By Cynthia Ahaiwe
The Arewa People’s Defence Network (APDN) has moved in defence of the reappointment of Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar Rufa’i as substantive Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), saying calls for his resignation were unfounded and ill motivated.
APDN, reacting to the Coalition of Arewa Youth Groups’ threat to incite public disorder to force Rufai’s resignation, described the Groups and their suspected fugitive sponsor as a national security threat that must be treated appropriately.
“For a retired top official of the NIA, a Nigerian government agency tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations, to use the platform of a foreign nation for operations to undermine our national security while believed to be in possession of classified security information amounts to treasonable felony,” Suleiman Abbah, APDN’s national coordinator said in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday.Welcoming recent reports in some Nigerian newspapers that security agencies are probing Mr Mohammed Dauda, a former NIA Acting Director-General for leaking secret files of the Agency to the media, APDN warned that the manouvres of such internal collaborators as the Coalition of Arewa Youth Groups must as well be anticipated and checkmated.
“It is treason, by every standard of judgement, for the ex-intelligence chief on self exile in the United Arabs Emirates, to recruit groups in Nigeria in clandestine activities to undermine the nation’s security by attempting to implicate some NIA directors, the federal government of Nigeria and accuse the President of the Federal Republic of nepotism and bias against some sections of the current.
“While welcoming the reported move by the federal authorities to seek the extradition of the ex-NIA boss because some of the leaks reportedly traced to him are believed to have fallen into the hands of foreign intelligence agencies who may turn hostile, we also urge the authorities to extend the investigation into the extent of involvement with Dauda’s dangerous schemes and covert activities by insider collaborators operating in the guise of pressure groups.
“The fact that security agencies are said to believe that Dauda is still in possession of some classified sensitive information which he has allegedly been releasing to hurt Nigeria’s security system is certainly a matter of concern to all well-meaning Nigerians and friends alike,” Abbah said in the statement.
ADPN regretted that while Nigeria remains committed to peace and global order, some of its friends in the international community, particularly the UAE, give safe haven to such fugitive agents to breach the interest of Nigeria’s national sovereignty, national security, national peace and constitutionalism; crimes that no country will allow against its own people.”Hence, it is unacceptable to Nigeria and Nigerians that our friends will allow their countries, media space and facilities to be used in promoting anarchy and spreading discontent in the land.
“It is also important that the international community, especially countries where Nigerians like Dauda will find comfort to perpetuate an agenda that fans the embers of discord in Nigeria, take action in line with their domestic laws and international laws on espionage and sabotage to sanction these people and not accommodate them.
“Let it also be clear that while International law allows for the right of citizens of other countries to seek asylum elsewhere, it does not legitimize incitement to violent disruption of law and order in other countries. And no democracy will allow its citizens to be threatened by either internal or external aggression. These are clear provisions in Nigeria as they are under international law,” the statement said.