Thursday, 7 March 2013

National Intelligence Agency! Say what?

Last night,  a friend and I were chatting about different things when she mentioned that she had tried to apply to the National Intelligence Agency. I was like 'whaaaat?'. I paused in shock land at the realization that we too had an intelligence agency (how did I not know this?)

I have heard of the Central Intelligence Agency (America), Mossad (Isreal), MI6(Britain) but never in my wildest dreams did I think Nigeria owned an intelligence agency. (I guess i just never thought about what need we had to collect intelligence).

Back to my story, I immediately googled and found out that Nigeria has had an intelligence agency since 1986 (Babangida's time). The agency was responsible for Foreign Intelligence and counterintelligence operations.

At this point, I could only think 'Gegen'.

So I processed the information.
I mean I have had some experience with the intelligence community of the western world. Yes. It is true. If you call hundreds of hours watching CIA, FBI and MI6 movies and series, experience. (you were not expecting me to state that I was a spy, were you?)
I mean, I have actually applied to the CIA for a job but was refused on the grounds that they do not recuit 'non-americans' in direct service. (So yea, like I said, Experience!)
So from my 'experience', my understanding of gathering intelligence is that the agency uses several details gathered by its agents to unearth/deduce what other countries are likely to be thinking.  They master the art of using such intelligence to modify public policies and relationships with other countries.
Intelligence agencies are independent. (For the simple reason that they outlive governments and what they do is precarious to the defence of their nation).
 So I googled and discovered that we had  a website ( I was super excited that we had a website but the excitement didn't last long when I began to read the content).
I was sad.
I had an idea what the website of an intelligence agency should contain. And not wanting to write off my country, I quickly looked at the websites of the CIA, MI6 and Mossad websites. I saw a difference.
Ours featured an article on a chat with Goodluck Jonathan. While I know every country has a right to its creative licence, I daresay, some come across very unserious.
Our website looked unserious.
How does an agency tasked with Foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations pay attention to the mundane things I found on the website?
In 2012, this agency, alongside the SSS, DIA & other security outfits got a budget for N921.91 Billion, roughly US$ 5.7 Billion.
For me this raised many questions such as, whether this agency is set up to help the minions in the federal government launder money? if it is set up to get information on individuals and corporation who resist the government of the day? if it is set up to stage deaths at the behest of political elements? or if it does the job of intelligence gathering it has been created to do.
Honestly, I don't know. But one thing is certain, we need to open our eyes and see what is around us, open our eyes and ask questions.
So if you have any information about this agency, kindly send to And I would appreciate your comments and thoughts on this mystified agency.


  1. Lovely piece Lola.

    It's a big shame (I say this with my eyes covered and my head bowed). The intelligence agencies of other countries (at least the well known ones we hear and read about) command utmost respect. I'm sure over 90% of Nigerians do not know that Nigeria has an intelligence agency and even if/when they find out that we do, they would probably just "yimu" and say, "so what?" I would not be surprised if the agency is riddled with corruption like virtually every facet of the Nigerian system.

    I recalled asking a much older friend of mine about 2 years ago, how one can get into the NIA. He told me that to get in there, you have to know "really top military officials." I left my friend's presence happy and thought to myself, "I know people, so that shouldn't be very hard." After speaking with my parents and some family friends, I scheduled meetings with some "top military officials." I remember each of them asking me why I wanted to join the NIA and some of them said it would take them several trips to Abuja to see if it's "possible." One of them denied knowing about the NIA. (I didn't believe him). I was put on "I am coming" levels for 2 years. At a point, I felt like a nuisance for the once in two weeks follow-up calls I was making to all my "military connections." I finally gave up when one of them told me that "things have changed in Abuja" and that his "people are no longer in power." I asked if there was a way I could apply online, submit my resume, take a test, etc. His response was, "Mtscheeww. My dear, forget it."

    If the Nigerian NIA (National Intelligence Agency) still exists; even if it has changed its name, so long as it is doing credible work and functioning exactly as it is supposed to, I am still very much interested in joining.

    So if someone out there knows of a way to assist, I would appreciate your assistance. You can reach me through Ibilola Essien.

  2. Hey...
    good piece there. I have been doing some background work about the NIA and DSS...i enjoyed reading your piece. For a long time, i have not been able to access the NIA site. I have only had the opportunity to speak to some very few people.
    I am also glad to find out that there are people that share my passion for intelligence gathering and the like....i have been wondering if our NIA is as sophisticated as that of MI6, MOSSAD, and the likes...last week i got a tip and its not bad...but i am certain we have a long way to go.
    i look forward to hear from you to see how we can build on the infos we already have. By the way Oluwakemi is right...the process is not an easy one.
    Here is my email;
    hope to hear from you.

  3. Hey! Great piece Lola!

    I have been doing some research as well! I'm fascinated with the idea of Nigeria having an intelligence agency. Did anyone find more info on the agency? How to apply?