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$44m: Naja’atu tackles Buhari over sack of NIA DG

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Frontline politician and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Hajiya Najatu Muhammad said President Muhammadu Buhari must assert his powers in the crisis rocking the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to save his anti-graft war.

In a statement weekend, the Kano-based politician wondered why a former acting director general of the NIA, Ambassador Muhammed Dauda who exposed corruption at the agency was sacked, while his predecessor Mr Ayodele Oke who was indicted was only retired and never prosecuted.

She said while Mr Oke who was indicted over the Ikoyi Towers N14 billion was only retired and even prevented by the DSS from being arrested by the EFCC, his successor was being hunted and humiliated.

She said a report of the committee set up by the President and headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to probe Mr Oke has long been swept under the carpet.

“Yet another committee was inaugurated and presided over by Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, while the incumbent DG of the NIA, Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar was appointed as the secretary. The same Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar, who was Kingibe’s personal assistant for several years while serving in Dafur,” she said.
Najatu said “the Kingibe committee recommended in part that for an officer to qualify as DG of the agency he has to be serving officer not below the rank of a director. Currently in the NIA there are five directors who must be retired from service following the appointment of Ahmed Rufa’i who retired five years ago as a deputy director.
“Records showed that the current DG failed promotion exams to the rank of director three consecutive times which led to his untimely retirement,” the APC chieftain said. “The question that every discerning Nigerian would ask here is why was Amb. Dauda dismissed from service? What has he done to warrant out right dismissal? Was the $44 million in question stolen or pilfered? The answer is No. The  funds were in fact evacuated to the office of the NSA for protection and safe custody against the preying eyes of those individuals hell bent on looting it. The President was adequately briefed on this development by the NSA,” she said.

Najatu added however that “the height of persecution, victimization and injustice was unfortunately exercised with the dismissal of Amb. Dauda who was never found guilty of any wrongdoing, while Amb. Oke who was found guilty of embezzlement of public funds only got his job terminated.”

She said while Amb. Dauda was chased out from his official residence and dismissed for his whistle blowing role, “ Amb. Oke is still occupying the official residence of the DG, moving about freely, and enjoying state protection with all paraphernalia of the office as if nothing had happened. “Indeed due process, rule of law was not followed in the way the two matters were handled. One was found guilty and retired, while the other who exposed corruption was summarily and unlawfully dismissed from service on a baseless allegation of leaking state secret, without giving him any opportunity to be heard in a fair and transparent manner,” the APC chieftain said.

She said “it’s really unfortunate that its becoming a pattern in this regime to shield corruption and punish those that refuse to be roped into it.”

On the allegations that Ambassador Babagana Kingibe serially requested and received money from Dauda while heading the presidential committee in NIA, Najatu said “what I expect from Mr Kingibe is to deny these allegations long before the invitation from the House of Representatives committee or the EFCC, in the very same way he denied ever wanting to contest against President Buhari when his posters flooded streets of Kaduna.”

She said but the “attempt to make the victim (Dauda) a culprit cannot hold, its too little too late. I want to advise those close to the President to all tell him the truth and correct him whenever he erred so that he succeeds, for every wrong decision taken affects the country as a whole like in this situation.”

She lamented that “Nigeria is a country unfortunately run by individuals who by share luck happened to be within the corridors of power always appearing to be fighting corruption while they have stolen millions of public funds, others with God fathers are simply shielded from trial or prosecution, while the innocent are chased, haunted and persecuted.” Najatu advised that  “this attitude must change if our dear country is to move forward.”

She said she’s advising the president because of her zeal for him to succeed and Nigeria to be better.

“I have been with President Muhammadu Buhari politically for quite a long time, and I want those close to him to tell him I would continue to say the truth and maintain my stance on national issues whenever the need arises. It is my inalienable right to speak the truth.

“When I was imprisoned, beaten, poisoned by previous government for criticizing them must of you eating from the crumps of those govts were against me, so I still don’t expect you to be with me on this one,” she said.

“You can keep your choice, but never interfere with mine. When I was in the political trenches fighting to make this government a reality where were you? In Kano we call people like you ‘yan munga ta fadi gayyar tsiya’ that’s what you are,” she said.

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