The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, Sunday, warned that any attempt to remove the Acting Director General of the Department of State Security, DSS, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa, will attract dire consequences.
This was as the National Directors of the DSS are meeting Monday to ratify the postings of the Acting Director of the agency, following opposition of a top official of the Presidency.
The forum also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call his official responsible for the present development to order over an alleged “obnoxious directive” given to the acting DG of the DSS.
In a statement by Yinka Odumakin, South West, Senator Bassey Henshaw, South South, Prof Chigozie Ogbu, South East and Dr Isuwa Dogo, Middle Belt, Sunday, the forum said it would have ignored the report but for the alleged “clannishness, sectional proclivity and exclusive handling of the security architecture of the country by President Buhari in the last three years.”
The statement reads: “The plot to remove the Acting DG is said to be hinged on the professional reorganization of the service by him whom the cabal is now interpreting as removing APC elements in DSS for PDP apologists, a clear indication of the divisions this administration has caused in every facet of our life as a nation.
“Facts at our disposal, however, show that what the Acting DG has done is a good example of how to run a diverse polity which this administration has ignored in the last three years.
“It was said that under Daura, every need to organize the service along federal character and fill existing vacancies were ignored as he concentrated on nepotism in running DSS and keeping a coterie of those who have retired or have passed retirement in service and many of them having nothing to contribute.
“The Acting DG reportedly noticed that there were three other Directors from the South South apart from himself and decided to relieve two of them so that a Director could be brought in from the South West that had nobody on the management and another person from the North West.
“A top Presidency official is said to have given instructions that the DG should ask all the newly promoted to go back to their previous positions, a directive that ought to have come from the National Security Adviser, if there was the need for any. Now the plot is to remove Seiyefa himself.
“We call on President Buhari to immediately call his official in question to order so that he can withdraw the obnoxious directive and allow the agency to run professionally.
“We also warn of the consequences of further alienating sections of the country by the administration particularly the Niger Delta where the Acting DG is from and the South West whose only representation on the Management of DSS has now been reversed.
“It may be necessary not to overstretch it by removing the Acting DG and stopping the professional reorganization in the DSS because it is not in tandem with the ethnic domination script of Mr President. It may turn out the proverbial last straw.”
Nt’l Directors of DSS meet to ratify postings
Meanwhile, the top Presidency official had summoned the Acting Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS, from effecting the posting and redeployment of key management staff in line with service rules, Vanguard learnt.
In an unprecedented act that has unsettled government watchers, the powerful presidential aide has already queried the Acting DG of the DSS, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa, over recent postings carried out by him and ordered him to reverse them with immediate effect.
The Presidency, however, declined comments on the issue Sunday, as Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, simply said, “no comments.”
A competent presidential source who is familiar with the matter, confirmed to Vanguard last night that when Seiyefa appeared before Presidency official at the weekend, he was lampooned by the Presidency official who questioned him on who authorised him to effect the postings of senior officers of the spy agency.
It was learnt that when Seiyefa replied that it was Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that authorised the postings, the official rudely interrupted and pointedly told him that ‘it is only the Commander-in-Chief who has the power to order such postings and nobody else.’
The top source said: “The Presidency official actually invited the Acting DG and also queried him on the postings. But Seiyefa calmly replied him that he got approval for the postings from the Acting President.
“But surprisingly, the top Presidency official rudely interrupted him and said only the President can give such directives and that he should immediately reverse all the postings.
“He also angrily ordered the acting DSS DG to stay action on other matters relating to the security agency, pending the arrival of the new DG to be announced soonest by the President, who will thereafter make the necessary changes.”
It was gathered that as a result of the interference of the President’s powerful aide, the DSS had to send verbal messages to the officers who were recently posted out to await further directives on their postings.
According to a competent source, the agency did not want to write officially to the affected officials since they did not want the matter to generate ill-feelings and dampen their morale.
The source said: “Normally, postings of this nature are by signal message but up till now, there is no counter-message to those staff who were moved and it does not appear as if anybody would be moving because they cannot do so by verbal instruction.”
But Vanguard learned that President Buhari was set to name a new DG for the DSS before he travelled to China at the weekend and would do so as soon as he returns this week.
It was gathered that contrary to media reports, Buhari had made up his mind not to reinstate the sacked DG, Lawal Daura, but to appoint someone who enjoys his backing.
The senior officer, who is to be named as Daura’s replacement by Buhari, also hails from the South South and has worked closely with the embattled former DG for the past three years and enjoyed his support.
A security source said: “The planned appointment of the officer seen as Duara’s associate to replace Seiyefa, who is going to retire soon, is a form of soft-landing for Daura by the President, who does not want to reverse his sack by the Acting President.
“The truth of the matter is that most staff of the DSS are happy that Daura was removed because he caused the stagnation of most staff he did not promote and pay them several benefits, thereby lowering their morale and productivity”
Meanwhile, as the imbroglio lingers, directors of the DSS at the national headquarters in Abuja, are expected to meet today to brainstorm on the situation in the agency and plot the way forward.
It was learnt that the directors are likely to ask Seiyefa to continue with the general deployment of staff and to cause those due for retirement to proceed on their leave and effect the promotion of those who had been stagnated by Daura in the past three years so as to reposition the agency for greater performance, especially as the elections draw nearer.
The national directors are also likely to ask Seiyefa to ignore any external influence in the operations of the agency so as not to destroy its culture of non-interference by government and dent its image.