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31 Mar Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

SSS Jailbreak: How Wendell Simlin Feeds Our Scepticism

It’s been 33 days since presidential aide Reno Omokri was exposed as Wendell Simlin, a pseudonym he tried using in linking suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi with the spate of terror attacks in February. Reno Omokri got caught, so thankfully the conversation he sought to get started with his Wendell Simlin email never really started.


He instead helped start a conversation around the motive of the presidency with respect to the continued terror attacks in Nigeria. On that 26th day of February 2014, Reno Omokri showed what many had suspected, that the presidency uses the terrorist attacks as a political tool for its own gains. That Reno Omokri got caught helped prove this to a large extent because Reno Omokri works directly with Oronto Douglas, the man many consider as the brain of the Jonathan administration.


There are few strategic or tactical political moves made by the presidency that are not moves orchestrated by Oronto Douglas. This explains why the presidency has kept a loud mute since Wendell Simlin got unraveled as Reno Omokri. That silence will always come at a cost as long as it remains.


The Financial Times, the BBC, Thisday, Daily Trust and several other newspapers, magazines and columnists have written about the presidency and its silence on Wendell Simlin, yet that silence persists. This is one reason why the “attempted jailbreak” claimed by the State Security Service as the reason for the gun battle that ensued at its Head Quarters holds little water. Marilyn Ogar, the SSS spokesperson said, “At 07:15 hours, the Service suspect handler went to the detention facility within the Headquarters to feed the suspects.


“One of the suspects attempted to disarm him by hitting him at the back of his head with his handcuff. His attempt to escape drew the attention of other guards at the facility who fired some shots to warn and deter others.


“The gun shots attracted the attention of the military with which we have an understanding of mutual assistance in the event of any threat. The Army immediately deployed a team to reinforce our perimeter guards to forestall any external collaborators. The situation has since been brought under control.”


There are holes all over this statement. Were it a movie script, it would have been a poorly written one. The SSS is claiming a handcuffed man overpowered its own operative, shot same, and freed other inmates. Where did the other inmates get the guns and bullets they used in engaging the SSS in a prolonged gun battle? How did these inmates breach the SSS’s revered impenetrable security system?  And that attempted jailbreak has since left 22 inmates dead? Never to speak, never to reveal whatever they knew about Boko Haram and their sponsors? Surely, there is more to this jailbreak cover up.


The military needed RPGs and Armoured Personnel Carriers to quell the battle, yet the SSS wants us to believe this was just a jailbreak? A jailbreak that showed that, had the military not been in tow, the SSS would have been overpowered. So then, the escaping inmates suddenly possessed more weapons than operatives of the SSS?


You would notice several theories are already developing around what truly happened. Many have refused the cock and bull tale shared by Marilyn Ogar for obvious reasons; it just didn’t represent the truth, or at least the whole truth of what happened on Sunday morning, 30th March, 2014. Our government should be concerned about this sort of skepticism from the general public, a skepticism that continues to be fed by their insistence on playing pranks with national security.


Had the government for instance distanced itself from Reno Omokri’s Wendell Simlin email, and followed suit with a sacking and investigation of the incident in question, it would have laid down its own commitment towards the fight against terrorism and its insistence on ensuring that Nigeria’s fight against terrorism is not politicized.

It is too late now as the politics of terrorism in Nigeria had its ante raised by the Wendell-Reno-Omokri-Simlin email. When the President once said he had Boko Haram members in his cabinet, he made a statement that put members of his cabinet and his aides in a big box of suspicion.

When former NSA, General Azazi blamed the PDP for the escalation in terror attacks, that box got even bigger. One would have expected that the presidency would take up the Wendell Simlin incident as a marker to show others that it would not condone the use of terrorism as a political tool.  

So then, the silence of the presidency on Wendell Simlin continues to read loud and the presidency would always be suspected when incidents like the supposed SSS jailbreak happen – or are made to happen. Now, how will a government fight and win the war against terrorism when it cannot be trusted with the fight?


Reno Omokri did not only shoot himself in the foot with his Wendell Simlin stunt, the silence of the presidency continues to fire repeated shots on the foot of the presidency with every decibel of sound that continues to be subjected to the shackles of silence.