“Wait. Roll that back,” said the President, “What did you just say?”
“I said: Stuff like this happens all the time. There really is no need to worry.” Answered the security chief, Gen. Izim.
“All the time?” queried the President, scratching his head.
“Yes,” affirmed the General with a shake of his head. “It’s a bit of a bother no doubt, but we have the situation under control.”
“Could you kindly,” said the President, looking distressed, “Go over it one more time?”
“No problem, Sir,” said the General, calmly crossing his legs.”So the Otedola fellow, approached the Secret Service saying he had a way to entrap a high ranking government official, and all they had to do was give him the go ahead. Said he’d have the guy collecting a bribe on video.”
“I get that part,” said the president. “please go on.”
“Well, everything went according to plan. However, no sooner had they gone public with the news of the scandal than it was revealed that the Lawan guy, who had collected the bribe, was actually working with the EFCC to expose Otedola, whom he said was offering him a bribe. You see, in effect, the two men had unwittingly tried to set each other up and thus committed a comedy of errors.
“But this is not unusual” continued the General quickly,”stuff like this happens all the time. Let me draw your mind back to the sting operation of 2004 in which a certain Governor, of a certain state- I can’t go into names right now, security clearance and all what not- but a certain Governor was accused of gross corruption and mismanagement. Now when the facts were brought to trial, we were shocked but relieved to discover he had been part of a long undercover operation to test whether the anti-corruption officials were efficient in their task of fishing out corrupt politicians.
“Or do you remember the Great Bank Robbery of ’97? In which our security forces followed the robbers still in possession of the loot back to a Senator’s house? He looked quite shocked to see us, but was quick to inform our agents we had merely interupted a safety test run of the bank security systems.
“So you see,” said the General with a smile, “Stuff like this is happening all the time.”
“Oh,” said the President.
“Indeed,” continued the General, “You see, the common man, less enlightened than you and I, thinks these matters are very straightforward and can be solved with the mere application of logic and justice. But not so. In reality this is what the relationship among our secutity forces looks like.” He grabbed a sheet of paper and a box of crayons from the desk and began to draw.
“This is what the chain of command looks like,” presented the General to the President. “They are always trying to outdo each other, withholding information, sending each other wrong data, sabotaging each other’s offices and plans… all in a general friendly spirit of competition, I assure you, but things tend to get frightfully mixed up.
“I remember once, the Police and Secret Service were hot in pursuit of a most unsavory character, the fiendish Dr. Usman. Fearing they were losing the race, the SS operatives took some time out to break into Police HQ and have some fun with the criminal database. It was good for many laughs. For us of course, not for the poor sops who spent years in prison wrongly arrested.”
“Stop right there,” said the President with a stern frown on his face, “I find that absolutely preposterous!”
The blood left the General’s face and went elsewhere. “What do you mean, Sir?” he asked, shaken.
“I mean to say: that I find it totally ridiculous that the Police could beat the Secret Service in catching anybody. I doubt that could easily happen.”