President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the Dismissal of past Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ambassador Muhammed Dauda.
The agency, responsible for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations, has been embroiled in leadership crisis since the appointment of its current Director General, Dr Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, by President Muhammadu Buhari, in January.
Ambassador Dauda was dismissed through a letter dated March 6, signed by T.A. Yusuf, on behalf of the director general of the agency.
A top security official who declined being named because of the sensitivity of the matter confirmed the story to Us last night.
Dauda was acting head of the intelligence agency from November 2017 to January 2018.
The former director general was also warned in the letter by the NIA not to engage in anything “inimical” to the agency’s operations, or he would risk being tried for treason, the security source said.
The dismissal, which this newspaper gathered was without the knowledge of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), was said to have been approved by President Buhari.
We couldn’t establish last night why the dismissal was done by the NIA itself, instead of the NSA or the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
It was also not clear whether the NIA, going by the law establishing it, is constitutionally empowered to sack its senior officers.
Ambassador Dauda had spent 34 years in service of the intelligence agency.
Earlier on Monday, armed security operatives, said to be NIA combat agents, invaded the official residence of the embattled former DG, located in Maitama District, Abuja.
For three days, the residence on No 3 Osara Lane, off Osara Close, Maitama, Abuja was cordoned by about 30 armed operatives. Security sources said the operatives were there to effect the arrest of the ambassador.
Dauda was on tour of duty in the Republic of Chad as ambassador before his redeployment to Abuja to head the agency after the suspension of Mr Ayodele Oke.
He was reported to have gone into hiding after his testimony before the House of Representatives committee on national intelligence and public safety last month, citing threats to his life.
It was learnt that he was asked to return to his post in Chad by the new leadership at the NIA to continue with his tour of duty.
But Dauda didn’t comply with that directive, saying his life would be endangered in N’djamena because his cover as an intelligence chief was removed after his redeployment to lead the NIA.
The ex-NIA chief had made serious allegations against some members of the presidential panel led by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, during his appearances at the House of Representatives committee and the EFCC.
The dismissal came after Dauda’s alleged refusal to appear before a disciplinary panel set up to try him for allegedly bringing the agency into disrepute.
Another source said the senior management committee raised to try him was peopled by officers who are Mr Dauda’s junior in service.
But the NIA reviewed the committee membership by bringing retired directors as members, which sources said is against its extant rules.
The committee was put in place without any input from the NSA’s office, even though he oversees the entire intelligence superstructure of the country.
We learnt last night that an approval was given by the Presidency for $44 million earlier moved to the NSA’s office to be returned to the NIA’s vault.
Newsacross.com findings revealed that the $44 million was part of the over $260 million that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration released to NIA as General Intervention Fund.
At the time Buhari administration launched an investigation into the funds last year, only the N15 billion cash discovered in Lagos and the $44million lying in the Abuja vault remained to be expended out of the original $260million, security sources said.
As soon as it started its probe, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee directed that the money must remain in NIA’s vault as an exhibit.
The sources, however, said, “While the money remained in the vault, certain powerful forces mounted pressure on the acting DG, Ambassador Mohammed Dauda, who was redeployed from Chad, to use the money since it is the property of the NIA but the acting DG refused.”
According to our sources, the “powerful forces” pushed very hard for the money to be tampered with, saying the government had forgotten all about it, but for the firm resistance of the outgoing acting DG.
Our sources added, “But barely two days after President Buhari named a substantive head for the agency, a black bullion van was dispatched to NIA and the money was removed to an unknown destination around 6 am on a Friday.”