Some directors of the crisis-riddled Nigerian prime intelligence outfit, National Intelligence Agency, NIA, have written to a parliamentary committee investigating the recent leadership change in the institution, calling attention to possible security implications of the action.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on January 10, appointed his then Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abubakar, as the new Director-General of the NIA.
Abubakar’s appointment raised ripples in security circles with some staff of the organisation criticising the decision to bring in “an outsider” as tantamount to destroying discipline and operations of the agency.
However, the appointment of Abubakar was in disregard of the recommendation of the Presidential Review Panel on the NIA, headed by a former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe.
The panel had recommended that a new director general be appointed from the “corps of serving directors” of the agency.
But the presidency, on Monday, defended Abubakar’s credentials, while insisting that there was nothing wrong with the appointment.
Following the outcry over the propriety of the appointment, the House of Representatives on January 16 mandated its Committee on Security and National Intelligence to probe the appointment of the new director general, and the alleged disappearance of $44 million from the agency’s coffers.
In an open letter to the committee, dated January 29, 2018, three directors of the agency, writing under pseudonyms, said the plan by the new director general to sack some senior officials of the agency would be unhealthy for the country’s security.
The new D-G’s relationship with Chad, which the directors say is not fully unravelled, is also identified as a possible avenue for security breach.
“As insiders, we are in a position to state that, the process of vetting in respect of the new NIA DG negates conventional practice, as nobody has visited Chad where he claims to have grown up and schooled to probe into his differential associates, or even his likely espionage roles,’’ they said.
The affected directors also prayed the House Committee to probe activities of the Kingibe panel, alleging financial impropriety on the part of the committee.
Dogara, Kyari confer
However, one of the concerned staff of the agency told online portal, Premium Times, that their hope on the lawmakers “to correct the subversion” was now in doubt, following a clandestine meeting between Speaker of the House of Respresentatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari.
The speaker was said to have held a meeting with Kyari, Monday night, at the Chief of Staff’s Defence House residence.
Dogara’s spokesperson, Turaki Hassan, could not be reached to comment on the alleged meeting.