In apparent departure from President Muhammadu Buhari disposition to the misguided activities of top security chiefs in the country who have been misbehaving and carrying on as if Nigeria is a Banana Republic, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday took a different position with the immediate sacking of the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura.
Mr. Daura, we learnt was “handed over to law enforcement agents” immediately after his appointment was terminated. The former DSS boss was in the Presidential Villa when his removal was announced, Newsbitsng.com gathered. A source from the Presidential Villa, Abuja said, “Yes, he was immediately handed over to law enforcement agencies. You know that for somebody that held such an office, he needed to be debriefed and all that,” the source said. Another source confirmed that Daura was driven out of the premises in a Hilux van belonging to the Nigeria Police Force.
Journalists who laid ambush outside of the Villa saw his convoy leaving the premises without him. It was gathered that the Acting President was highly embarrassed by the invasion of the National Assembly by officials of the DSS. The sack letter it was gathered was prepared even before Daura arrived. It was handed over to him by Osinbajo’s aides, as the Acting President refused to meet with him. To save the face of President Buhari, who is presently in London on vacation, his aides claim that President Muhammadu Buhari had been complaining of Daura’s antics in the recent past. The sack of the DSS boss followed early Tuesday morning siege to the National Assembly by armed and masked operatives of the department.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Acting President, Mr. Laolu Akande, announced the sacking of Daura in a statement made available to journalists. He said the Acting President had directed Daura to hand over to the most senior officer in the service. The statement reads, “The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has directed the termination of the appointment of the Director-General, Department of State Services, Lawal Musa Daura, with immediate effect. “Mr Daura has been directed to hand over to the most senior officer of the State Security Service until further notice.”
The siege by the DSS, which began as early as 6a.m. caught most employees of the National Assembly unawares as cleaners, bankers, reporters and others who had business to transact within the complex were prevented from entering the premises. The security officials used an unmarked white Coaster bus and two black Hilux pickups to block the main gate leading to the National Assembly. Not long after, Senators Abiodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti,) Ben Murray Bruce (PDP, Bayelsa) and Rafiu Ibrahim (PDP, Kwara) arrived at the scene. They approached the gate but the masked DSS officers also prevented them from entering.
Few minutes later, a female member of the House of Representatives, Boma Goodhead (PDP, Rivers) arrived and insisted on entering the premises. When the armed men stood in her way, she approached the operatives menacingly and shouted at them. She shouted, “I dare you to shoot, shoot me. How can you come here and be embarrassing us? “Was this what Jonathan did to Buhari? You are all a disgrace.” Following her protest, she was allowed to enter the premises at 8am. She was soon followed by some legislators but the DSS operatives prevented members of the National Assembly staff and journalists from entering.
In the statement that announced the sacking of Daura, Osinbajo was also quoted as describing the action of the security operatives as a gross violation of constitutional order, stressing that the development was not authorised by the Presidency. He declared that all persons who participated in the siege would be identified and made to face appropriate disciplinary action. The statement reads further, “Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has described the unauthorised takeover of the National Assembly complex earlier today as a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order.
“According to him, the unlawful act, which was done without the knowledge of the Presidency is condemnable and completely unacceptable. By this statement, Prof. Osinbajo is consequently assuring Nigerians that all persons within the law enforcement apparatus who participated in this travesty will be identified and subjected to appropriate disciplinary action.”
Following the removal of Daura, the Vice-President, also on Tuesday, met behind closed doors with the most senior Director in the DSS, Matthew Seiyefa. The meeting was held inside Osinbajo’s office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Osinbajo had, while terminating the appointment of Lawal Daura as the Director-General of the DSS, asked him to hand over to the most senior official in the agency. Seiyefa, from Bayelsa State, arrived at the Presidential Villa in an official Sports Utility Vehicle at about 4pm. He was seen clutching an office file as he made his way into Osinbajo’s office.