Mike Ejiofor is a former Director of the State Security Service (SSS). In an interview with SUNRISE DAILY CREW on Channels Television recently, the security expert said the federal government needs to think in terms of technology to curtail the spate of kidnappings on Nigeria’s highways. Excerpts
Can you take us through your experience in the hands of kidnappers and why it took you that long to let Nigerians know that some uniform men were involved in your ordeal?
xWell, in the intelligence practice there is what is called classification.
At the strategic level I took it up when I came out hoping that things will change but it has turned out that things are getting worse and nobody is safe anymore. So, I decided to alert Nigerians that we have a very serious case at hand when nobody is safe anymore; top military personnel, religious and community leaders, politicians, everybody, no one is safe. And you begin to ask yourself despite efforts of government, this thing is still not abetting.
I can tell you that during my experience, some of the people who were involved in my kidnap were actually service personnel. From their discussions, it was God that even saved me because when they discovered who I was, my identity, it could have been more serious.
Do you think that service chiefs or the security architecture in this country, really speak truth to power from the kind of result you’ve seen? Well, everybody is talking
about security architecture; the next thing people tell you we have to change the security chiefs. They have tried their best and it’s time for them to go.
I think, if you look at the Inspector-General of Police, for instance, he is new. I think he has a plan, he has a focus, he is operational, and anywhere there is a problem he goes out there to see things for himself. You take the State Security Service, for instance, the DG, SSS, the collaboration, the synergy between the IGP and the Director-General of the SSS at least should be yielding results, but where is it? Where are the tools for equipping them?
They are not there. So, that is why I insist that government should declare a state of emergency in the security sub-sector.
You are going to speak about the recruitment process, are you suggesting that we recruit more men into the police force with the present structure which some people have said cannot give us results?
The point I’m making is that the recruitment process has to be sanitised. In the SSS, for instance, I tell you before you are employed, we have what we call vetting, a whole person concept right from the day you were born to the day you apply, and there shouldn’t be a gap. But what do have now? Politicians bring known tugs from their various communities to be recruiting into the Army and Police without finding out the background who are they and you will be surprised that somebody who is serving as a political tug is now wearing police uniform, military uniform. We are arming the people against the society, that is where the police is having a problem.
Are you saying some of the security operatives we have and perhaps some that were involved in your own kidnapping are some of these people you are talking about, unvetted personnel?
Of course yes, but it’s not everything we come on air to speak on, from their discussions you can see the background.
Although they are not illiterates but they discuss something about the barracks, the disgruntlement, and the lack of welfare because I had to engage them and they revealed some of these things that if you hear some of them, you would marvel. Well, we don’t have to go further. What I am saying is that the services need to do in-house vetting to fish out the bad eggs. In fact, some of them tell you they hire their guns. How do they get their guns?
That is not just only the problem. I’m not saying that there are only service personnel, but there is collaboration, a compromise. That is the point I’m trying to make.