EXCLUSIVE: The untold security, intelligence conundrum of the Buhari administration

Daura and Monguno
Daura and Monguno

One week into the new year, Tuesday, January 9, the air in Abuja was dry, dusty, and clammy. The nation’s capital was sluggishly waking into a new rhythm of calm and relative order after the chaos of the Christmas season prompted by a debilitating fuel crisis.

That day, at the headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), in the south east corner of Maitama district of the city, Mohammed Dauda, the then acting director of the agency was getting ready for an official briefing with President Mohammed Buhari. It was his first of such briefing after he was plucked out of the Nigerian embassy in the Republic of Chad October last year, to come serve as acting head of the spy agency tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations.

Last year April, the NIA became the butt of a bumpy controversy on account of a botched undercover operation and a $43million lodgement at an Ikoyi apartment that eventually led to the suspension and subsequent investigation of Mr. Ayodele Oke, a career diplomat and erstwhile director general of the agency.

Dauda the NIA boss in cheery mood

When Mr. Dauda emerged from his meeting, according to PREMIUM TIMES sources at the Aso Rock Villa, he was in “such an expansive and cheery mood,” and it started looking as if he was now on an assured path to reinforcing his position, and probably earning confirmation as substantive head of the agency.

As ambassador to Chad, a major theatre in the war against the Boko haram insurgency, and with a pedigree in financial and economic crimes intelligence, two of the major organised crimes posing severe and existential threats to the national image profile, agency insiders say Mr. Dauda, with his added ecumenical, even if under-stated, mien had the requisite qualities for the new office.

He had reasons to be upbeat. Mr. Dauda’s appointment, like many done before by the Buhari presidency, may trigger another round of controversy. In his case, the man he will be directly reporting to, the National Security Adviser to the president, Babagana Monguno, a retired major general, and a fellow Kanuri, was unaware of, and was certainly not consulted, on his appointment. For the two months now that he has served at NIA, Mr. Dauda was forced to walk a delicate balance, trying tirelessly to build trust and confidence internally, and in the immediate outer-rim of the NIA political universe.

Two events, the very next day, will finally change all that for Mr. Dauda.

First, in the early hours of Wednesday, January 10, an operational truck of State Security Services (SSS) agents drove quietly towards the eastern end of the city and pulled up at the gate of Defence House in the Maitama District. They wanted to see the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and their mission, they said, was to defend Mr. Kyari, a usually taciturn but fiercely loyal aide of the president in the event of an attempted arrest.

Administration sources told PREMIUM TIMES at the weekend that the orders for the SSS deployment came directly from the director general of the agency, Mr. Lawal Daura.

The NNPC TSA controversy

At the beginning of October last year, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), found itself at the centre of a scandal that it was flouting the governments policy on TSA accounts, by failing to remit N50 billion of its income and interests from five banks. Mr. Kyari was named in the scandal, with the Senate claiming he provided the directive for the NNPC to by pass the TSA account.

The NNPC, through its public communication office, strongly shot back saying, “By virtue of the operations of the NNPC, the Corporation had made series of compelling cases to the Presidency and the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow certain categories of accounts operate outside the TSA, as they contain co-mingled funds governed by detailed agreements with local and international implications. It concluded that to “claim that the Chief of Staff single-handedly approved these exemptions was not only unfair, but is a complete misrepresentation of facts to mislead the general public.”

Political and security sources familiar with the matter, in Abuja, said both the NSA’s office and the presidency became sufficiently worried about the story and got the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to show interest in the matter. The spokesman for the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, suggested he was unaware of this claim but promised to broach it with the upper deck of the organisation and get back. His phone became unreachable throughout the weekend. The EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in response to PREMIUM TIMES inquiries later disclaimed that operatives of his agency were on any such assignment.

Interpreting all these manouvres from the sidelines, the director general of the SSS, Lawal Daura, reportedly felt a mischief was apace, and in response, rapidly deployed the team of armed operatives to forestall any eventuality. “It was like a preemptory move” a source told PREMIUM TIMES.

This will be the second time that Mr. Daura would muscularly wade into an interagency storm on perceived grounds of “EFCC’s operational overreach.” About two months ago, on November 21, the SSS triggered an inter-agency war with the EFCC when it frustrated an attempt to arrest the former head of the NIA, Ayo Oke, and former head of the SSS, Ita Ekpeyong, from their homes on Mamman Nasir Street in the Asokoro District of Abuja.

The drama at Defence House

Defence House is one of the presidential guest houses in Abuja, and among its famous occupants these days has been the president himself who used it as his transition home before his inauguration in 2015. Currently, however, the two most celebrated occupiers of the posh real estate are Mr. Kyari and Mr Monguno, whose houses are adjacent each other.

The Kyari-Monguno relationship is one of the fascinating and defining narratives of the Buhari presidency, one which a presidential aide, in response to questions from PREMIUM TIMES for the reporting of this story, characterized as “a truly enthralling history of animosity.”

Both men, from the same Kanuri stock, entrenched within the topmost rack and influential ladder of the administration, represent, by all indication, the spiky edges of the problematic policy making space of the Buhari presidency.

With the SSS agents prowling the perimeter of the Kyari household, this Wednesday, all armed to the teeth, Mr. Monguno, according to sources, could not hide his shock when he encountered them as he made ready to head to work. “Who are these men?” he reportedly asked, in anger and distaste. In a short while after, a truck load of soldiers, ordered by Mr. Monguno, had descended on Defence House with a mission to disarm the SSS agents. After some indecent trade in language, reasons prevailed, and both combatants, the soldiers and the SSS operatives, went back to their bases.

The very next day, Thursday, the president met separately with Mr. Monguno and then with Mr. Kyari, according to sources, in the effort to mend the breached relationship of his two principal aides. Later that night, the presidency issued a statement announcing the appointment of Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, a senior special adviser to the president as the substantive head of the NIA.

Mr. Abubakar, a polyglot who is reputed to “speak and write excellently in French, English, and Arabic” was previously a director at the United Nations Political office for West Africa in Dakar Senegal where he oversaw the patterns of conflict, peace building, and the democratic transition in the region.

As in the case of Mr. Dauda’s appointment, again, Mr. Monguno, who had been reportedly prepping another candidate for the job, heard of this announcement, which he ought to have had a hand in determining, like every Nigerian through the late new hours. It was a humbling and stinging jolt on the NSA’s profile. This was a particularly neutralizing episode in the thorny relationship of the two presidential aides whose contrastive visions regarding policy directions of the administration had now come full circle. In this particular case, Mr. Dauda, who himself heard of his replacement over the news, turns out as a victim of an enormous power play that acutely expresses the Buhari political cosmos.

The Magu conundrum

No issue, however, best describes the divergent vision of the Kyari-Monguno challenge as the question of Mr. Magu’s continued suitability for the office of the anti-corruption czar of the country.

During the long Christmas and New Year holiday, the team of Mr. Kyari; the interior minister, Bello Dambazau; the DG of the SSS, Mr. Daura; and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Malami convinced the president to remove Mr. Magu who they thought had become a major liability to the progress of the administration. The president reportedly advised them to clear with his vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, a law professor who, with Mr. Monguno remain the two prominent life-lines of Mr. Magu in the administration.

When Mr. Osinbajo returned from his holiday trip to Dubai, they met with him and tabled the request arguing that Mr. Magu had become a burden for the administration, stalling progress on the budget and several other engagements with the National Assembly for which, in their view, the president was suffering costly reputational damage.

They illustrated their claims with several appointments awaiting confirmation at the senate. The vice president reportedly told them that the international community as indeed many Nigerians continue to credit the Buhari administration on account of its anti-corruption profile, and that “removing Magu would send a dangerously wrong signal in an election year.”

According to those familiar with the exchange, Mr. Osinbajo suggested that in the event of a Magu transition, a fitting position for him would be an elevation as Special Adviser on anti-corruption in the presidency while a new chair for the EFCC is appointed.

Irreversibly committed to the removal of Mr. Magu, the group is said to be uncomfortable with the arrangement.  In the larger narrative of the Kyari-Monguno relationship, presidency sources reason that matters have gotten to a peak where one of them will have to eventually cancel the other for peace to reign.


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  • babajide Balogun

    It is a disappointing account of a president who promised to belong to nobody and belongs to everybody.

    • davids

      Did he belong to any of the camp?

      • A.A.Ngalos

        Absolutely NO, he is at the centre, where Chinua Achebe says “……….”

  • Al

    It is like am watching Indian firm, amita bachaa, daram & hema mali. Let us focus on genuine national issues, not gossip

  • Lanre

    Thank you Premium Times for giving us this piece of information. This is how Buhari ruled Nigeria from December 31, 1983 to August 26, 1985. Intrigues, plots, innuendoes, counter-plots, schemings all from devilish minds with no idea of how to improve the lots of people. Ask any of the retards that you just mentioned in this piece what Winston Churchill did to provide Social Services for the people of the United Kingdom and they will be looking at you like Aja mi lopa. All of them Northerners. Just like 33-34 years ago. If it is not Lawal Rafindadi, it is Ismaila Gwarzo. If not Alhaji Alhaji, it is Mustapha Jokolo. Nepotism and bigotry is the hallmark of Muhammudu Buhari. And yet, Yemi Osinbajo and Bola Tinubu are going to ask Yorubas to again vote for this man like Cattle that cannot reason. Anyway, as the Americans say… Follow the Money. It is all about money.

    • Netanyahu

      God bless your lineage. This is what we have been complaining about in the past two years of this satanic administration. How can a leader, president of a country as diverse as Nigeria live with this level of nepotism? I am very positive that without the votes of the south west, he isn’t going nowhere in 2019. Let’s vote this bigot out before he “crashes the plane”. No other leader has taken this country through the hell Nigerians have been into.

      • Lanre

        Hello Netanyahu. Thank you for your response. There are always unintended consequences of actions or events. I think the Yoruba People need Buhari for a second term. That way they will eventually realize what some of us have been telling them. Sometimes people have to learn the hard way.

    • david niger delta

      lLanre dont worry 2019 is coming vote for your choice and change what ever you want change ,dont worry about osibanjo and Tinubu, just go and vote for any arm robber you wish to vote for .

  • Iskacountryman

    psy ops…

    • Lanre

      Ha Ha. You are a smart one. My favorite commenter.

    • kaydutch

      What do you mean?

      • Iskacountryman

        if you are asking…then you do not need to know…

  • Bassey Frank

    Muhammadu Buhari’s second name is Nepotism. I have never seen a man so adamantly ‘nepotic’ in the history of Nigeria’s leadership; and he makes no pretense about it.

  • realist

    The solution is for Buhari to sack one or two of these consipirators against Magu and replaced them with more liberal individuals. But Buhari doesn’t have the courage to do what is right.

    • Oj

      Ur suggestion is like washing the shit from the yansh but leaving the shithole intact. This will result in the obvious – the Shithole will shit again.

  • Omerigwe J.S Uloho

    The Niger Delta REJECTS restructuring. What we demand is 100% control of our resources and a separate country – The DELTA Republic. We can not continue in a Shithole country called Nigeria where anyone however dumb, daft and clueless can be president on the banal basis of ethnicity & religion above everything else. This MUST stop. NOW!

  • tundemash

    In all sincerity I believe PT and all other media houses and indeed Nigerians in general all are great Mumus in their own right. How come none ever asks the Nigerian govt the reason WHY it NEVER identifies or names a suicide bomber and/or a Fulani Herdsman even when they are caught in the act. Why? …Don’t we know it takes less than 48hrs to identify suicide bombers in Europe & America? Is this rocket science too?

    • Julius

      We are never sincere with anything. No patriot at all and we do most things backward. The sad part is that we do have people , men and women in this country that can rise to the occasion but our corrupt mentality will never let them. Look at what our people are doing in their professions overseas. We compete and in some cases better than our competitors . Tunde, my broda, it’s sad what we are doing to each other and the country.

      • tundemash

        My man you allowed this imposter to game you, he is not whom he claim to be, he is not the real tundemash, neither am I.

        • Julius

          oh shit…my bad, Let me find out it’s otile doing his shit again and ima put my left foot up his gay ass.

      • tundemash

        The wailers needed a reputable name to pass their warped message across. Be more careful next time.

        • Tony Ani

          Stop calling any critic of this government wailers. Calling them names has been most unhelpful, polarizing and hateful Sir. They are entitled to their opinions on the presidency. Thank you.

          • Julius

            They are not criticizing the government and the President. They are insulting and abusing him and his tribe. That is a big difference sir !. You should be able to see that..Thank you !

        • Julius

          Yup, I see. Notice how they always use Yoruba names to spew their garbage. Otile alone has 4 different Yoruba names . How cowardly can they be ?

    • OGK

      This is a cloned @tundemash. This is the handiwork of paid PDP online rats. @tundemash is too serious-minded to be stupidly diverting serious discourse. These are two unrelated issues.

    • tundemash

      Oloshi, so u need a reputable name to post your rubbish ?

  • Dansh

    What Nigeria needs asap is disintegration. This ends all scheming and political interests.

  • Screw-em

    Everyone knows Kyari, ( a known associate of Thisday publisher prior to his elevation as COS ) that Nigerians, need no soothsayer to tell them he is a criminal to the core. His eventual removal, along with AGF Malami, Danbuazu and Kinkigbe will give the Buhari administration the needed shot in the arm to a tremendous victory come 2019. Magu, must remain the EFCC chairman not withstanding the @$$holes at the NASS, led by no other than the treasonous lizard known as Saraki. He and his acolytes will be flushed out soon enough. Buhari, my advice to you is to shake up your administration to show the world you are completely in charge.

    • Epsilon_Delta

      Who appointed them? Buhari needs to step aside, he is not capable.

      • Absolutely Sane

        Because he appointed them now make him their creator who has sole control of what man can do. You are a joke.

        • musa aliero

          If they cannot do what he tasks them with doing, why is he retaining them? I don’t blame them, I blame buhari!

  • Julius

    Otile, you are the shit in that hole !!

    • AryLoyds

      Aboki you see what your brothers have turned nigeria into ? You need to change your barbaric ways as the world is watching

      • Julius

        You are the shit in the hole. We need to remove your kind from the rest of the country. A pedo faggot like you do not belong anywhere.

        • AryLoyds

          Aboki , change your violent ways cos its affecting you a great deal 🙂

          • Julius

            Otile, you are praying daily wishing death on people while calling others violent ? Explain how that works. I honestly think a Fulani man is your father who you never meet.I pity you. You need to talk to your mother, sharing clothes with her is not enough.

          • AryLoyds

            Aboki , You are quite right with your assertions , a fulani men could only be a father after raping our women down south in their farms. You are right , Something urgent must be done to cull the animals , sorry sexual predators 🙂

          • Julius

            Bastard, you need to check your DNA. Maybe that was the same way you came into being..faggot !

          • AryLoyds

            So aboki , fullani men have faggot genes ? I am hearing this for the first time. Kai Aboki 🙂

          • Julius

            Lmaoooooooooo, damn so you finally came out as a fag. Folks, you heard the Queen…una think say I dey joke b4 !. No moron, you came into being by rape..ask your mother.Oh excuse me, you hate her other than sharing her clothes.

          • Otile

            My brother, don’t waste your time responding to the half educated tout. He is not an Aboki, he is a Yoruba man pretending to be Northerner, he doesn’t speak Hausa or any other Northern language because he is too daft to learn any new language. Watch how he murders the English language taught him from primary to secondary school where he finally dropped out to become a tout. The imp is a slave of the Fulani. He can take the bullet for his Fulani slave masters. Any time one says something not complementary to his Fulani masters he jumps out of his shithole to attack.

            He is so bereft of vocab that he continues writing the same thing over and over again. The tout is limited with gutter language which he invokes like the oracle. Watch him, no day passes without him mistaking other people name with Otile, then he goes on to rant his favorite insults such as: Lmooooooooo, damn, smdh, fag, faggot, pussy, skirt, bastard !!!!! ????? ……

          • AryLoyds

            Otile , to be honest that boy is really obsessed with the name Otile. May God save him from himself

  • thusspokez

    Mr. Osinbajo suggested that in the event of a Magu transition, a fitting position for him would be an elevation as Special Adviser on anti-corruption in the presidency while a new chair for the EFCC is appointed.

    This is a classic ploy often used to disarm an opposition. If you want me to sack the doorman, I will sack him and make him the new security chief”.

    BTW What does interior minister, Bello Dambazau do?

    • You read the scenario very well,i believe magu would finish his tenure with the president,as for the dark man Kyari,his days are numbered!.

  • thusspokez

    This was a particularly neutralizing episode in the thorny relationship of the two presidential aides whose contrastive visions regarding policy directions of the administration had now come full circle.

    What is this author mean by “visions regarding policy“?

    Where is the so-called vision and direction? And how could personal squabbles driven by silly ‘Nigerian egos’ even be described as government policy.

  • thusspokez

    With the SSS agents prowling the perimeter of the Kyari household, this Wednesday, all armed to the teeth…in anger and distaste. In a short while after, a truck load of soldiers, ordered by Mr. Monguno, had descended on Defence House with a mission to disarm the SSS agents.

    In every civilised country, the deployment or movement of large number of the country’s armed forces is always with the knowledge and (implied or direct) consent of the head of state of that country. In Nigeria, it would seem that any senior government official could deploy the armed forces.

    What this demonstrates is the ease with which one could overthrow the Nigerian government. Duada or Monguno could as well easily send their ‘loyal troops’ to Aso Rock and occupy broadcasting stations. And given Buhari’s slow response rate to even serious issues, one week would be the latest anyone would expect any response from him, by which time he would already be one week out of office.

  • MP-001* [Joint Chief]

    “presidency sources reason that matters have gotten to a peak where one of them will have to eventually cancel the other for peace to reign.”
    —–
    CANCEL the other ? Hope this is not meant literally.

    • Otile

      Assassination is what they mean, how do you cancel a man? Remember Buhari took part in all the evil coups that ruined Nigeria from 1966 to 1983. In Short he is the kingpin of the evil men who ruined Nigeria.

  • Gabriel Ladejo

    The president used his number six to push the problem to his vise so his not so an aware of what is going on the president is in charge

  • share Idea

    What I don’t understand is why PT will keep destroying Buhari’s administration in the name of enhancing Magu’s battered imagine.

    The idea of projecting Magu as fighting corruption while evidence abound shows contrary facts is mind boggling. Fighting corruption is not media trial of GEJ’s family and people that worked under him while been aloof to obvious corruption acts of current administration.

    How many people have this supposed great Magu convicted? None, and PT claimed that people loved this administration because of Magu. Just as the gullible believed in all the lies spewed as campaign promises even when the discerning minds were warning them about the dangers of falling for the lies and propaganda

    • Isiakababa

      Mallam, are you so naive or even prosaic? Abeg read between the lines…the writers actually undermine Magu.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    This confirms the existence of the cabal that Aisha and many within close quarters of Aso Rock have echoed since 2015. While Osinbajo’s response is astute, the concession of “special adviser” is a cop out that can easily backfire – since such a position would be rendered toothless by a new and “political” EFCC boss.

    • Eyo

      On the contrary, I think it’s obvious that the cabal most of us think are pulling the strings, are actually at each other’s neck, checkmating themselves in a bib to remain relevant. In other words, even the cabal is not united

  • man

    bad, boring article

  • Annabelle

    The whole Nigerian arrangement is a criminal enterprise, and until the people rise up against their corrupt leaders and associates, they’ll continue to wallow in overwhelming darkness!

  • Arabakpura

    Who cares if they all destroy themselves; they are all bad business for Nigeria!