Dauragate And The Shame Of A Nation By Reuben Abati

The week that just passed will for long be remembered as perhaps the most momentous week in the history of the Muhammadu Buhari administration since 2015. Exactly a week ago, officers of the Department of State Security Services (DSS), acting under the instructions of their boss at the time, Lawal Daura, wearing hoods, stormed the premises of the National Assembly in Abuja, Gestapo-style, occupied the place and resorted to the harassment of National assembly workers, members of the Legislative Assembly who had rushed to the place, and civil society groups that heard of the assault and decided to witness the special drama that was unfolding.

A few days earlier, the Presidency had made a special appeal to the National Assembly to cut short its vacation, and return to consider some urgent national matters, including the approval of the supplementary budget to accommodate expenditure for the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The leadership of the National Assembly took a favourable view of this request and chose to meet last Tuesday at 12 noon to take a decision accordingly. But that meeting never held. Unknown to the Senators in particular, other people had other plans. By 6 am, gun-wielding, mask-wearing DSS officials had taken over the National Assembly. There have been many conspiracy theories, reports and conflicting accounts about this incident. What is clear is that what we are left with, what we can hang on to  – are very embarrassing conclusions about the integrity of public institutions, the state of our democracy, the quality of leadership and the bad politics that stands in the way of everything else.

The assault on the National Assembly by the Department of State Security has been rightly condemned by all and sundry.  It was indeed an assault on the sovereignty of the Nigerian people, to the extent that the National Assembly is the work-place of the elected representatives of the people of Nigeria. That also was a violation of the principle of the separation of powers, and a coup attempt against the rule of law. It was an illegal and unconstitutional act, and can be rightly labeled an act of treasonable felony. The allegation by the now dismissed, and detained former Director General of the State Security Services that he acted based on an intelligence report that there was a plan by some people to smuggle dangerous weapons and incriminating items into the National Assembly remains unproven. If anything, his action has thoroughly embarrassed the Buhari government. The biggest victim of that act of indiscretion is the President himself.  Dauragate is by far, one of the worst “own goals” by this administration.

It is worse that the Presidency had to disown Lawal Daura and sack him immediately. The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo described the seizure of the National Assembly as “unlawful and unauthorized.” The Acting President, being a student of history, must have realized that each time the Executive arm of government takes on the legislature in such a physically violent manner, it is the entire government that is about to be violently destroyed. This was part of the problem in the Western region in 1964/1965. Despite the attempt by the administration to distance itself completely from Lawal Daura, however, so much damage has been done already from which the government cannot extricate itself. Nigeria has been put to shame.

The international community must be wondering what kind of people are actually in charge in Nigeria. The relationship between the legislature and the executive arms of government at the centre, not at any time a good example, has been further damaged. The National Assembly, battling with the politics of defection at the same time, is seriously overwhelmed by an unmistakable crisis of confidence among its members.  Nobody should be surprised that the Senate has not yet made up its mind whether to reconvene or not, since what is more important to some elements in Abuja is the plot to impeach the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. The situation was bad, but Dauragate made it worse. There is no doubt that the Buhari government has unwittingly made itself lame-duck. Daura has further eroded the government’s legitimacy.

What I find curious is the Presidency saying that the former DG SSS’s action was “unauthorized.”  Should an unlawful and unprovoked attack on the National Assembly ever be authorized? No, I don’t think so. Can or should the head of state security services, who is in addition a member of the National Security Council, chaired by the President, and who is duty bound to submit daily national security reports to some persons and share information with same persons who are on the list of government personnel with a “need-to-know” access to state secrets go on a frolic of his own, in a manner that jeopardises state interest and embarrasses his principal? No, I don’t think so. I also cannot imagine that Lawal Daura spent any part of his life as a professional herdsman, where he possibly may have learnt such tactics as he put on display recently. I have also not heard that he spent some time in Nollywood either as an actor or producer, to learn the kind of histrionics that he and his men staged at the National Assembly. There is definitely a lot more to this matter that no one has told us.

State security is not something to be trifled with because on it rests the stability of the state. “Intelligence” is also not such a casual phrase as deployed by Nigeria’s security chiefs. It cannot become a blanket excuse for misconduct. Michael Warner in an essay titled: “Wanted: A definition of intelligence” (see Christopher Andrew, Richard J. Aldrich and Wesley K. Wark (eds), Secret Intelligence: A Reader, London and NY: Routledge, 2009, 552 pp.) writes that “Intelligence involves information, yes, obviously it is far more”. He adds: “It is what people do with data and information that gives them the special quality that we casually call “intelligence”.

I interpret that by saying it is not the information in itself that constitutes “intelligence” but how exactly the information is used. On August 7, the Department of State Security Services and Lawal Daura acted unintelligently.  But I am tempted still to give Daura the benefit of the doubt in one regard: could he possibly be a fall guy? Is it possible every one was part of the plot all the way to London  as part of the get-rid-of-Saraki-by-all-means-plot, and when the shit hit the fan, Daura had to be sacrificed? How the Daura case is handled going forward will either prove or disprove this hypothesis.  If he is suddenly rehabilitated or nothing is done further about the incident, then of course we would know we have been sold a dummy and we shall return here to point out their hypocrisy.

But should Daura be guilty as alleged, then we would certainly be dealing with a major crisis at the heart of government. First, the abuse of strategic public institutions which seems to be a growing norm. Second, the personalization of state institutions; third – the danger that the politicization of strategic institutions poses to the entire polity, and fourth, how easily the government can be hijacked by power mongers.  I make this point with an intention to link it to the statement made by Senate President Bukola Saraki to the effect that there is “a-government-within-the-government”.

Saraki is simply saying that President Muhammadu Buhari is not in charge of his own government, that some other people are in charge, and they are so powerful that they give orders to the Director-General of the State Security Services to act in defiance or without the knowledge of the President.  Daura has had a long career in the security services. It cannot be assumed that he does not understand protocols and procedures.  But the tragedy we face is that those who are supposed to work professionally to protect the state often abandon procedures and protocols and become politicians or agents of those who run “government-within-government” and hence threaten the integrity of the same state they are supposed to protect and defend. This is the short and long of it.

Dauragate should serve as an entry point therefore, into a full audit of the activities of our various law enforcement agencies, not just the Department of State Security Services, but also the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the police, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Immigration and Customs. Daura’s acting successor, Matthew Seiyefa, has already alluded to the rot in the SSS when he practically threw his former boss, Lawal Daura under the bus. He did when he publicly admitted that there are too many cases of illegal detentions and human rights abuses involving the SSS and his first task would be to address these cases and ensure that the SSS under his watch respects the rule of law and the right of all Nigerians to dignity and fundamental rights. Given his previous and present position, we believe Seiyefa knows what he is talking about. He should be encouraged to do as he has promised.  Femi Falana, SAN has already provided him with a list of persons in SSS detention who should be set free, including Colonel Sambo Dasuki, El Zakzaky and his wife. To that list should be added James Abiri and all victims of political persecution.  Seiyefa needs not wait a day longer, and he must resist the temptation to tell us what we want to hear in order to gain some legitimacy.

But the full audit that I call for is not something to be handled by either the police or the EFCC. The EFCC is obviously claiming a moral victory over Lawal or so it seems. But the EFCC has its own issues. For example, shutting down the accounts of Benue and Akwa Ibom states was a coup against autonomous components of the country, clearly in violation of Section 14 of the Nigerian Constitution. Why the coincidence that this happened shortly after APC members in Benue state defected to the Peoples Democratic party?  This in itself calls for an investigation. The Acting President must not cherry-pick. The higher loyalty must be to God, conscience, and the people because those in charge today will, tomorrow, also become yesterday’s men, and what they sow today is what they will reap tomorrow, most certainly.

The audit cannot also be assigned to the Inspector-General of Police who obviously has been gloating over Daura’s fate, and has been acting in a holier-than-thou manner. As they say on the streets, Ibrahim Idris should go and sit down! He lacks both the moral and technical integrity to sit in judgement over Daura. There is nothing that Daura has done that he himself is not guilty of. In the course of work, he has also in various ways, undermined the integrity of the National Assembly and at the state level, he should answer these questions: what role did his men play in the Ekiti election? And were his men not reported to have provided protection for the eight members of the Benue State House of Assembly who just recently wanted to impeach the Governor, Samuel Ortom, illegally? He says the Police have investigated and interrogated Lawal Daura and he has submitted an Interim Report to the Acting President, Professor Osinbajo. I find his interim report inadequate and shoddy.

I am embarrassed that Professor Osinbajo actually accepted the Report and intends to pay attention to it. He should have “transmissioned” it back immediately to the “olodo rapata” that wrote it, and ask that all the grammatical errors in it be corrected and a clean copy be “transmissioned” back to him. The office of the Inspector-General of Police is a very important office.  And yet a report comes from that office, signed and circulated in the public domain and it contains such grammatical monsters as “weep up sentiment”; “did conspired”, “on a claimed of”, “used…conspired, “hoods and marks”; took strategic location of”; experts or specialist.” I am shocked that the Inspector-General of Police appended his signature to this document… but come to think of it, I worry too much, the man himself probably doesn’t know better. They don’t speak English in this government. They just play with power, guns and bullets.

I insist that Dauragate is not so much about the man and his foibles, rather it is a metaphor for something far deeper which must be isolated, contained, cauterized and disallowed from cancer-like mestasization – in order to save Nigeria. The gangrene eating at the heart of everything, and the thing that hangs around the neck of this government are so easily decipherable, no one will need the services of a marabout to know what to do.

It is up to President Buhari to identify those who have constituted themselves into a “government within (his) government” making him look weak and distracted, acting in defiance of or without regard for his authority; I mean all those formal and informal power brokers who seem to be busy making enemies for him and ridiculing him in the eyes of the world. These are persons Nigerians will forget as soon as they are out of power and relevance. But they will remember Muhammadu Buhari and the mandate they gave him in 2015 – and what he did with it.   I urge President Buhari to cut short his trip to London and come back home to put an end to this disturbing drift. This is not the right time to remain on vacation.

Kano Uncovers $1million Stashed In Ukraine By Kwankwaso

Kano state government said it has discovered the sum of over $1 million allegedly paid by former governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to a university in Ukraine where no Kano state student was studying.

The senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Higher Education, Dr. Hussaini Akilu Jarma, let the cat out of bag, Tuesday, during the inauguration of the State Scholarship Disbursement Committee.

Jarma said the questionable payment was made by Kwankwaso as part of his foreign scholarship programme.

A statement by Abba Anwar, chief press secretary to the Kano state Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said, “Investigation reveals that a sum of $1,304,618 was abandoned in one University in Ukraine, when the sum was taken there during the last administration in the state.”

“No student was sent to the university at all. The money was sent unattended and un-utilised. We said business should not be as usual anymore,” he added.

In his remarks, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje lampooned Kwankwaso for incurring debt of over N4 billion to the state with his foreign scholarship program which he said was “planned to fail”.

“When we came in we were told that the past administration paid everything. But when we conducted an investigation we came to realise that, that statement was not true”

“The programme was not planned in accordance with organised educational system. The arrangement was poorly done, in such a way that, it was not planned to succeed.

“The programme was deliberately planned to fail. One can question the wisdom behind sending our students to study areas like Economics, for example, and other similar courses while we can have better universities that run the courses within the country.”

Ganduje also complained that while other states withdrew their students from foreign universities due to exorbitant cost, Kano managed to allow its students to proceed with their education at such universities despite the huge cost.

“They (other states) withdrew their students back home already. But we, in Kano, we said since it was an agreement reached between the state and those universities, we decided to continue with that, though under harsh economic condition that is affecting the country,” he lamented.

“Though we are paying in tears, but we have to maintain that. Because it was an agreement reached between Kano and the institutions. That is why we are calling on parents to also chip in and contribute towards attaining that. We are doing our best, while paying salary without any hindrance to our workers we are still paying outstanding debts on the foreign students. So also to other domestic universities.

“Those that are playing politics with this foreign scholarship issue, is either they are not conversant with the happenings in the circle of higher education or they pass through university not university passing through them,”

He expressed disgust on why Kwankwaso should send students to such an  expensive foreign universities to study courses like economics and political science, while “we have better universities in the country that give more quality education”.

Ganduje, said his administration inherited 1,130 foreign students from Kwankwaso’s government who were sent to various universities like China’s Shenyang University and SSIMS & RC, India’s Galgotias University and NOIDA University, Cyprus’s Near East University and UTM.

Others were sent to Malaysia’s Malaya University and Lincoln University, Uganda’s Kampala University, Egypt’ s October 6 University, Al-Mansoura University, El-Razi University and Al-Ahfad University, Sudan’s Omdurman University, National University and Niger Republic’s Maryam Abacha University.

For the Nigerian private universities the total debt of Seven Hundred and Sixty Three Million, Four Hundred and Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy One Naira (N763, 408,371) was paid as a debt being inherited from the immediate past administration. These are universities like Crescent University, Abeokuta, American University of Nigeria, Al-Qalam University, among others.

3.7m Nigerians Face Food Insecurity

Abdullahi made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the Second Conference of the “Feed the future Nigeria agricultural policy project organised by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

He noted that several factors drove the nations challenging food and nutrition outlook.

He said it includes civic conflicts, climate change, and large scale of displacement, others are high food prices, poverty and high population amongst others.

Abdullahi commended President Muhammadu Buhari for establishing  the National Food Security Council to address the challenges in the sector.

He said to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security, there is need to maintain and strengthen the multi-sectoral approach to food security and nutritional policy.

“We need to examine the intricacies of livelihoods issues of our citizens to design workable policy frameworks.

“We also need to discuss the role of governance in achieving food security, creating space for interaction between different actors linked by common discourse,’’ he said.

Abdullahi disclosed that the Eight Senate has passed several bills that would support the Nations food and nutrition security efforts.

He observed that the issue of food security and nutrition is an urgent and continuous theme that must be daily emergency for any government.

“Food security and nutrition must be tagged urgent because people, population and environmental dynamics will continue to make it so.

“It must be continuous because survival is a continuous issue and so long as humanity exist the subject remains stuck with us,’’ he said.

He said the move has become imperative because food security has been identified as a huge problem in Nigeria, as the country ranked 84th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index.

Abdullahi said Nigeria came in just below the Republic of Congo.

The three day conference is being attended by 100 experts from various sectors of agriculture to work on collaborative research for agricultural policy in Nigeria.

Abdullahi made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the Second Conference of the “Feed the future Nigeria agricultural policy project organised by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

He noted that several factors drove the nations challenging food and nutrition outlook.

He said it includes civic conflicts, climate change, and large scale of displacement, others are high food prices, poverty and high population amongst others.

Abdullahi commended President Muhammadu Buhari for establishing  the National Food Security Council to address the challenges in the sector.

He said to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security, there is need to maintain and strengthen the multi-sectoral approach to food security and nutritional policy. to discuss the role of governance in achieving food security, creating space

“We need to examine the intricacies of livelihoods issues of our citizens to design workable policy frameworks.

“We also need for interaction between different actors linked by common discourse,’’ he said.

Abdullahi disclosed that the Eight Senate has passed several bills that would support the Nations food and nutrition security efforts.

He observed that the issue of food security and nutrition is an urgent and continuous theme that must be daily emergency for any government.

“Food security and nutrition must be tagged urgent because people, population and environmental dynamics will continue to make it so.

“It must be continuous because survival is a continuous issue and so long as humanity exist the subject remains stuck with us,’’ he said.

He said the move has become imperative because food security has been identified as a huge problem in Nigeria, as the country ranked 84th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index.

Abdullahi said Nigeria came in just below the Republic of Congo.

The three day conference is being attended by 100 experts from various sectors of agriculture to work on collaborative research for agricultural policy in Nigeria.

Biodun Fatoyinbo Under Fire For Asking Student To Sow N500k As Seeds

OAP/Leader of the Free the Sheeple movement, Daddy Freeze has become even more famous for battle with ‘men of God’ who ask for anything financial from their members so it is not new that he posted a video that has now caused a lot of issues on social media.

He shared a video of an Abuja-based clergyman, Biodun Fatoyinbo, asking students to sow seeds of N500k.

Nigerian celebrities including skuki, Peeshaun, took this up and went the extra mile to call on the Economics and Finacial Crimes Commission to see to the offence under section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code.

The pastor has still not said anything about the vidoe to try to clear the air or shed more light on the reason for targetting students to sow seeds as high as N500k.

 

Suspected Kidnapper Alleged Of Taking “Tramadol” Dies In Police Custody

The Police in Ondo State say a suspected kidnapper who was arrested in a botched kidnap attempt in Owo is dead following complications from a high intake of tramadol.

Reports say that the suspect had been unconscious since his arrest over the Aug. 5 incident at a chemist in Owo.

Mr Femi Joseph, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for Ondo State Command, made the death public while speaking with our medium on Tuesday in Akure

According to Joseph, the suspect died at Owo General Hospital where medical personnel had battled to revive him.

“The suspect died nine days after we arrested him; we thought he would be revived so that he could help us in our investigation.

“ Unfortunately, he died yesterday (Monday). This could be connected with the high intake of tramadol which he took.”

Ciara Rocks Super Eagles’ Nike Tracksuit

American singer Ciara has been spotted wearing the Nike made Nigeria’s National football team super eagles.

Recall that the jersey was sold out almost immediately it was out and had various celebrities both foreign and local artist taking pictures with.

The singer who recently collaborated with Nigerian artist Tekno and it appears that she’s loving all things Nigerian. She shared a photo of herself posing with her husband Russell Wilson and kids, Future and Sienna.

DJ Cuppy And Boyfriend Asa Asika’s Loved Up Spaghetti Pictures Trend On Social Media

DJ Cuppy and her boyfriend, Asa Asika just broke the internet with pictures where they recreated the popular spaghetti scene in Disney’s animated feature ‘Lady and the Tramp.”

The animation was a canine love story about two dogs from very different worlds that were united by dire circumstances and a romantic plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

Bakayoko Moves To AC Milan, Ends Disappointing Chelsea Spell

France international Tiemoue Bakayoko has signed on loan for AC Milan, the resurgent Serie A side announced on Monday, bringing an end to the midfielder’s frustrating spell at Chelsea.

Milan have signed the 23-year-old for a reported initial five million euros ($5.7 million) with an option to buy for a further 35 million euros next summer.

Bakayoko leaves Chelsea after making 29 Premier League appearances for the Blues but failing to recapture the form that prompted the London club to pay Monaco a reported £40 million for his services last summer.

He was left out of the squad by new coach Maurizio Sarri for Chelsea’s opening fixture at Huddersfield on Saturday as his replacement Jorginho scored in a comfortable 3-0 win.

Milan hope Bakayoko will help them reclaim their position at the top of the Italian game following years of strife on and off the pitch.

Last year they finished sixth in Serie A despite the around 200 million euros spent on new players by the disastrous Chinese consortium that bought the club from former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in April 2017.

That led to them falling foul of Uefa’s financial fair play regulations and being booted from this season’s Europa League.

However since hedge fund Elliot Management took control of Milan last month following missed payments from the previous owners, the seven-times European champions have been readmitted to continental competition and have looked to rebuild both the squad and morale.

They have signed proven Serie A goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus in a complex deal that also saw them bag promising center-back Mattia Caldara while offloading the disappointing Leonardo Bonucci back to Juventus.

Meanwhile, Milan great Paolo Maldini has been brought in alongside new sporting director Leonardo.

AFP

Former White House Aide, Omarosa Reveals Melania Trump Can’t Wait To Divorce Trump

Former White House Aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has made shocking revelations about the first family in her new book “Unhinged”.

Omarosa, who threatened to spill all after she left the White House, claims the First Lady is waiting for Donald Trump to leave office before ending their marriage. She made this revelation and more in her new explosive tell-all book.

In excerpts from her book, she points out how Melania has taken subtle swipes at her husband using her style and choice of outfits. Omarosa points out two outfit examples which could be considered “punishments”. One is a pink “pussy bow” blouse she wore after the infamous Access Hollywood tape was unearthed, and the other is a jacket emblazoned with the slogan “I don’t really care, do u?” which she wore to visit detained immigrant children.

Omarosa writes in Unhinged: “Taken as a whole, all of her style rebellions have served the same purpose. I believe Melania uses style to punish her husband.”

Omarosa also sensationally claims the Melania cannot wait for Trump to leave office so she can divorce him, according to Newsweek.

She wrote: “In my opinion, Melania is counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce him.”

Samuel Eto’o Joins His 13th Club

Samuel Eto’o has joined the 13th club of his long career after signing for Qatari side Qatar Sports Club from Turkish outfit Konyaspor.

The club said on social media that it would ‘present the international star Samuel Eto’o’ at a press conference. It is understood he underwent a medical earlier in the day.

The deal will see the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea striker join his ex-teammates midfielder Xavi, who plays for Al Sadd, and Wesley Sneijder who plays for Al Gharafa in Qatar’s domestic competition, the Qatar Stars League.

The veteran  Cameroonian striker, 37, enjoyed successful seasons with Barcelona from 2004 to 2009, including winning a treble of Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia titles with Inter Milan in his first season in Italy. He also played for Chelsea and Everton in the Premier League.

Eto’o, a four-time African player of the year also scored 56 times for his country in 118 appearances and won two African Cup of Nations with Cameroon.

Saraki Wants Judicial Probe Of NASS Siege

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has called for an independent judicial panel of inquiry into the siege to the National Assembly by masked security operatives last Tuesday.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, had in a swift reaction to the invasion, sacked Lawal Daura as Department of State Service (DSS) Director General, for what the presidency described as an unauthorised action.

However, in a tweet on his personal @bukolasaraki handle, Saraki said: “The very serious questions about last Tuesday’s siege on the National Assembly can only be answered through a thorough and neutral investigation.

“I call on Mr. President to immediately institute an independent judicial panel of inquiry to look into that assault on our democracy.”

Meanwhile, Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, have given reasons why the two chambers of the National Assembly will not reconvene soon.

In a joint statement on Tuesday morning, they admitted that there were proposals to reconvene, to deliberate on the reports of the Joint Committees on Electoral Matters arising from interactions with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The presiding officers, however, said that the meetings have not taken place and that many legislators have also gone on Hajj, making the prospects for reconvening improbable.