By Eric Elezuo
Every day is for the thief, they say, but one day is for the owner of the house, and so it was with the former strongman of the Department of State Service (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura, who was disgraced out of office following an illegal invasion of the National Assembly at the wee hours of Tuesday, August 7, 2018.
Daura, who hitherto, has worn the tag of untouchable, displayed an action which threw the entire nation into a state of shock and disbelieve. Though it was a work day, most Nigerians stayed glued to their television sets as the drama sensationally unfolded. And when it ended with the sack of the chief spy, a sigh of relief was heaved by all and sundry.
Ever since the drama, many questions have been asked bordering on the legality or illegality of Daura’s action, and who must have played the music he danced to. While a section said he was prompted to action by the APC led government with total backing of the party chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, another section blamed the Senate President for orchestrating the fracas.
But the one who is supposed to know what happened has said he acted on orders from above based on intelligence report that certain group of people were planning to import dangerous weapons into the National Assembly complex. This situation, according to Daura prompted his immediate deployment of armed and hooded operatives who barricaded all the entrances of the Assembly complex.
While another section of Nigerians have reasoned that it does not make common sense to believe that the spy chief took decision on his own when there is a substantive Commander in Chief, a visit down memory lane of what might be reffered to as Daura excesses might cause a change of might.
More so, the Federal Government has disowned him as a prodigal who acted outside constitutional provision, and so deserve not an element of punishment, but of full dose of sanctions. Consequently, the once dreaded officer was not only sacked from office, he was dismissed from service, bringing to an end an era of unilateral decisions that have ended up embarrassing the President, Muhammadu Buhari. Of course, the President has failed to act on the massive disregard of instruction.
Stakeholders have not ceased to wonder what would have happened if the President were to be in town on the day. Would Daura have been sacked? Again, was the sacking another unilateral decision, this time from the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Today, Daura has fallen from grace to grass; he has no friends anymore; the presidency, the Police, civil society, the EFCC have all deserted him. The Police have gone a step further to demand permission to search his house. The EFCC has swooped on those he has shielded while in office like a former DSS chief, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong.
In the interim investigation report submitted by the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim to the acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, it was observed that.Daura acted on his own.
“The former Director-General, Department of State Security Service, Mr Lawal Musa Daura acted unilaterally without informing the presidency. He did not share or intimate other security agencies on the unlawful operations,” Idris said in the report.
The IGP said the purported intelligence report by Daura cannot be substantiated as the personnel deployed were not EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) experts or specialist in this regard. However, till date, Daura has not said more than his initial acceptance of guilt.
In the ensuing development, a former aide of the sacked director, Abdulwahab Abdulrahman, said his former boss was enmeshed in corruption.
He portrayed him as a man who serially betrayed his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, for money, serving as a mole for Saraki, saying he quit the service in 2016 as a result of the high profile corruption he witnessed.
“Daura was receiving money from everyone, including the president’s enemies.
“What we were doing was mostly receiving Ghana must go filled with cash brought by enemies of government to him.
“The rate of corruption on that fourth floor was too much and the President doesn’t deserve this.
“He will go and get information on plans for (Senate president) Bukola (Saraki) and then leak it to him,” he told NAN.
Again, the Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), while commending Acting President Osinbajo, for taking the bold step in dismissing former DSS boss, called for his prosecution and outlined what it termed the many sins of the super spy.
The group, in a statement signed by its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, listed what it termed as the many sins of the sacked DSS boss.
The center categorically demanded an exhaustive probe of the secret police since Lawal Daura’s appointment in 2015, stressing that “in the Security understanding of Lawal Daura, all was fair game as journalists and Activists were hounded into detention and held without trial”.
It continued, “According to reliable Media report, there could be nothing less than 300 Nigerians in custody without trial, including a journalist from Bayelsa state, Jones Abiri, held since 2016 without trial.
“Other notable perversions of the role of SSS under Lawal Daura include: in September 2015, the Akwa Ibom Government House was raided by SSS operatives in Uyo, the state capital. The agency said it uncovered arms, ammunition and huge stash of United States dollars in some of the rooms.
“But nearly three years later, the secret police has not filed any charges. Several Nigerians condemned the action at the time, casting strong doubts on the SSS claims
“Bullying Lawmakers – Mr Daura sent his men to clamp down on lawmakers at state and federal levels during his time at the SSS. He started with the invasion of Ekiti State House of Assembly in March 2016.
“During the raid, which was widely condemned, SSS operatives arrested several lawmakers, including Afolabi Akanni. Other lawmakers were later summarily released, but Mr Akanni was taken to Abuja and held incommunicado for several days.
“After social media campaign and legal efforts to secure his release failed, as Mr Daura ignored court orders in that respect, the state government raised alarm that he was dead in custody. It was a few days afterwards that the SSS released the lawmaker without filing charges. He was said to be gravely ill by the time he was released.
“The unconstitutional attempt to remove Governor Samuel Ortom in Benue State last month was also traced to Mr Daura. The former SSS boss was said to have, together with the police, provided security for eight lawmakers to take over the House of Assembly in Makurdi. Though there are 30 members in the House, and eight members are definitely insufficient to form a one-third quorum as required by law.
“Even though the presidency condemned the act as unconstitutional, there was no evidence that any action was taken to discipline those who deployed security resources to that ill-fated mission.
“In September 2015, the Akwa Ibom Government House was raided by SSS operatives in Uyo, the state capital. The agency said it uncovered arms, ammunition and huge stash of United States dollars in some of the rooms. Nearly three years later, the secret police has not filed any charges. Several PDP leaders condemned the action at the time, casting strong doubts on the SSS’ claims.
“Stiff Opposition and Intriguing report on choice of Magu as EFCC Boss. Although he was appointed in November 2015, Ibrahim Magu remains an acting-chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission nearly three years later, largely because of Mr Daura. It was the former SSS boss who wrote ‘security report’ twice to the Senate, warning lawmakers not to confirm his colleague’s appointment.”
The center therefore called for a thorough and forensic probe of the activities of the DSS under Daura “with a view to not only apply redress where necessary, but to ensure that appropriate sanctions are applied, where required, while the entire Security Architecture of the country is revamped and rejigged to meet modern challenges and International standard.”
Lawal Daura was born on 1953, coincidentally in August, in Daura, a town in Katsina State. He was educated at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria before proceeding to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
In 1982, he began his career at the State Security Service and rose to the position of director. In 2003, he was appointed, Deputy Director Presidential Communication, Command and Control Centre at the Presidential Villa, a position he held till 2007.
He reached the peak of his career on July 2, 2015, when he was appointed Director General of the State Security Service, a position he held until August 7, 2018 when he was fired by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for invasion of the National Assembly with his men.
As the era of Daura ends, it must remembered how he turned unstoppable, clearing anyone who crosses his path including his colleague at the EFCC, against whom he wrote a damning report that has prevented him from becoming the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency.
It must also be remembered that he facilitated the return to service of the wanted Abdulrasheed Maina.
In addition, summons by the Senate and House of Assembly has been rebuffed by him. First, in August 05, 2015 the Senate invited him to clarify the role of the DSS in matters of the Rivers state election tribunal.
Again, in March, 2016, the House of Representatives gave him 48 hours to appear before it and explain the alleged invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly by the DSS.
But then, where was the President when all these so called atrocities were being committed. Was the President so incapacitated as Oshiomhole alluded that he could caution him to say the least.
Duara may not feel the impact of his loss today, but in the days to come. He will consider the days that may have gone down as meritorious when he retires; going down the drains as never existed.
When the 2019 General Elections finally arrive, Daura will not be sitting on the billions of naira allocated to the DSS for the conduct of the elections. His predecessor will. That’s if Buhari did not restore him to office when he returns to the country in a few days.