The National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, apologizing to him over his alleged harassment by security operatives, who allegedly insisted on searching his car for bombs.
The incident occurred on Monday at the 17th Hotel Kaduna, the venue of an international conference on security and development challenges of pastoralists in West and Central Africa.
The Speaker, who was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, arrived the Hotel at about 9:16 a.m., but soldiers at the gate were alleged to have insisted his cars would only be allowed entry after it is certified free of bombs.
An angry Mr. Tambuwal then stormed out of the car and walked the remaining distance to the event venue.
On Tuesday Mr. Dasuki, whose office organised the event, ordered a probe of the incident, to determine what happened and why the security officials acted the way they did.
But PREMIUM TIMES has now learnt that on the same day he constituted the investigative panel, Mr. Dasuki wrote to the Speaker, tendering “unreserved apology” and blaming the incident on “exuberance” by the security operatives involved.
“This is to tender an unreserved apology to the Right Honourable Speaker for the exuberance displayed by security personnel detailed at the Hotel Seventeen, Lafia Road, Off Tafawa Balewa Way, Kaduna, during the International Conference on Security and Development Challenges of Pastoralists in West and Central Africa,” Mr. Dasuki wrote in his June 24 letter obtained by this newspaper on Wednesday.
He continued, “Mr. Speaker, I wish to state that the action of the security personnel was not directed at your person or office but was just a case of poor discretion. I therefore regret any embarrassment this has caused to you and assure you that the case will be thoroughly investigated and such an incident will not occur again in the future.
“I wish to once again use this medium to express my gratitude to you for your very important contributions to the success of the event.
“Please, accept, Right Honourable Speaker, the assurances of my highest esteem.”
A top security source had told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday that Mr. Dasuki himself felt embarrassed that the Speaker felt harassed at an event organized by his office.
“The issue has been blown out of proportion, creating the impression that the Speaker was targeted for raw treatment because of his perceived cold relationship with the President,” a top security official familiar with the matter said. “So the NSA has ordered an investigation. He wants an internal review of what happened. Our suspicion is that it was overzealous officers who misbehaved to the Speaker. But the NSA wants to get to the bottom of it all.”
The officials did not disclose the membership of the investigative team and whether the outcome of the probe would be made public.
When further pressed for comments, he said, “It’s an internal investigation and members were drawn mainly from the office of the NSA.”
When contacted, the NSA, Mr. Dasuki, confirmed he has commissioned a probe.
“I just want to know what really happened,” he said. Mr. Sambo declined further comments.
The NSA has however drawn praises for apologizing to the speaker.
Shortly after news of the apology broke, Mouftah Baba-Ahmed, a member of an influential discussion forum, NigeriaCollective, described the NSA as an “exemplary gentleman” for his action.
“As the news story below, shows, NigeriaCollective is blessed with exemplary gentlemen,” Mr. Baba-Ahmed posted to the forum. “Last week, our very own Dr. Kayode Fayemi conceded an election even before the nation could digest the results. He instantly met his rival and shook his hand. That concession was the first, in our recent political history, as far as I know.
“Today, another gentleman of standards, ethics and values, Mallam Sambo Dasuki, has raised the standard of the code of behaviour, conduct and practice of public officials. He has publicly, and in writing, apologised to the Speaker, HoR, for a protocol infringement by security operatives at a function, earlier in the week.
“Such emotional intelligence has been rare in our politics and governance. As some good guys I know always say, “It is morning, yet”, NC (NigeriaCollective) is proud of Mallam Sambo and Dr. Fayemi. Such exemplary conduct will have significant impact on colleagues and underlings. We pray their examples form the tipping point in our true transformation.”