“The DSS, in its report, specifically said Magu was not fit for the EFCC chairmanship was an insult on President Buhari, alleging that his activities had made him ineligible to hold the office,” a national daily, January 25, 2017, p 7.
President Buhari representation of Magu’s name, to the Senate, for confirmation, as well as his written defense of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, had provoked an unprecedented avalanche of insults on a sitting elected President of Nigeria which could have been avoided totally.
For now, the matter of the SGF would be left untouched. But, all the verbal and written maledictions President Buhari had received for representing Magu to the Senate can be placed squarely on the door step of the Department of State Services, DSS – and more specifically its Director General, Mr Daura.
There can be no dispute that President Buhari presented Magu’s name after deciding that the fellow had done a good job.
There can also be no argument that it was expected that before presenting Magu’s name Buhari would have consulted all the security agencies requesting for any information about Magu before making his decision to have the man confirmed.
The first question is: was the DSS asked to file a report on Magu and did it before the President placed his reputation on the line by nominating Magu? The answer can be either yes or no. If the President did not ask for security files reports, then he deserves all the insults and people like Professor Sagay and Falana now defending him had missed the boat completely.
Something went wrong in the presidency at the beginning. If, on the other hand, the DSS had been asked to investigate and file a confidential report about Magu, only two things might have occurred. The report was either favourable or it wasn’t.
Some questions logically follow from those observations. Were those reports favourable, meaning clearing Magu’s name to be presented, or unfavourable, meaning that the DSS had reservations about Magu’s fitness for office? The presidency must tell Nigerians and Senators what really happened.
Did the DSS file a damaging report and was overruled by Buhari instead of asking Magu to clear his name through an institutionalized evaluation process? If so, President Buhari again deserves the insults.
He should have ordered an independent investigation of the allegations made by the DSS against Magu before forwarding his name.
Then, what the DSS did, writing a damaging report to the Senate, would have amounted to total subversion of government’s purposes. As matters stand right now, the DSS action is still subversive because it is not expected that any security officer would leak information to outsiders which would nullify a decision of the President.
Whatever might be Mr Daura’s reasons, ‘’patriotism’’, vendetta, self-interest etc, he should never have written to the Senate without clearance from President Buhari on a matter already decided by the Head of State. The current controversy about Magu had been the handiwork of the DSS whether deliberate or inadvertent. And, the damage can never be undone.
With all due respects to Sagay and Falana, Magu’s position had already been tainted either with good reasons or with malice by the DSS.
Henceforth, many individuals charged by the EFCC will always point to the fact that the man in charge had been “exposed” as totally untrustworthy by another agency of the Federal Government. To be quite candid, the President has one of two choices to make.
He can either decide that the DSS had been mischievous and had caused his government a major embarrassment – in which case the DG-DSS should go. Or he can admit that the DSS was right and Magu is unfit – in which case Magu should go.
Without having all the facts at my disposal, I am inclined to think that the DSS is the villain in this matter. For evidence, reproduced below are excerpts from an article written in December 2015 warning Buhari about his nephew DG-DSS. It has become prophetic and it might not be the last time Buhari’s image would be damaged by the DSS.
The effectiveness of a national security organization is determined by the accuracy of its reports. By the time the FBI breaks into any premises, it had gathered sufficient and reliable information to violate the fundamental rights of the occupants.
Scotland Yard would never arrest first, on spurious charges, and later run around for evidence. That is standard operating procedure in any democracy. The Department of State Services, DSS, in Nigeria, especially since May 29, 2015, still cannot understand that this is a democracy and there is a constitution and there are laws that must be obeyed by all – including the DSS.
Its leaders seem to operate under the mistaken belief that since a former military Head of State is back in office, they have impunity. I have bad news for them. There had been a major change since May 29, 1999. We have been trying our best to practice democracy. We don’t want anybody to take us back to draconian governance.
They have done it at least four times in the last seven months by arresting various individuals, detaining them, making exaggerated claims about alleged crimes those individuals were said to have committed.
They have followed this up, each and every time, by going to court to oppose bail for offences that allow bail to the accused persons and refusing to release them when granted bail.
The first question to ask is: in whose interests is the DSS acting? That said let me list the four major assaults on individuals and buildings which have now become the subject of front page news nationwide – while creating tension everywhere.
The first was the invasion of the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge. After which a spokesman for the DSS made an announcement that, acting on reliable information, they invaded the premises and discovered arms and ammunition, as well as stacks of money in foreign currency. The arms we were even told were in such quantities as to threaten national security.
More than five months after, nobody had been charged to court and the matter died a natural death. Why? The answer is simple: it was a lie. If not the DSS should come out and prove its charges. “I disapprove of what you say, but, I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Francois Voltaire, 1694-1778. VBQ, p 218.
The second is the on-going drama about Biafra and the detention of the leaders of the agitation for self-determination. Personally, I think the agitation for Biafra is misguided and will not solve the Igbo problem.
But, all my adult life had been spent insisting on the fundamental human rights of people. That includes the right to self-determination. It will be sad if Igbo people leave Nigeria, but, like the Israelites leaving Egypt, Pakistanis departing India and Southern Cameroun bidding Nigeria good-bye, it will not be the end of the world. If the majority of Igbos still want to go, after a referendum, Nigeria should let them…