On 3rd day of August 2015, we issued a public statement condemning the blundered presidential appointment of retired Senior Agent (director) Lawal Musa Daura of Daura-Katsina State origin as the “acting” Director General of the Department of State Security Services (DSS/SSS). We also gave the appointing authority, President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling party-APC 72hours to present publicly relevant constitutional or statutory sections or provisions, which empower the President to appoint a retired director of DSS as Director General of the same DSS that he served and retired from. We further demanded firmly that the explanations must not only be constitutionally and statutorily grounded, but also be concretely and expeditiously provided; hence the referenced 72hours deadline.
Sadly, 72hours have elapsed and till date, no official statements have come the way of the Presidency and the APC. What we saw and still see was (and is) the sponsorship of media image laundering and hiring of some conformist groups to justify in vain the constitutionally and statutorily blundered appointment. When the defense of the indefensible failed to hold water, its prompters and promoters shamefully resorted to advising those condemning and opposing the constitutionally prodigal appointment “to go to court”.
For the avoidance of doubt, by Section 217 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, with its last amendment in 2011, the Department of State Security Services (SSS), is a member of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Section provides as follows: “there shall be armed forces for the Federation, which shall consist of an Army, a Navy, an Air Force and such other branches of the Armed Forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly”.
By Section 315 of the Constitution, the Nigerian Security Agencies Act (NSA) of 1986, which dissolved the former National Security Organization (NSO 1985) and created the trio of Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and State Security Services (SSS); the NSA Act is a creation of the National Assembly and recognized by the Constitution. Section 315 of the Constitution provides as follows: “subject to the provisions of this Constitution, an existing law shall have effect with such modifications as may be necessary to bring it in conformity with the provisions of this Constitution and shall be deemed to be; (a) an Act of the National Assembly to the extent that it is a law with respect to any matter on which the National Assembly is empowered by this Constitution to make laws”.
Characteristics Of The Nigerian Armed Forces:
The Armed Forces have departments, ranks and files and command structures. They have barracks and offices. They have powers of arrest, detention and prosecution. They protect lives and properties. They detect, control, prevent and fight crimes. They are armed. They save lives and waste same in accordance with the constitution. They are regimented. Their members have immunities and membership is very restrictive and selective. They have military sub-culture including “blue wall of silence”. There is promotion, demotion, retirement and transfer or posting culture in the armed forces. There are also “in-service”, “out-service” and “out-of-service” doctrine. The in-service and out-service are peopled by serving officers, whereas the out-of-service is peopled by retired officers.
It is a forbidden culture in the armed forces of Nigeria; likewise elsewhere for out-of-service or retired officers to function officially as in-service/out-service or serving officers. They can only function as “consultants”. The rare exception is where there is a successful military coup. Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces including the SSS are generally governed by the public service rules of the Federation of Nigeria, with respect to recruitment, transfer or posting, promotion, demotion and retirement. Very importantly, there are strict principles of neutrality, independence, impartiality and non partisanship governing members of the ranks and files and the command cadres in the Nigerian Armed Forces; likewise members of civil executive bodies particularly those created by Section 153 of the Constitution.
Profile Of Constitutionally Prodigal DG Of SSS:
Alhaji Lawal Musa Daura was born in Daura, Kastina State on August 5, 1953. He attended the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, from 1977 to 1980 and started his career in the State Security Service in 1982 (then NSO) and rose to the rank of a director. He was at one time the Deputy Director, Presidential Communications, Command and Control Centre, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, between 2003 and 2007. Mr. Daura also served as State Director, Security Service, at various times for States like Kano, Sokoto, Edo, Lagos, Osun and Imo. He attended various professional courses, both at home and abroad, including the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in Jos, Plateau State, North-central Nigeria.
Constitutionally Prodigal Appointment:
By the express provisions of the 1999 Constitution including her spirit and letters, Alhaji Lawal Musa Daura’s appointment as “acting Director General of SSS” is constitutionally prodigal. The 1999 Constitution has since his appointment, been shading tears, following usurpation of her spirit and letters by President Muhammadu Buhari and prodigal imposition of a wrongful citizen on her envious position of the DGship of the SSS. From Alhaji Daura’s indisputable profile above, he served and retired as “a director” of the SSS in August 2013 having attained mandatory retirement age of 60 years, and having been born on 3rd August 1953. Mr. Lawal Musa Daura by virtue of his university graduation in 1980, joined the NSO (now SSS) in 1982 as “a cadet officer” at the rank of “Senior Intelligence Officer 2” (SIO 11) from where he rose in ranks and retired as a director in August 2013.
Therefore, bringing him back from statutory retirement and making him “acting Director General” of SSS, is coupist and unconstitutional. Also Mr. President erred in law and grossly violated the 1999 Constitution by erroneously appointing Mr. Daura as “acting DG of SSS” or in acting capacity. In line with the provisions of the Constitution, the Deputy Director General of the Service should have been appointed in that capacity pending the appointment of the substantive appointment. Again, by public provision of concrete evidence by some political groups including PDP linking Mr. Daura to partisanship (appointed by Buhari and APC into 2015 APC election security & intelligence committee); the principles of neutrality, independence, impartiality and non partisanship enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, have been murderously breached.
To appoint a confirmed partisan retired intelligence officer to head a publicly sensitive securitization and intelligence body, which determines the life and death of highly and lowly placed Nigerian citizens; in a constitutional democratic Nigeria is an express transformation of “guards of democracy” to guards of terror”. Owing to failure of the Buhari Presidency and his federally ruling party-the APC to publicly and constitutionally justify the appointment of Mr. Lawal Musa Daura as the “acting Director General of SSS” in the past 72hours, we hereby call for immediate reversal of the appointment and relief of his duty. The appointive powers of Mr. President must at all times be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and her subsidiary laws including the SSS Act of 1986 and the Public Service Rules of the Federation.
Having searched the 320 sections of the 1999 Constitution and her relevant supplementary sections and subsidiary laws including the NSA Act of 1986 and the Public/Civil Service Rules of the Federation, we did not come in contact with any empowering Mr. President to appoint a statutorily retired director of SSS as “acting DG” of the same SSS. In other words, Mr. President lacks power to bring a statutorily retired official of the SSS to active service, not to talk of making the said retired official “acting DG of SSS”.
As for those justifying the constitutionally prodigal appointment with that made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo (appointment of Col Areh as DG of SSS); though two of them are incomparable; but conducts under Obasanjo can never be a good standard of constitutional democratic measurement. It is on indisputable record that retired General Olusegun Obasanjo ran a bastardized and corrupted constitutional democratic government where due process and rule of law practices in the country clearly fitted into the Gambian and Ghadaffi era models. President Muhammadu Buhari must follow constitutional processes and precedents under the Yar’Ardua and the Jonathan eras when SSS DGs were picked from “in-service” or serving senior officers.
Lopsided Public Office Appointments Under Buhari:
Contrary to gullibility in some quarters to the effect that “Buhari has made his first Igbo appointment” (appointment of Mr. Emmanuel Kachiukwu as the new Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation-NNPC), our records still show that no person from the Southeast geopolitical zone has been part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s twenty (20) major public office appointments so far. Mr. Kachiukwu hails from Onicha-Ugbo in Delta State, South-south Nigeria. Other two appointments (Prof Umaru Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission and Alhaji Mohammed Kari, National Commissioner of the National Insurance Commission) went to President Buhari’s Northwest Zone.
In all, of the 20 federal public appointments made so far, eleven (11) have gone to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Northwest. Of the remaining nine (9), Northeast got three (3), Southwest two (2), South-south two (2), North-central two (2) and Southeast zero. Our position against lopsided federal public office appointments clearly goes beyond Hausa-Fulani, Igbo or Yoruba races. It is clearly rested on geopolitical and State spread, in accordance with letters and spirit of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. Till date, the five States of the Southeast have no single representative in the country’s Service Chiefs and the Presidency.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman (+2348174090052 (office)
Uzochukwu, Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program