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President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent appointment of Mr Ahmed Rufai Abubakar as the replacement for the sacked Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke, has been trailed by condemnation especially from the southwestern part of the country due to it’s violation of the federal character principle. Oke and David Babachir Lawal, the former secretary to the government of the federation were both investigated by the same panel headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, though for different offences. They were both suspended on the same day, found guilty and dismissed on the same day. Alas! while Lawal was replaced by Boss Mustapha, his cousin from the same state with him (Adamawa state), Oke, a yoruba was replaced with someone from katsina state. This appointment by Mr Presiddent does not only betray insensitivity to a region of the country that gave him a bountiful harvest of votes in the 2015 elections, without which he could not have been president but has also fuelled rumours that the president is a sectional leader and that the mainstay of this administration is the elevation of the hausa/fulani above other tribes in Nigeria. Pray, are there no qualified yorubas in the Intelligence community to replace Oke?

The appointment of the new DG is also generating some disquiet in the NIA. Many officers in the agency are questioning Mr Abubakar’s competence to lead the NIA. Mr Abubakar joined the NIA from the katsina state civil service under the leadership of his cousin, Ambassador Zakari Ibrahim, in the mid 90’s but resigned a few years later due to his failure to pass promotion examination twice and to forestall an imminent sack. While in service, Abubakar violated the agency’s regulation forbidding operatives from marrying foreigners by marrying a Moroccan. He is also said to be highly resentful to the US and is anti-Semitic. He was alleged to have been among those who aborted the scheduled side-talk meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, during the United Nations General Assembly in September,2017. If we take into cognizance the brand of politics that the American President Donald Trump is currently playing internationally, the fate that has befallen countries like Pakistan and Palestine as regards American aid and threats to cut off aid to several other nations including the United Nations, can we say that it is politically wise at this time to appoint an anti-American diplomat as the head of the NIA? Before his appointment as DG of NIA, Abubakar was the Senior Special Assistant on International Affairs to the President and also his Arabic and French interpreter. Many have however fingered Mamman Daura, the President’s nephew and Mallam Abba Kyari, the President’s Chief of Staff, as the brains behind the appointment and accused them of nepotism and influence peddling. If this is true, then that means the Abubakar is a surrogate and would not be able to record any significant achievement in the NIA throughout his tenure as he would be preoccupied with dancing to the tunes of his godfathers who facilitated his appointment.

In a related development, the House of Representatives is investigating the alleged disappearance of $44 million dollars from the vaults of the NIA just 2 days after the appointment of Mr Abubakar into the office. It is also investigating Mr Abubakar’s nationality and competence for the job. Mr Abubakar was born and bred (including his early adult life) in Chad. He married a Chadian in a short-lived marriage and many of his relatives still live there. I wonder how a man with dual or possibly multiple citizenship (he has a Moroccan wife) can be made the head of such a sensitive agency in Nigeria. There are also stories making the rounds that the missing $44 million dollars was moved from the vaults of the NIA based on fears that the new helmsman might tamper with it and that the money is currently in the possession of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). If these stories are true, then that is an indirect indictment on the integrity of the new NIA helmsman.

I urge the House of Representatives to carry out a thorough investigation of all the controversies surrounding the appointment of the new DG of the NIA. Their findings should form the basis of their recommendations to the Senate who would ultimately determine whether to accept or reject this appointment.

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