16 January 2018

Nigeria: Reps Probes Appointment of New NIA Chief, 'Missing $44 Million'

Photo: The Monitor
(file photo).

The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on security and national intelligence to investigate the controversy surrounding the appointment of the new Director-General of the Nigerian National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed-Rufai Abubakar.

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on January 10 announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of Mr. Abubakar, a retired career foreign service officer who until the appointment was Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs/International Relations.

Adopting a motion raised by Duoye Diri (Bayelsa - PDP) as a matter of urgent public importance on Tuesday during its plenary, the house also mandated the committee to probe an alleged missing 44 million dollars from the vault of the NIA.

Mr. Douye expressed concern that the NIA was involved in yet another scandal barely two days after the new DG assumed office.

"The nation is yet to recover from the shock of the 'Ikoyigate Safe House' scandal involving 43.4 million dollars, N23.2 million and 27, 800 pounds, the report of which is yet to be made public," the lawmaker said while moving the motion.

He said the identity, nationality, citizenship and competence of the new DG have also become subjects of public "speculation and controversy."

"The controversy surrounding the appointment and the cash scandal paint a poor picture of the country's national security and diminishes the reputation of the agency," Mr. Duoye said.

Mr. Abubakar was appointed after the president sacked the erstwhile director general of the NIA, Ayodele Oke, over huge sums in foreign and local currencies found last year in a flat traced to the agency in high brow Ikoyi area of Lagos.

The current controversy is brewing over what Presidency insiders and members of the intelligence community consider "as a breach of national security" over the personality of the new NIA chief.

Another issue is what insiders called the Presidency's "promotion of mediocrity, nepotism and incompetence" in the intelligence community.

Mr. Abubakar was born in Chad Republic. He had his primary and secondary education all in Chad and is also reported to have dual citizenship.

He is married to a Moroccan.

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