Lawal Daura erstwhile Director of the Nigerian State secret service DSS ruffled the feathers of the nation on the day masked men of the DSS invaded the National Assembly under his watch. It was speculated then that Daura took the action in conjunction with some people in the Villa, without the knowledge of Osinbajo the then acting President.
He paid by losing his position under Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s watch. But it appears Osinbajo in sacking Daura ( who hails from Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari,) ruffled the feathers of a smaller but seemingly more powerful clique and now they are fighting back. But the brunt, for now, is being born by the new director Osinbajo appointed by rank to replace Lawal Daura in an acting capacity; Matthew Osiyeifo. He was then serving at the Institute of Security Studies, Bwari, Abuja,
The Presidency had not decided on whether to confirm Seiyefa or appoint another officer as a replacement for Daura.
However, trouble started when the acting DG set out to address issues of low service moral and motivation and reorganize the service which saw the posting and reassigning of new roles and stations to officers and men of the service. It is said that the acting DG reportedly noticed that there were three other Directors from the South-South apart from himself and decided to relieve two of them so that a director could be brought in from the South-West that had nobody on the management and another person from the North-West. Among those are Bassey Eteng; and another Director, Grace Kentebe. Bassey Eteng had been nominated by the former director as a “worthy successor”.
This move by Seiyefa was seen by some members of the presidency cabal as an attempt at consolidation of power and the erection of a new block within the corridors of power.
The cabal was said to have been earlier making moves aimed at frustrating the confirmation of the acting DG because of political interests. The aides of the President, who were said not to be happy about the unceremonious sacking of Daura, were also said to be lobbying to have a say in who would replace him and are considering other options, including the possibility of appointing a substantive DG outside the service.
The president’s chief of staff Abba Kyari, it was leaned summoned and scolded the new DSS boss for carrying out reorganization in the agency without clearance from the Villa and issued an open directive to Seiyefa to return to status quo. Such a directive it was gathered ought to have come from the National Security Adviser.
According to an insider source of what transpired, Seiyefa was instructed to wait pending the arrival of the new D-G to be announced soonest by the President, who will thereafter make the necessary changes.” It was gathered that as a result of the interference of the President’s powerful aide, the DSS had to send verbal messages to the officers who were recently posted out to await further directives on their postings. According to a competent source, the agency did not want to write officially to the affected officials since they did not want the matter to generate ill-feelings and dampen their morale. The source said: “Normally, postings of this nature are by signal message but up till now, there is no counter-message to those staff that were moved and it does not appear as if anybody would be moving because they cannot do so by verbal instruction.”
An order that Mr. Matthew Seiyefa has adhered to and recalled officers that he had transferred out of the headquarters of the agency when he resumed office on August 1.
This was as National Directors of the DSS met on Monday to ratify the postings of Acting DG of the agency but following opposition from Presidency officials who insists Buhari, not Osinbajo, has powers to effect postings it appeared that the postings could not be rectified as it was canceled.
Sources close to the agency have confirmed that:“There is tension everywhere because the directive has been complied with by personnel, most especially by those who instigated it.
But it seems that men of the security seem to have been happy with the reorganization that Seiyafa had embarked on. Insider sources said, “Even quite a significant number of the personnel of northern extraction are not happy with the Chief of Staff because they said himself and the ousted DG had not been good to the service.”
And as such are displeased what they have termed “undue interference in the affairs of the service by the Chief of Staff to the President.”
Meanwhile, the rumbles in the secret service are reverberating across the nation and people and groups are joining the fray.
The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide has faulted the alleged moves by the Presidency to remove Seiyefa and reinstate Daura.
The President, IYC, Eric Omare, said: “While the IYC recognizes the fact that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has the power to hire and fire head of security agencies in the country, we wish to state that the President also has a corresponding mandatory constitutional duty to ensure that such appointments are in line with the Federal Character principle.
“As of today, Seiyefa is one of the few heads of security agencies in Nigeria from the southern part of the country, hence it would amount to grave violation of the Federal Character principle of the constitution to replace Seiyefa, who was appointed less than a month ago, with a northerner as alleged.
“Consequently, the IYC strongly calls on President Buhari to put a stop to the Satanic plan by the Presidency cabal to replace Seiyefa as Director General of the DSS because there is no basis for it. Seiyefa is doing a great job in repositioning the SSS and what he deserves is encouragement from the Presidency and not a replacement.”
Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, yesterday, warned that any attempt to remove Acting Director-General of Department of State Services, DSS, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa, will attract dire consequences.
The forum also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call his official responsible for the current development to order over an alleged “obnoxious directive” given to the acting D-G of the DSS. In a statement by Yinka Odumakin, South-West; Senator Bassey Henshaw, South-South; Prof Chigozie Ogbu, South-East, and Dr. Isuwa Dogo, Middle Belt, yesterday, the forum said it would have ignored the report but for the alleged “clannishness, sectional proclivity and exclusive handling of the security architecture of the country by President Buhari in the last three years.” Removal of acting DSS D-G’ll is the final straw.
The Middle Belt Forum The statement read: “The plot to remove the Acting DG is said to be hinged on the professional reorganization of the service by him whom the cabal is now interpreting as removing APC elements in DSS for PDP apologists, a clear indication of the divisions this administration has caused in every facet of our life as a nation. “Facts at our disposal, however, show that what the Acting DG has done is a good example of how to run a diverse polity which this administration has ignored in the last three years. “It was said that under Daura, every need to organize the service along federal character and fill existing vacancies were ignored as he concentrated on nepotism in running DSS and keeping a coterie of those who have retired or have passed retirement in service and many of them having nothing to contribute. Sacked DSS boss, Daura may be recalled.”
But it was gathered that Buhari set to name new DG But Vanguard learned that President Buhari was set to name a new DG for the DSS before he traveled to China at the weekend and would do so as soon as he returns this week. It was gathered that contrary to media reports, Buhari had made up his mind not to reinstate the sacked D-G, Lawal Daura, but to appoint someone who enjoys his backing.
The senior officer, who is to be named as Daura’s replacement by Buhari, also hails from the South-South and has worked closely with the embattled former D-G for the past three years and enjoyed his support. A security source said: “The planned appointment of the officer seen as Duara’s associate to replace Seiyefa, who is going to retire soon, is a form of soft-landing for Daura by the President, who does not want to reverse his sack by the Acting President. “The truth of the matter is that most staff of the DSS are happy that Daura was removed because he caused the stagnation of most staff he did not promote and pay them several benefits, thereby lowering their morale and productivity.”
The presidency is yet to come out officially, perhaps awaiting for president Buhari’s return from FOCAC.