The bombing of the United Nations’ building in Abuja in August, 2011 was an avoidable incident, yet it happened either due to connivance between former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringin with operatives of Boko Haram or reluctance to act on intelligence from a Niger-based private investigator. In this interview, the concerned private investigator who took part in the planning told Nigeria Today Editors that he was in Nigeria on several occasion to report the incident but he was frustrated by the former IGP. Excerpts:
What brought you to Nigeria in 2011?
I had prior knowledge of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.
How do you mean?
Look, it is sad that we should be talking about this issue. Your country was properly notified about the bombing. But what did you people do? Bombing in your country is of two categories. You have the major and the minor. The major ones like the UN building, the police headquarters, the military formations attacks and other similar ones. You also have the minor ones, like killing of innocent people on the streets. You see, the major ones have influential sponsors, contractors middlemen and the errand boys. So, the UN bombing was a major one and alot of people participated in the chain. The job was given out as a contract, with a lot of money paid. So, several meetings took place within and outside the country. You see, those behind terrorism in your country were always thinking ahead of your security agencies. So, what they did was to have the errand boys in the northern part while a whole lot of thinking was taking place in the other part of the country and outside. It was a tactics to divert attention. So, the planning of the UN bombing took place in your South West, while some of the meeting took place in my country and Lagos in your country.
How were you involved?
You see, there is this weary powerful herbalist in my country in whose house some of the meetings took place. Before then I got to know him when I effected the arrest of some powerful armed robbers in my country who were terrorising your country, that herbalist has clients across the entire world. People come all the way from the United States, France and all that. So, he was contracted by the major bombers to assist to prepare a voodoo that would be used by the suicide bomber and also one to be placed in the suicide vehicle, so that even when you see it, you will just be looking at it without making effort to stop it. And if you look at the UN bombing that was exactly what happened. It was this herbalist friend that brought me into the picture. He told them that I was efficient in things like that and I was recruited into the plan right in my country. From there I started monitoring events. Shortly after that I held two meetings, with them in my country which gave me the brief picture of their system of operation. Alot of those bombings you witnessed in the northern part of your country, it will interest you to know that alot of the planning were done outside the area. It was strategy to deceive your security network, and that was the situation in your country. You focused your searchlight on one part while greater damage, planning, tactical moves, logistics and so on where taking place in the other. Very powerful people were involved in the bombings in your country with a lot of money. Bombing in your country is a huge network.
The major aspect of the UN bombing was given out as contract. So, alot of the planning took place in my country and Lagos. They had understudied the entire UN building structure, the security, put in place. Alot of intelligence work. So these ones were communicating with major sponsors, terrorist commanders, foot soldiers on how and what to be done. I had three meetings with them in my country and three with them in Lagos. My assignments were that of surveillance for the bombers and provide cover. That I was doing but for a specific purpose, unknown to them though, otherwise they would have assassinated me. I knew the rule of the game, I was very careful. I ensured they had the trust in me. That was important, and that was why I engaged in all the meetings I was invited even in your country which was very dangerous for me.
The first meeting in Nigeria
It took place in a very secured environment in an upscale elite neighbourhood. Not much was discussed other than them, asking if I was sincere to work with them. It was at the first meeting that I got to know that they had a very big security wall around me. People were calling from different locations to find out whether I was there or have changed location.
When were you convinced about their intention?
The opening up started at the second meeting in my country where I got to know that the bombing was imminent for a very big place of international standing in Abuja. Even at that, they did not mention the exact building. By then, they had concluded plans, motivated the boys elected to carry out the attack. You people call them Boko Haram, but I tell you, what happened was far beyond what you know or were being told. So, at the second meeting in my country, what took place then was to know the exact time to strike, which also went through traditional divination. Look, there are so many details, I will not reveal on the pages of newspaper. This is about the security situation of countries. It is not about Nigeria alone, it is about Africa, the world. You see, what is happening affects everybody whether directly or indirectly.
At this stage, I told you, some of the things I won’t discuss with you. But with the details at my disposal, particularly with the conviction that the target was a prominent place in Abuja, your seat of power, I felt it was time to inform your government. That was my next move. Doing that, also needed tact. I needed to weigh my options so that I don’t play a set up or expose myself to the bombers because we were then engaged in full scale communication, some in coded language as they preferred. They had bought me a new sim card, I felt I should not act too fast because that could be dangerous for me. So, I needed somebody to be talking directly to your government.
Who was that?
Somebody I could trust. I eventually, called a friend in Abuja who has been quietly assisting your country, particularly in the area of security for so many years without even his family members knowing. We agreed to meet at a very strategic point in the border area to avoid prying eyes. I warned him, to change his mode of dressing and change commercial vehicles because I know the kind of people involved. I also changed my mode of dressing and disguised. The meeting was very brief and I implored him to do so something immediately to inform the government. We agreed to purchase new sim cards, get new names and speak in coded language. The briefing and de-briefing commenced between me and the Nigerian on the agreed terms because of our safety. So, that night around 1 AM, he told me that he had called the then Inspector general of Police Hafiz Ringin, severally and that when the man eventually picked the call, he merely directed him to call another officer, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of investigations , one Mr. Dawodu, now late. The following day he told me he was able to speak with the DIG and that the DIG called him trice before the dawn asking to be furnished with other details. So, on the third day, I was able to talk to the DIG on phone at a location. The DIG was a fantastic officer who was ready to work for this country but the problem was the IGP then, who starved him of all the logistics needed, including the small money needed to mobilise his team for the task. As information was coming from the bombers, it was also being passed to your police at thesame time. But what did your people do? Instead you ended up betraying me and exposed me to danger with members of my family. Information started getting to your government concerning the UN bombing about three weeks before the attack, because your police is also your government. I was communicating about the bombers up till the third day to the attack when the bombers advance team left Lagos by air for Abuja to monitor events in preparation for the blast. All this was passed on to your government.
Frustration started setting in
Yes, and its painful. Your police stated foot dragging, dilly dallying. Well, don’t let me say your police, let me be specific, the IG, because at a point, I started feeling some frustration in the way the late DIG was talking. It was as if some people somewhere don’t want any action, particularly his boss. The man would not talk until eventually he said on phone that logistics were not provided and no vehicle attached for the assignment and that as a DIG with an uncooperative boss, there was little he could do. He lamented that a budget of about N500,000 was needed to nip the operation in the bud, and that was said not to be available as I was told the police had no money. When he was telling me on phone, I knew he was facing some challenges and I believed him because prior to this Boko Haram/ UN bombing, I had been invited to your police headquarters, Abuja, with the aim of assisting them to curb general crime. I had put up a plan for the arrest of about 3,500 stolen vehicles from Nigeria and the mopping up of arms and ammunition mystery which enter Nigeria through my country and three other nations. I had to leave Abuja unceremoniously after two weeks when the IGP was busy blaming the President and the government for failing to release money and vehicle to the police. The DIG had acted based on the IG’s directive, set up a crack team for this assignment but we kept on reporting at the Force Headquarter, every morning without any logistics or vehicle provided. I left without telling anybody including this Nigerian with whom I went and who paid the bill for transportation, feeding, accommodation and other expenses without anything from the police.
So, when the DIG was talking about his frustration concerning the IG’s attitude, I knew what he was talking about because I was a victim. Everything concerning the UN building bombing except the exact day, I was privy to and your police was properly briefed. Even, when the advanced party left for Abuja, early Wednesday, August 24, 2011. This was also communicated to the police in Nigeria. So, with all these, i felt that I had done all I needed to do to assist your country. However, in the evening of that same Wednesday, myself and the other Nigerians decided to take a step further by making effort to get someone from your President. My Nigerian friend told him, he needed to see him urgently. The gentle man said we should be in Abuja the following day, Thursday, with the instruction that as soon as we arrive the Abuja airport, we should call in on phone. We did exactly as instructed. We were asked to check into a hotel till the following day. On Friday, morning, myself and the Nigerian friend were on bed in our hotel room waiting for the call. Suddenly there was a news flash on the television indicating that there was a major bomb blast at the UN headquarters, Abuja with badly injured victims being moved out. I was devastated. What was on my mind was about a country toying with its security…. Finally we made efforts to see the President but at the last stage, somebody somewhere would abort it. I left Abuja when a permanent secretary who happens to be a very close friend to the President told us point blank that we were dinning with the Devil and we might be assassinated.
Culled from Nigerian Today, September 8th, 2013.