Group alleges big cover up in NIA investigation

A group, the National Patriots’ Forum has raised the alarm over what  it described as a big cover up attempt in the ongoing investigations by the House of Representatives Committee into the appointment of Rufai ahmed as Director General of National Intelligence Agency,NIA.

A statement by Comrade Adewale Benjamin, convener   and  Mustapha S. Tarajo,  co-convener of the Forum released to journalists in Abuja Monday said: “We are constrained to state that reports credited to the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Public Safety and National Intelligence, Honorable Aminu Sani Jaji, to the effect that the embattled Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA has convinced his committee about his nationality, his marital status and his record of service, may not be tenable after all.

“Suffice it to say that, the Chairman of the Committee may have expressed his personal views, without due consultations with other members of the committee, or may have been quoted out of context, as what is happening over the issue have confirmed our fears that there is a big cover up.

“We are aware that those who imposed Rufai Ahmed as the Director General have been going round trying to alter the narrative and change the perception of Nigerians, even as they have been working towards sweeping the matter under the carpet for obvious reasons. But we hasten to state that the flaws in the said appointment were too obvious to ignore, and too glaring to defray.

The statement went further to say,  “To take up Honorable Jaji’s submissions one after the other, we wish to first state that section 2 sub section 1 of the instrument establishing the National Intelligence Agency, NIA states, “The overall command of the National Intelligence Agency, is the Director General who shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on the advice of the National Security Adviser”. By the statement of Honorable Jaji, the Committee interacted with all stakeholders, including the National Security Adviser. In the event that he may have forgotten, members of the committee confided in us that the National Security Adviser flatly denied that he was ever consulted on the matter and the appointment of Abubakar Rufai was not on his advice. This is in gross violation of National Security Agencies Act 1986, cap.278LFN, which established the agency.

“Secondly, while it is true that the $44 million was not missing as we had earlier said it was moved into safe custody, the question that should arise ordinarily is why was the money moved from where it was in the first place? Which place could have been safer to keep such money than the NIA vault? We understand the committee members were adequately briefed on why the money had to be moved and we expected the chairman to have explained same in his briefing to the media.

“Thirdly, there is no ambiguity in the statement by Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Vision FM Radio Hausa programme with Umar Farouk Musa, on Wednesday, January 31st to the effect that Abubakar Rufai Ahmed was born and bred in Chad. It remains incontrovertible also that by virtue of his birth, he is a Chadian. To state otherwise is to either distort history or rewrite his life story.

“Fourthly, we know as a matter of fact that Abubakar Rufai Ahmed transferred his services from Katsina state in 1993, when he was 40 years old according to his records. He claims to have sought and obtained permission to marry in 1995, when he was presumed to be 42 years old. As a Muslim, from Katsina State where early marriage is the practice, is it tenable to say that was his first marriage at 42? It is necessary to ask what his marital status was before 1995 when he claimed to marry his current wife.

“If it is true that, Abubakar Rufai Ahmed joined the NIA in 1993 and retired in 2013, one is bound to ask how comes he was at the UNAMID on full time employment by 2007. Was he on sabbatical or leave of absence? In either case, it was wrong to take up a permanent and pensionable appointment with the UN, while he was still a permanent staff of the NIA.

“In their letter to the committee, serving Directors of the NIA had alerted of plans to clone and fabricate documents in trying to whitewash the new NIA DG. We were surprised that, although conscious of this fact, the Committee Chairman gave Rufai Ahmed a clean bill of health without either subjecting the so called documents to forensic verifications.

The forum asked “Which forensic expert did the verification if it was done and if not, we hasten to state that it was a dangerous assumption. Coming from an agency that has all the facilities to forge and clone all types of documents with professional precision, it is obvious that the honorable members were either hoodwinked or distracted.

“ Whereas the two chambers of the National Assembly were composed to reflect our Federal Character, it is necessary to ask whether the honorable members did question the propriety of the appointment of the headship of two foremost security outfits from the same tribal stock, Local Government and the same state as the President? What happens to Federal Character in this case?

“Another fundamental question to ask is whether the committee obtained a copy of the Ambassador Babagana Kingibe led Review Panel from the Director General, and whether they failed to take note of or deliberately ignored paragraph 4(1), which stated in very clear terms that the Director General of the NIA SHALL be appointed from amongst the core of serving Directors, and whether Abubakar Rufai fits into that category when he was appointed.

“We are aware that as a practice principle, a candidate for the office of the Director General of NIA is supposed to be vetted right from cradle. The agency has admitted that its team did not travel to either Chad or Sudan for the vetting of Abubakar Rufai Ahmed. There is a dark window in the vetting process, which makes it a nullity. The questions to ask here include: how do we account for his childhood and early education. Who did he stay with in Chad besides his parents or guardian? Does he have any fanatical or terrorist tendencies or was any of his family members involved in questionable conducts and could they have at any point used him as a conduit or a Mole?

“ It is rather curious that it did not even occur to  the committee Chairman that it is against the law of natural justice for Rufai Ahmed to  having served as the Secretary of the Committee that recommended for the appointment of the DG from amongst serving Directors to later impose himself as the DG.

“We state without any doubt that Nigerians are not impressed with the lame defenses and the attendant cover up of the fraud that characterized the appointment of Abubakar Rufai Ahmed as the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, and we will not hesitate to expose any attempt to cover it up at any point. We owe this as a duty to our great country Nigeria, and for the love of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the ultimate loser in this game of intrigues.”