The newly-appointed Director General of the State Security Service, Lawal Daura, had retired from the service before he was recalled Thursday by President Muhammadu Buhari to head the organisation, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report.
Mr. Daura, almost 62, who was born in Daura, Katsina State on August 5, 1953, retired from the SSS in 2013, having reached the statutory retirement age of 60.
President Buhari is also from Daura in Katsina state.
The new DG SSS joined the service in 1982 and was a one-time deputy director, Presidential Communication, Command and Control Center at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He had also served as state director at various times in many states of the Federation including Kano, Sokoto, Edo, Lagos, Osun and Imo.
But instead of appointing a new director general from some of the highly qualified officers of the organisation, the President rather went for his kinsman in a move many commentators are describing as nepotism.
But speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on the telephone, a foremost constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Itse Sagay, said it was difficult to condemn the President for appointing his kinsman as DG SSS.
According to Mr. Sagay, the secret police under former President Goodluck Joanthan had become too political and polarised that it was hard for Mr. Buhari to work with them.
“The SSS under former President Goodluck Jonathan had become an agent of the Peoples Democratic Party. You can remember when they invaded the APC office in Lagos claiming that the party was cloning voters’ cards.
“Nigerians also saw how their spokesperson, Marylyn Ogar, became an attack dog for the PDP and went after leaders of the APC. Therefore, it is difficult for Buhari to trust them.”
The legal luminary insisted that the President is only exercising caution in dealing with members of the SSS because of the unfriendly way they treated him in the past.
He expressed sympathy for the President but noted that he would rise to condemn him if the appointment of other key officials of the administration followed a similar pattern.
President Muhammadu Buhari had removed Mr. Daura’s predecessor, Ita Ekpenyong, on Thursday.
Mr. Ekpenyong’s removal and appointment of his replacement was announced by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Danladi Kifasi, via a statement by the Director of Communications in his office, Haruna Imrana.
The former director general later spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, saying he was not sacked but that he resigned at about 10 a.m. Thursday.
That claim could not be independently verified at this time. But a presidency source said even if he resigned, he was compelled to do.
“If he was instructed to submit a resignation letter, is that not a sack?” the source said.
Mr. attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, from 1977 – 1980.
He attended various professional courses both home and abroad including the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) Kuru.
Mr. Daura is the sixth director general of the SSS, one of the three security agencies created out of the defunct National Security Organisation in 1986.
The removal of Mr. Ekpenyong, who was appointed DG of the agency on September 8, 2010, has long been expected.
Under him, the SSS became openly partisan, especially in the run-up to the 2015 general elections.
Rather than gathering intelligence necessary to make the country safe, the agency busied itself more with harassing and arresting opposition figures, ransacking firms and offices with ties to the All Progressives Congress and appearing on television to disparage opposition politicians and their party