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Channels interview: Ex-Naval officer Olawunmi honours DIA invitation

Falana and Olawunmi
Counsel, Femi Falana and his client, Kunle Olawunmi, at the DIA Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday. Photo: Web

A former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, on Tuesday honoured an invitation by the Defence Intelligence Agency over comments he made on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme last Wednesday, The PUNCH has learnt.

Olawunmi visited the DIA headquarters in Abuja with his counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, who confirmed the visit to newsmen on Tuesday, saying, “It was a friendly chat.”

The DIA had invited the ex-Naval officer on Saturday over some comments he made on the programme last Wednesday.

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On Wednesday, August 25, Olawunmi was a guest on the breakfast show where he spoke for about an hour, sparking intense discussions and concerns offline and online.

He had described as an “aberration” the Tuesday, August 24 attack by bandits on Nigeria’s foremost military university, the Nigerian Defence Academy, where two military officers were killed and another kidnapped.

“It is an aberration; you don’t attack the Nigerian Defence Academy and get away with it,” Olawunmi lamented during the interviewe, adding that the NDA, like other military environments in the country, carelessly opens its doors to everyone on Friday for Jumat prayer, thereby giving terrorists the opportunity to profile the institution.

He had said, “In 2017, I carried out an investigation by the minister of defence that wanted me to check what was going on with the training and the security there (NDA). I remember I spent about a week in the NDA with the commandant and the staff, but something struck me: every Friday, the gate of NDA is thrown open and everybody has access to pray in the mosque.

“On Fridays, you are going to see the same thing happening across all military formations in the country… If you go to Defence Headquarters, I served at the Defence Headquarters as the Deputy Director, Defence Administration, between 2015 and 2017. Throughout my two years at the Defence Headquarters, I received visitors twice because of the strict security architecture there; but every Friday, the gate of the Defence Headquarters is thrown wide open for everybody to come in and observe Jumat.

“That is the time the terrorists have the time to profile our security environment. It has always been the case. I have served the military intelligence for the past 35 years. Our problem is religion and socio-cultural.”

Olawunmi, who described himself as a Professor of Global Security Studies, had said, “Recently, 400 people were gathered as sponsors of Boko Haram. Why is it that the Buhari government has refused to try them? Why can’t this government bring them to trial if not that they are partisan and part of the charade that is going on?

“You remember this Boko Haram issue started in 2012 and I was in the military intelligence at that time. We arrested those people. My organisation actually conducted interrogation and they (suspects) mentioned names. I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that I know that the boys that we arrested mentioned. Some of them are governors now, some of them are in the Senate, some of them are in Aso Rock.

“Why should a government decide to cause this kind of embarrassment and insecurity to the sense of what happened yesterday (Tuesday attack on NDA)?” he had queried; adding that “terrorism financiers want to turn Nigeria to a Taliban type of country.”

Olawunmi had also said he was not afraid of death because, “If you tell the truth, you die; if you don’t tell it, you die.

“Some people have the mindset to Islamise the nation and they are in government. The DSS knows them, the NIA knows them, the DIA knows them because it is the DIA that conducted the operations that arrested the (400) suspects.”

In recent times, individuals who criticised the regime and made startling disclosures in the media have been invited by the security agencies for debriefing or interrogation.

Last September, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, was invited by the DSS when he claimed that a serving northern governor was a Boko Haram leader.

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