Now, a presidency without Daura

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The sacked DSS DG Lawal

The Department of State Services (DSS) is the primary domestic intelligence agency of Nigeria. It is primarily responsible for intelligence gathering within the country and for the protection of senior government officials. 

The service is charged with the protection of the President, Vice President, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, State Governors, their immediate families, other high ranking government officials, past presidents and their spouses, certain candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, and visiting foreign heads of state and government.

The service has constantly adapted to various roles necessitated by evolving security threats in Nigeria, including counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency.

However, the Service under the leadership of Lawal Musa Daura recently came under spotlight, attracting public opprobrium for sundry misdemeanour. Consequently, Daura, the Director-General, was sacked on Tuesday.

Appointed the sixth head of the secret police on July 2, 2015, Daura meant different things to different people. He was reportedly the face of the cabal in President ’s kitchen cabinet and power behind the throne.

The sacked spy chief who is from President Buhari’s hometown, Daura, Katsina State was born on August 1953.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ahmadu Bello University in 1980, and thereafter enlisted into the Service in 1982, where he rose to the position of director.

He also trained at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Nigeria.

He served as State Director of the Service in Edo, Imo, Kano, Lagos, Osun, and Sokoto states. He retired in 2013 upon attaining the mandatory retirement age of 60 years.

But his recall from retirement and consequent appointment following the dismissal of Ita Ekpeyong on July 2, 2015 by Buhari after winning the 2015 elections was greeted with outrage, with many questioning the propriety of the appointment of the President’s home boy to such sensitive position, given the utmost need to preserve the divergences that often provoke national tension if roughly breached.

But such sentiments were brushed aside and Daura became entrenched.

However, the Presidency on Tuesday sacked Daura abruptly after he supposedly ordered the Gestapo-like invasion and blockade of the National Assembly by his balaclava-wearing men of the nation’s secret agency.

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who ordered the termination of the appointment of the DSS boss said the sack was with immediate effect.
 Daura was consequently directed to hand over to Matthew Seiyefa, the most senior officer of the State Security Service until further notice.

Some of the scandals that trailed Daura’s tenure include: the recent clandestine recruitment in the DSS; face-off with Customs Controller-General over allegations of unprofessional conduct, illegality; withdrawal of dozens of security guards attached to the presiding officers of the National Assembly; face-off with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over graft allegations; building a multi billion naira DSS Training School in Katsina; failure to produce former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki in court to give evidence as ordered by court; providing security for Abdulrasheed Maina; invasion of the residence of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; and last Tuesday’s blockade of the National Assembly.

Recently, a scandal trailed the recruitment of 479 officers by the DSS with Katsina State having 51 slots, more than 10 percent of the total number.

The figure allocated to Katsina was just six less than what the entire Southwest got and nine higher than what went to the entire Southeast.

A breakdown of the newly commissioned cadet officers on geo-political basis revealed that 165 were from the North-West, South-South (42), North-east (100); North-Central (66); South-West (57); and South-East (44).


In October 2016, the polity was awash with news of the invasion of the homes of justices of the Appeal Supreme Courts by operatives of the DSS.

In late December 2016, the former DSS DG had a quarrel with the Customs DG, over allegations certain acts termed unprofessional and illegal on the part of the Customs DG.

The spat arose from a letter written by Daura to President Buhari on September 8, accusing the NCS of introducing a $25,000 as new Temporary Import Permit, TIP, levy on each vessel that berths to discharge petroleum products in Nigeria.

Daura said the levy was illegal as it was not provided for in the PPRA template, not receipted, and could increase the cost of petrol by 56 kobo per litre.

In his response to a query from the President on the issue, Ali reportedly said the DSS under Daura appeared to be more interested in smear campaign and personal vendetta than in thorough investigation and anti corruption­ efforts of the administration.

He was reported to have explained that the said vessel, MT Histria Ivory, was truly detained but that was after it was sighted discharging cargo at Apapa Jetty.

He said the detention was to ascertain whether it had TIP or liable for payment of duty.

Ali was said to have explained that: “It was a letter copied to the DSS that the Department relied on without any investigation and reported to Mr. President that NCS was collecting $25,000 TIP levy without issuing receipt any receipt.

On October 31, 2017 Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, counsel to embattled former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, asked Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja to order the arrest of Daura, following the failure of the DSS to produce former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki in court to give evidence. Dasuki was not produced.

On November 21, 2017, the DSS stopped EFCC officials, who were armed with both search and arrest warrants, from arresting Ita Ekpeyong, the immediate past Director-General of the DSS, and his National Intelligence Agency, NIA, counterpart, Ayodele Ok,e who was earlier sacked by President Buhari along with the former Secretary to the government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal. The EFCC operatives were said to be after the DSS boss over allegation of corruption.

The DSS report against Ibrahim Magu is the major reason the National Assembly has not cleared him as substantive chair.

Early June 2018, a dispute over contingency security allocations led to abrupt withdrawal of dozens of personal security guards attached to the presiding officers of the National Assembly, by the DSS.

The agency implemented about 65 percent draw down across board in security protection for the top lawmakers, sparking another uproar.

The controversial exercise affected Senate President , Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun.

The secret police partially returned some of the withdrawn officers to Saraki and Dogara after a security meeting with Vice President Osinbajo, following political pressure from the new-PDP bloc of the APC.


The disagreement reportedly stemmed from the National Assembly’s rejection of a presidential approval issued to the DSS for the inclusion of “some billions of Naira” into the 2018 budget.

Meanwhile, the former DG now reported under close monitoring on the orders of the Presidency, would be remembered by the spy agency for attracting to it unfavourable public opinion, division within its rank and file and allegedly superintending over the admission of more people from his home state Katsina into the country’s foremost internal intelligence agency.

He would also be remembered for turning the secret police into an organisation that became notorious for illegal arrests and detention of citizens, abuse of court orders, deep partisanship and human rights abuses.

The spy agency operates as a department within the Presidency and is supposed to be under the control of the National Security Adviser (NSA), but the sacked DSS boss would be remembered for refusing to report to the NSA, Babagana Monguno as protocol required.


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