Tukur Mamu, a staunch ally of PDP’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar who was first to establish contact with the terrorist attackers of the Kaduna-Abuja train attack and conducted negotiations for abducted citizens, has been arrested and detained by the DSS over his role during the incident which crippled operations on the rail line and was suspected to have political undertones.
Mamu was nabbed in Egypt while en route to Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj, and was promptly repatriated to Nigeria via the Kano International Airport where operatives of the DSS were waiting to take him into custody.
Explaining the rationale behind the action which has since become the subject of national headlines, the DSS said he had questions to answer over security matters in parts of the country.
This was according to a statement released by the agency’s spokesperson, Peter Ifunanya, on Wednesday night. It read in part: “This is to confirm that Mamu, as a person of interest, was intercepted by Nigeria’s foreign partners at Cairo, Egypt on 6th September, 2022 while on his way to Saudi Arabia.”
“He has since been returned to the country, today, 7th September, 2022 and taken into the Service’s custody.”
“The act followed a request by Nigeria’s Military, Law Enforcement and Intelligence Community to their foreign partners to bring back Mamu to the country to answer critical questions on ongoing investigations relating to some security matters in parts of the country.”
Coordinated attacks on national assets
The somewhat terse statement of the DSS conforms with the agency’s general restraint to keep it from divulging details of an ongoing investigation that could compromise other undercover efforts, especially on matters of national security such as the coordinated attack on key assets for political benefits.
Sources contacted by this publication revealed that Mamu’s arrest was tied to his suspicious links with the terrorists responsible for the Kaduna-Abuja train attack, especially as investigations and other key arrests revealed the motive to likely be informed by politics.
For instance, in the earliest days of the attack, when security agencies were still trying to unravel the situation’s maze with the aid of advanced security and surveillance technology similar to what obtains in other parts of the world, Tukur Mamu not only offered himself as a self-appointed mediator but had no problem establishing contact with the criminal actors deep in the forests, and engaged in what was described as a ‘friendly communication’ that investigations have revealed to be indicative of existing relationships and joint complicity in a political plot to embarrass the government.
Kidnap for show?
Mamu negotiated ransom for citizens held hostage from the attack for several weeks, during which he displayed an unparalleled understanding of the group’s activities and operations, as well as covert means of ransom recovery and storage.
His role and real intentions raised even more eyebrows given his longstanding ties with Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP, who reaped the most political benefits from the saga as the news cycle was constantly fed with visuals of hapless victims pleading for their rescue.
Although the public misunderstood the strategic media propaganda as the desperate act of a group keen on completing its criminal extortion by forcing the hand of the administration and understandably distraught relatives, the fact of the matter was that the terrorist group showed very little interest in financial reward and more in driving news narratives that undermined the administration’s success in the area of insecurity.
Investigations uncovered a pattern that showed that their videos and other propagandist materials were timed for release at periods when the military announced gains in the fight against insurgency, serving as a counterweight to the positive development and sapping public joy through a distortion of the true state of security in the country.
“How can you say you are winning the war against insecurity when some citizens remain hostage” – was the sentiment they hoped to fuel, with the complicity of some unaware and uncritical media establishments.
Mamu was said to have played a key role in this, drawing out negotiations and oftentimes leading the government side on a wild goose chase that produced no result. His ties to Atiku, the oppositional figure whose stock rises each time the government gets a hit over insecurity, provide the clearest indication as to why he may have been motivated to do so.
Additionally, Atiku is also on record to have warned of worsening insecurity and killings if he was not elected when he contested in 2019.
Some Nigerians have begun to connect the dots, noting the relationship between Atiku, who is attempting his fifth and potentially final bid for the presidency, and Mamu Tukur the terrorists’ negotiator.
Adeleke Opeyemi, commenting on Twitter via EquityOyo, said of a picture Atiku and Mamu that “this was taken last year when Mamu Tukur paid a visit to Atiku Abubakar in Atiku’s house.”
Another Twitter user said, “always wonder why almost all the higher institutions in the NE has [sic] been attacked by BH, but Atiku’s university has never been closed to… hmmmm”