January 18, 2022

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Security agencies probe ex-NIA boss over alleged leaks, petitions

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Ambassador Mohammed Dauda

Security agencies are probing a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Mohammed Dauda, for allegedly leaking secret files of the agency to the media and groups.

The ex-intelligence chief is also under investigation in connection with some petitions allegedly undermining the NIA and alleged attempt to implicate some of its directors.

Some of the leaks, according to claims, were aimed at stopping the reappointment of the present NIA DG, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

There were indications yesterday that the agencies might seek the extradition of the ex-NIA boss because some of the leaks allegedly traced to him fell into the hands of foreign intelligence agencies.

Dauda, who served as DG of NIA for a month between 2017 and 2018, has relocated to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on self-exile pending the resolution of his case in court.

He got a judgment in 2020 from the National Industrial Court (NIC) directing the Presidency to reinstate him.

Although the Federal Government has filed an appeal against the judgment, security agencies are said to be uncomfortable with Dauda’s alleged covert activities in Dubai.

But Dauda, who spoke with our correspondent, dismissed the allegations against him as baseless and frivolous.

Security agencies claim that Dauda is still in possession of some “classified information” which he has allegedly been releasing to “hurt” Nigeria’s security system.

It was learnt that in 2018, a Special Management Staff Disciplinary Committee alleged that Dauda was culpable of the same offences under investigation.

These include “breach of confidentiality, violation of oath of secrecy/allegiance, misapplication of agency funds, unlawful petition, disobedience of lawful orders, falsehood and prevarication, injurious rumour peddling and violation of Section 108 on unauthorised publication in the media.”

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Security agencies are investigating ex-NIA boss for alleged acts capable of undermining the nation’s intelligence.

“Apart from leaking some official secrets to cause disaffection in NIA, Dauda has been on the radar for spreading falsehood and propaganda against this agency with a low profile mandate.

“Since 2018, NIA has been under attacks from its former helmsman. He appeared in February 2018 before the House of Representatives where he divulged classified security issues which later gained traction in the media.

“International security agencies were afraid to collaborate with their Nigerian counterparts because of such leaks. And the ex-NIA boss has not relented from his exile base in Dubai.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “From the look of things, Nigeria will have no choice but to seek the extradition of Dauda from Dubai.

“It is against diplomatic norm for a former intelligence chief to use the UAE to launch attacks on his former office.

“This ex-NIA DG has breached diplomatic and intelligence protocols. Such unethical attitude is unacceptable anywhere in the world.

“In and out of office, a secret service official is expected to be anonymous for life. Otherwise, these infractions attract sanctions.

It was learnt that Dauda was suspected of intensifying his game as part of the plot to stop the reappointment of the NIA DG, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, for a second term.

An intelligence officer said: “You know Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar came on board in January 2018 and his tenure is due for renewal for second term.

“We suspect that the ongoing rubbish from Dauda and others was part of moves to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from giving a second term to the NIA DG.

“This is why they attempted to sell a dummy to the public that NIA Directors petitioned the President. This is false; there was no letter sent to the President by the directors.

“They have failed in their bid to cause internal disaffection in NIA.”

When contacted, Dauda described the allegations against him as baseless and sheer falsehood.

He said: “Leaking information? It is a complete lie; I have nothing to do with it. They used to come up with spurious allegations anytime they come under pressure. When they have nothing to say, they will start blaming me. I am always the scapegoat.

“I have been outside the country for four years, where will I get information to leak? Where will I get documents against my country or NIA?

“I don’t have anything to do with undermining the security of Nigeria or subversive activities. How can I or why should I undermine Nigeria’s security? If they have evidence against me, let them show it.

“When I took NIA to court over my sack, it took them years of foot-dragging at the High Court but I won the case. The court ordered that I should be reinstated as the DG of NIA.

“Now, they have gone to the Court of Appeal and instead of making their case, they are dragging their feet at the appellate court again.

“All these attacks were because of the victory I secured at the High Court. They know I did my best and I had a good record in office and my sack was unjustified.”

In case NICN/ABJ/136/2018, Dauda had faulted his dismissal and asked the National Industrial Court to determine whether the procedure adopted was in compliance with Article 8(1) and (2) of the National Securities Agency Act (CAPS 278) 1986.

The ex-NIA boss, through his lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), also asked the court to declare the purported letter of his dismissal of March 6, 2018, unlawful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

He urged the court to reinstate him as director and order for the payment of his salaries and other entitlements from the date of his unlawful dismissal to the date of his reinstatement.

The Presiding judge, Justice Olufunke Anuwe granted all the reliefs sought by the claimant. The judge declared Dauda’s dismissal illegal, null and void, and ordered his immediate reinstatement.

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