NIA: My records verifiable, former DG Dauda speaks at last, narrates ordeals

The former Nigeria Ambassador to the Chad Republic, Mohammed Dauda, Saturday, set the record straight on why he has remained silent over what he called vile allegations leveled against him.

Dauda’s response in a statement personally signed by him was coming less than 72 hours after an Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal delivered a verdict in his favour.

Dated 23rd June 2023 and caption RE: MOHAMMED DAUDA
UNMASKING THE FACE BEHIND FRIVOLOUS NIA PETITIONS: THE RIGHT TO REPLY, the embattled former acting Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) insisted that he is a professional with verifiable records.

Dauda said: “Let me start by stating that I am a patriotic Nigerian, who, as a loyal and dedicated officer of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, has never done and will never do anything detrimental to National Security and Integrity of Nigeria. I must confess that, Nigeria: my dear country has done so much for me, for which I have also put in my best, in service throughout my career in the Public service. I have no grudge whatsoever against the NIA or the government as institutions. I owe alot to my country.

“In the last four years or there about, since I left the service of the NIA: albeit unceremoniously, I have been under tremendous pressure from friends and well-wishers, to counter the propaganda being orchestrated by media hirelings of the leadership of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), against me. But, knowing that, they were mere attempts to cover up the crass ineptitude, nepotism, impunity, tyranny and administrative rascality and impunity, that is taking place at the nation’s apex Intelligence agency, I often did not find it necessary to respond to some of the vile allegations.

“Although it is an open secret that, the NIA has been suffering bad press, following my removal as the Ag. Director General and my subsequent purported dismissal from the NIA, I find it rather strange, that I am being painted as the culprit behind the negative media, to the extent that I have been branded a saboteur of National Security, for choosing to remain silent in the face of all the vilifications. An issue that the FCA, have cleared me thoroughly.

“It is a universal truism, that, when lies are repeatedly told and allowed to fester for too long, without any form of exposure, challenge or contradiction, some gullible minds are bound to begin seeing and believing such lies, as being the truth. It is in the face of this fact, and the continuous recirculation of these falsehood, that I have chosen to reluctuntly respond to some of the fallacies being repeatedly circulated in the media, to the effect that, I have been the masked face behind petitions, or write-ups that pose security risks. Sometimes silence is not golden, especially when it is about protecting ones integrity and countering falsehood.

“I take particular exception to one of such unprofessionally scripted piece, entitled: “MOHAMMED DAUDA: UNMASKING THE FACE BEHIND FRIVOLOUS NIA PETITIONS”, co-authored by one Ismaila Iliyasu and Ekenna Ellis Ezenekwe. Both characters in the said piece do appear to be insiders or even staff of the NIA. In the said write up, the authors claimed to have undertaken a painstakingly discreet investigation, and interviewed people who are knowledgeable and authoritative on the subject matter, even as they further claimed to have laid their hands on UNIMPEACHABLE documents.

“As a professional; with a verifiable record of tremendous outing, and as a former boss at the NIA, I must confess that I was least impressed, with what I read, as being the accounts of what the writers claimed they discovered. As a matter of fact, that piece was the shabbiest piece of investigation I have ever seen: may be, next to the doctored findings of the so-called investigative panel that sat and recommended for my dismissal. If they are indeed NIA Staff and that is the kind of intelligence they give this country to use in policy planning and direction, then we are in serious problem.

“It should be embarrassing to whoever wrote the script and gave them to adopt as their finding, that even records of events which are public knowledge, could not be accurately reflected, especially the claim that, I was appointed as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Chad by President Muhammadu Buhari. Apparently trying to garnish their seeming ignorance, they wrote, “a crucial post in view of our two countries’ close cooperation in the fight against insurgency, he gladly accepted the appointment, even though there were other, more worthy people that President Buhari could have appointed”.

“As far as I know, being the appointee in question, and as far as the records show, I was appointed Nigeria’s Ambassador to Chad by former Pres. Goodluck Jonathan in May, 2014. Pres. Buhari could not have appointed me in May 2014, one year before he became the President of Nigeria. At the time of my appointment, I was the D1, Regions at the NIA headquarters: effectively the third in rank, after the then DG, Amb. EO Oladeji and Amb. Ayo Oke. Each time the two were out of town, I had been the one in charge of all operations at the NIA headquarters. There was no other person above me. I will be correct to therefore say, that, nothing could have been further from the truth, in trying to say there were others more worthy of being appointed.

“I wish to place it on record that, I had protested the earlier appointment of a female Ambassador, who was lower than me in rank to a neighboring French speaking country before me. I was only pacified with the explanation that, the lady, who had failed her Deputy Directorship exams, once, at the time, was appointed on the insistence of her lover, a former NSA, as a consolation prize, after he failed to get Presidential approval to appoint her as the DG, or even one of the two DDG’s. I also did not understand their concept of worthiness, but it could not have been worse than that of someone who left the NIA as a relatively junior officer, under controversial and shady circumstances, having failed promotion examinations three times consecutively. The same exams that I passed at the first sitting. How this “more worthy” guy rebound, dubiously, through the back door, as Head of the Agency, is still inexplicable. May be this abracadabra, or ‘government magic’ according to late Fela will be unraveled someday.

“The two so-called investigators also claimed to have found out that I emptied the vaults of the NIA, by moving $44 million to another location, without due authorization and before proper audit of our accounts, immediately I was sacked. I recall that, in exhibiting their crass ignorance of the workings of the NIA and the circumstances surrounding that action, a particular analyst, apparently also a hireling of the NIA leadership, had even tried comparing the movement of that money, to a situation in the Central Bank of Nigeria, where the Governor moves money out of the CBN after his or her sack.

“As I earlier explained in one of my responses to the National Assembly’s inquiries on the $44million, I wish to restate that I moved the money to the office of the National Security Adviser, for three reasons, for safe keep, after Gen Jaafaru, who was sent purposely to NIA, to safe guard the controversial money(which was not actually part of our budgetary allocation), was suddenly withdrawn back to ONSA, and also to create a witness out of it, being the supervisory Office of all Security Agencies, under the law. I knew that to be a big risk, but given the circumstances I found myself in, where highly placed individuals: including those who eventually determined my fate, showed unreserved interest in siphoning the money: by asking me to make available parts of it for their personal uses, I felt a compelling urge to save public funds, by taking it away from the reach of these people (even if temporarily), who were to take charge of the agency following my exit.

“It also seems that, the authors of that so-called investigative findings, were not conversant with the story of how the matter got to the National Assembly, and possibly through the National Assembly into the public domain. Let me state, that, I did not go to the National Assembly on my own volition, neither did I write a petition as they claimed, rather, I was invited(subpoenaed), by a committee of the House on National Security and Intelligence via an invitation letter Ref. No. NASS/HR/8/CT.80/IV/325, of 18th of January, 2018.

Dauda stated further: “Signed by a member of the Committee, Hon. Usman Danjuma Shiddi, the invitation, under the heading “NEED TO INVESTIGATE THE ALLEGED CARTING AWAY OF $44 MILLION FROM NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (NIA), I was directed to unfailingly appear before the committee, with all relevant documents relating to the issue, on 29th January, 2018 at 1pm.

“Let me state for the avoidance of doubt, that, there had been serious pressures mounted on me not to appear before the committee, by people I had mentioned in my earlier report, before another investigative agency, about the $44 million in question. I even received several threats, but I eventually honored the invitation and made my presentation on oath, before the committee, after which, i was asked to submit 17 copies of my presentation to the Committee. Whatever became of the report I made, was never known to me. It is therefore very unfair and most uncharitable to accuse me of leaking my presentation( which they called petition), to the media or to the public: whichever was the case.

“Permit me to place it on record that, I did not write any petition to the National Assembly. I did not leak the contents of my presentation before the Committee to the press or the public, neither did I ever release documents or postings. As a matter of fact, I do not have access to any NIA documents, since my removal in 2018, and I could not have leaked what I did not have. I have been subjected to all sorts of media trials, ostensibly sponsored by the NIA leadership, through sponsored articles and reports: thereby subjecting me to further psychological tortures. The facts about what was happening in the NIA was deliberately shielded from the Government, making its decisions prejudiced against me, just as some public perception has been poisoned against me.

“In seeming further display of their ignorance, or out of sheer mischief, the sponsored authors opined that, I acted for only one month as Ag. Director General of the NIA. I was there for 54 eventful days from 7th November, 2017 to the date I effectively handed over. But even if I had acted for only one day, no one said, I was removed for incompetence, corruption or ineptitude, or that the person that they were in a hurry to bring, as my replacement, was better or more qualified than me. The records of what I did in the agency and their impact on the Agency and its Staffers is a story for another day.

“IlIyasu et al also wrote that my appointment was not backed by any formal correspondence in the form of a letter from the Presidency. That is a fact. But just like all my predecessors, appointments of DGs have been seamless, for almost 36 years of the existence of the Agency, at that time. The most senior person automatically steps in. A letter of confirmation usually follow later. It is therefore not an anathema, that I was directed to assume leadership via electronic or verbal message, like others before me. I recalled the same situation with Amb. Uche Okeke, who later served for eight years as DG, I was one of those who conveyed a similar verbal message to him, while he was the Ambassador in Romania, to come down and take charge, following the retirement of his predecessor, Amb. Preware. In the almost 40 years of the existence of the NIA, it was the first time that ” the goal post was shifted in the middle of a game”. Just to accommodate an imposter, whose only qualifications is being the President’s Brother.

“No one brings a disgraced failure, through the back door to head the NIA. It is the first time that someone who was never a Director or an Ambassador, was brought out of forced retirement to lord it over bona fide Directors and Staff of the NIA. May be it is the same game plan that they were preparing for the FORMER RECHARGE CARD seller.

“They accused me of shunning the disciplinary committee set up by the present DG to probe me. As an intelligence officer, who has vast contacts within and without the NIA, I was aware that the said disciplinary committee now legally declared illegal, by all the Courts, had a preconceived mission, which was to recommend for my dismissal and to rubbish my career. Looking at the assemblage of the distressed hatchet men coopted to be on the committee (including a convicted self confessed criminal, who stole and refunded more than N500m from Falcon Eye Project, at the ONSA), coupled with the fact that it negated laid down rules as contained in the NIA establishment Act(CAPS 278), 1986, I decided not to glorify their findings by giving it a semblance of legitimacy and fairness, by attending.

“The coinage, Special Management Staff Disciplinary Committee(SMSDC), was not only strange to our procedures at the NIA, but a negation of the law, just as the assemblage of its members completely fell out of the provisions of the National Securities Act (CAPS 278), 1986: which governs such matters. The Act does not give any retired Directors any role in pure administrative schedules at the NIA, to wit recruitment, vetting or discipline, neither does the NSC Act, obliges the agency to continue footing bills for medical checkups, children’s’ school fees, family burials and many others, of officers long after their disengagement, as is presently being done, in addition to hundreds of thousands of Dollars, being shared to Traditional Rulers and family and friends all over the Country, all in the futile efforts of the DG to legitimize, what is illegitimate and Lauder his badly soiled corruption ridden image.

“I will draw my conclusions on this matter by referring to the judgment of the Hon. Judge of the National Industrial Court, while ruling on my suit challenging my purported dismissal; to the effect that implied that an organization, including the NIA cannot create its own laws to try anyone, when the Establishment Act had already made adequate provisions for that requirement. That was the crux of the judgment which, confirmed the Committee as a mere “kangaroo court” and ordered my immediate re-instatement as a Director at the NIA, an order that was unanimously upheld by the Hon. Justices of the Federal Court of Appeal

“On the issues raised by the release issued by the NIA(DG/CG/1/VOL.5) of 22nd June, 2023. As usual. I am always the “punching bag’. They are already accusing me of manipulating the FCA judgment, that I was not present in the Court, when it was issued, nor was I even in the country. I am even yet to see the CTC of the judgement, as they also admitted, how can I then manipulate the judgement, its outcome or what the press said or wrote. If the press, that carried the information, made any misrepresentations of the court ruling or published what they understood as the ruling, what then is my fault there?

“I guess the best thing they could have done, is to state their positions, after thoroughly studying the CTC.

“I can’t be responsible for what the press wrote as their understanding of the judgement. Additionally, it is also absolutely untrue that there is an outstanding or remaining issue that is not adjudicated, as far as the Federal Court of Appeal is concerned. Unfortunately for them, it is the last Court that will deal with this matter. They will not have the opportunity to manipulate and delay another case for another four years. The remaining unadjucated case is just a figment of their own imagination, not in any law court in Nigeria. I guess they will tell our lawyers, which Court the lingering unknown unadjucated is, when we write to them to demand for the implementation of CourtOrder.

“I wish to take this opportunity to boldly state, for the avoidance of doubts that, I have never written or cause to be written, any petition, or press statement: and I will never do so: on any matter that may tend to compromise national Security. I left the NIA as it’s Acting DG almost six years ago, and since then, I did not have any access to any document or correspondences of the NIA. In any case I have no reason, at all, to fight my Country Nigeria or it’s people, just because I disagreed with what I see as a gross injustice, by the former administration. Governments come and go, but the Country remains.

“The circumstances that trailed my appointment, and the stormy relationship I had with some very powerful people in Government, over my refusal to avail public funds for their personal uses and my eventual removal and replacement with the Secretary of the Committee that sought to squander the funds, gave me the impression, that, my remaining as the DG of NIA was a threat to some selfish quests. I was so easily removed for no reason at all, because I had no godfather, working in a Government which is averse to being incorruptible, as I wanted to be. But I leave judgment for posterity.

“I know as a matter of fact that all the falsehood being bandied about me shall definitely crash, in the fullness of time. In the meantime, my candid advice to the management of the NIA and indeed the sponsors of the callous campaign of calumny against my person, to employ professionalism in handling all matters, and not rely on the mischievous opinions of hirelings, in the desperate attempt to change the flowing narrative about the saga, arising from my purported dismissal.

“I will respond to other matters subsequently; now that I have decided to finally open up, if only to correct the erroneous impressions being created about the matter. Truth has only one color but falsehood has to be garnished in so many forms in addressing issues bordering on injustices and attendant deficiencies in the NIA, as it is.

” I remain a patriotic, loyal and dedicated Nigerian, always willing to salvage my country from the corruption that is eating deep into our national fabric,”