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COLUMNIST

The fifth columnists, by na-allah mohammed Zagga

One of the challenges facing our internal security is the presence of fifth columnists within our security organizations. The case of Wadume, the kidnapping kingpin in Taraba State, is a stark example of the dangers of fifth columnists within our security organizations.

An army captain led a group of soldiers to open fire on the policemen conveying Wadume to Abuja. Three policemen died in the August 3, 2019 attack; the army captain took the kidnapper to his house to remove his handcuffs and illegally set a criminal free.

At first, the army attempted damage control by claiming it was a case of mistaken identity. Within hours evidence emerged that the army captain was actually on the payroll of the kidnapping kingpin.

An embarrassed Nigerian army was eventually forced to eat its own words and own up to the involvement of of its soldiers in the illegal attack on the policemen who were carrying out lawful duties.

Tanker commander Col. Abu Ali was also allegedly betrayed when he was ambushed by Boko Haram terrorists and killed. Despite the army policy of seizing the mobile phones of soldiers before any planned operation, it didn’t completely eliminate the existence of fifth columnists in the country’s security system.

The police, like other security organizations, have their own share of bad apples. We have had stories of policemen who hire their guns to armed robbers. The situation was so notorious that at one point the police authorities barred off-duty policemen from carrying their weapons home. But of course, the policy didn’t completely eliminate the presence of fifth columnists in our security organizations.

The worst treason is for a man in uniform who is paid to protect the people to betray public trust and work for criminals. A soldier or policeman who works for criminals endangers not only his own colleagues, but also jeopardises national security. It’s high time the federal government paid serious attention to the dangers of fifth columnists in our security organizations.

It’s unfortunate that the trial of the soldiers involved in the Wadume scandal is still proceeding sluggishly before the courts. Criminal collaborators in our security organizations should be fished out and punished with such severity and speed that it will send a strong message to enemies of the state desist or face dire consequences.

Image caption: L: Capt. Tijjani Balarabe and R: Hamisu Bala(a.k.a. Wadume).

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