Might the DSS have invited Dr Obadiah Mailafia for claiming that a governor of one of the northern states is a Boko Haram commander? A message to this effect is trending in the social media claiming that the DSS has invited Dr Mailafia for midday August 12th, 2020 in their Jos Headquarters.
Dr. Mailafia, a former deputy-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) is an Oxford trained Economist. He contested the March 2019 presidential election on the platform of the now de-registered African Democratic Congress, (ADC).
Dr Mailafia had said on Monday on the network of Nigeria Info, a local radio that there is no distinction between bandits and terrorists and that the Nigerian State is in cahoots with terrorists and bandits. He also said the current security mess which he called nonsense could never have been the case under the late General Sani Abacha.
The DSS has of late been issuing warnings left, right and centre, claiming that some people are plotting to cause dislocation. It was particularly angry that someone gave an approving position of the ‘Rawlings Treatment’ for Nigeria, a reference to former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings shooting three former Ghanaian leaders after taking power through a coup in the ‘June 4th Revolution’.
Subversion may never be ruled out although what observers have found strange about the DSS analysis is that neither the ‘Rawlings Treatment’ nor Dr. Obadiah’s claim about a governor being a Boko Haram commander is new. They are the sort of things heard all over Nigeria and stated very openly in drinking and similar spaces across the country although the one about governor and Boko Haram keeps changing. Names that were mentioned in 2011 are no more the names mentioned in 2016. In several interviews in late 2016, even Kashim Shettima, the immediate past governor of Borno State alluded to that by saying that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who was president from 2010 to 2015 thought he, (the then governor) arranged the abduction of over 200 Chibok girls. It was so common place in its varied forms and it is not clear if Dr. Obadiah was saying something different.
The author of the social media message claims Dr. Mailafia called to tell him of the invitation but did not leave his own contact. At a time when all manner of messages are circulating, no one can guarantee the truthfulness of any claims. In this case though, a different source told Intervention it is true Dr. Mailafia has been invited by the secret service. Coming a few days after his sensational interview too, Dr Mailafia’s invitation is typical even as no one can guess what cultural identity groups may make of the ‘invitation’ in an atmosphere of heightened ethno-regional interpretation of every move.
The DSS has, of late, been at street wars with civil society protesters across a number of Nigerian cities which might hint a turn in emphasis. Vice-President Osinbajo once hinted in a Reaganite language of unleashing the DSS. He never did. Might this be that moment of clamp down by a different temperament in the government?