By Clifford Ndujihe
DIRECTOR-General of the Department of State Service, DSS, Lawal Musa Daura, assumed duties as head of the agency on July 3, 2015 in controversial circumstances. Tuesday, he was, once again, relieved of his position in a controversial and dramatic manner by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.


From his appointment to his sack, Mr. Daura had been in the news for controversial actions.

Hailing from Daura, Katsina State as President Muhammadu Buhari, there werevcalls against his appointment from many quarters. The reasons included: He retired from the DSS before President Buhari recalled him; he served on the All Progressives Congress, APC, security and intelligence committee during the 2015 elections; and he is also from Daura as the president and his appointment ignored calls to redress alleged increasing lopsided appointments in favour of Katsina State and North-West geo-political zone against other parts of the country.

Given the controversies that trailed his appointment, Daura assumed duties on a promising and conciliatory note. He assured Nigerians that he would be fair and accountable to them in carrying out his duties.

It is arguable whether or not he kept his word. A peep into some of the major actions he took as DSS boss reveals unsavoury developments that culminated in his sack, Tuesday.

Some of the scandals that trailed Daura’s tenure include: the recent recruitment scandal in the DSS; face-off with Customs Controller-General over allegations of unprofessionalism, 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 yesterday’s blockade of the National Assembly among others.

DSS recruitment scandal

Recently, a scandal trailed the recruitment of 479 officers by the DSS with Katsina State having 51, more than 10 per cent. The figure allocated to Katsina was just six less than what the entire South-West received and nine higher than what went to the entire South-East. 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).

Invasion of judges’ homes

In October 2016, the polity was awash with the news of the invasion of the homes of judges, and justices of the Supreme Court by operatives of the DSS.

Spat with Customs DG

In late December 2016, The DSS DG had a spat with Customs DG, over allegations and counter allegations of unprofessionalism and illegality. The turf war 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 levy was illegal as it was not provided for on 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 told the President that 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 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.

Mr. Ali told the President: “It was this letter copied to the DSS that the Department relied on without any investigation and reported to Mr. President that NCS is collecting $25 thousand TIP levy without issuing receipt any receipt. “The DSS copied all the allegations of MOMAN almost verbatim without any input from them. The Department should have investigated the matter with a view to bringing the perpetrators of the alleged dastardly act to justice.

Disobedience of court order

On October 31, 2017 Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, counsel to the 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.

The court had on October 25 directed the service of subpoena order on Dasuki and former President Goodluck Jonathan following Metuh’s application to have the duo as witnesses in the N400 million fraud case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
At the resumed sitting Dasuki was not produced in court.

Face-off with EFCC

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 Oke 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 allegations of corruption.
The DSS report against Mr Ibrahim Magu was one of the reasons he was cleared for appointment as EFCC chairman by the National Assembly.

Withdrawal of NASS leaders security guards

Early June, 2018, a dispute over contingency security allocations led to an 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 per cent draw down across board in security protection for the top lawmakers, sparking a nationwide uproar. The controversial exercise affected Senate President Bukola Saraki, 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.

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