide all necessary support to the Armed Forces, including the provision of arms and equipment.”
The emphasis on “categorically” is mine, and I want to use it for the purpose of exposing the inconsistency and expressed self-contradiction of the NSA, Gen.Munguno, the interviewee.
According to the dictionary, the word categorically, is an adverb, that is used to express unambiguity. The ambition of the word is to confer clarity or unequivocalness, in order for easy understanding, or proper comprehension of the issue at hand.
As a fluent hausa speaker and trained translator, who once worked with the medium that interviewed the General, I have listened to the interview and clearly understood the context of the discussion. If there is any limpidity, I make bold to say that, the lucidity must have originated from Munguno’s misunderstanding of the meaning of misinterpretation.
He said and I quote, “Ai ba jan qafa bane yake kawo wannan matsalar. Shugaban kasa yayi qoqari, ya bada kudade na fitar hankali, amma BAA SIYO KAYAN BA. Kayan basu isa ba. Saboda haka yanzu, ya kawo sababbin mutane, wata qila su zasu samu wata dabara. Kuma bance wadancan na bayan wadanda sukayi murabus sun hadiye kudaden ba, amma dai KUDIN SUN BI TA WATA HANYA DA BAN SANI BA, BA WANDA YA SANI A YANZU.”
I put the areas of ambiguity in capital letters so that Munguno can understand that indeed, he is the architect of his own misinterpretation and not the media that clearly quoted him unmistakably.
Using the characteristic sycophantic public servant’s behaviour towards leaders in order to gain advantage, Munguno tried to exonerate the President from any wrong doing, by saying the President had given money of unimaginable quantity, but became clever by half, and short himself on the foot by saying, “baa siyo kayan ba”, and “kudin sunbi ta wata hanya da ban sani ba, kuma ba wanda ya sani a yanzu.”
With those phrases, Monguno is not mincing words, in telling the BBC that funds meant for the purchase of arms for the war against the insurgency in Nigeria, which were clearly and enormously provided by the President, have been diverted, and impliedly by the former service chiefs.
Many people were very angry with Munguno, particularly those that are happy with the performance of the previous Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq, whose tenure in service they described as the best thing that ever happened to the Nigerian Air force, in terms of capacity building and equipment acquisition.
Under Sadiq they said, the Nigerian Air force sent many technicians to countries like Pakistan and South Africa for critical aeronautical maintenance courses. Many of the planes in the Air Force fleet that were previously serviced abroad annually at great expenses to the government are now being serviced in Nigeria because of the visionary leadership of the former chief of Air Staff.
This has come with a great reduction in cost, because, apart from the country saving money from going overseas for maintenance, the Air Force also increases its battle readiness and efficacy, by having well trained and competent mechanics on standby at home.
Some people also observed that, Monguno’s allegations have brought to the fore, the evidence of crisis of confidence, internal rivalries or conflicting agendas amongst the members of the national security team.
References are being made to the wranglings between the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari and Monguno, and conclusions are drawn to suggest that, the NSA did not have a good working relationship with the former Service Chiefs.
In saner and pragmatic societies, where integrity go hand in hand with honesty and perceived moral principles, Gen. Munguno ought to have handed in his resignation long before the Presidency came out with that rapid reproach yesterday.
Through the SSA to the President on media, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency yesterday, said funds can’t get missing under the Buhari government, and that the NSA was misquoted.
But the question begging for answer is, misquoted by who?
I think Mallam Garba is only being modest, by refusing to tell Munguno that, he is the one misunderstanding the meaning of misinterpretation.
-Bala Ibrahim is a renowned Journalist and public affairs commentator