NIA D-G: Group tackles Rep; more revelations from Darfur

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A group, the National Patriots’ Forum, has raised the alarm over what it described as a big cover up attempt in the ongoing investigations by the House of Representatives Committee into the appointment of Rufai Ahmed as Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
A statement by Comrade Adewale Benjamin, convener   and  Mustapha S. Tarajo,  co-convener of the Forum in Abuja on Monday said: “We are constrained to state that reports credited to the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Public Safety and National Intelligence, Honorable Aminu Sani Jaji, to the effect that the embattled Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has convinced his committee about his nationality, his marital status and his record of service, may not be tenable after all.
“Suffice it to say that the Chairman of the Committee may have expressed his personal views, without due consultations with other members of the committee, or may have been quoted out of context, as what is happening over the issue have confirmed our fears that there is a big cover up.
“We are aware that those who imposed Rufai Ahmed as the Director-General have been going round trying to alter the narrative and change the perception of Nigerians, even as they have been working towards sweeping the matter under the carpet for obvious reasons. But we hasten to state that the flaws in the said appointment were too obvious to ignore, and too glaring to defray.
“To take up Honourable Jaji’s submissions one after the other, we wish to first state that section 2 sub section 1 of the instrument establishing the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) states: “The overall command of the National Intelligence Agency is the Director General who shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on the advice of the National Security Adviser”.
“By the statement of Honorable Jaji, the Committee interacted with all stakeholders, including the National Security Adviser. In the event that he may have forgotten, members of the committee confided in us that the National Security Adviser flatly denied that he was ever consulted on the matter and the appointment of Abubakar Rufai was not on his advice. This is in gross violation of National Security Agencies Act 1986, cap.278LFN, which established the agency.
“Secondly, while it is true that the $44 million was not missing as we had earlier said it was moved into safe custody, the question that should arise ordinarily is why was the money moved from where it was in the first place? Which place could have been safer to keep such money than the NIA vault? We understand the committee members were adequately briefed on why the money had to be moved and we expected the chairman to have explained same in his briefing to the media.
“Thirdly, there is no ambiguity in the statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Vision FM Radio Hausa programme with Umar Farouk Musa, on Wednesday, January 31 to the effect that Abubakar Rufai Ahmed was born and bred in Chad. It remains incontrovertible also that by virtue of his birth, he is a Chadian. To state otherwise is to either distort history or rewrite his life story.
“Fourthly, we know as a matter of fact that Abubakar Rufai Ahmed transferred his services from Katsina State in 1993, when he was 40 years old according to his records. He claims to have sought and obtained permission to marry in 1995, when he was presumed to be 42 years old. As a Muslim, from Katsina State where early marriage is the practice, is it tenable to say that was his first marriage at 42? It is necessary to ask what his marital status was before 1995 when he claimed to marry his current wife.
“If it is true that, Abubakar Rufai Ahmed joined the NIA in 1993 and retired in 2013, one is bound to ask how come he was at the UNAMID on full time employment by 2007? Was he on sabbatical or leave of absence? In either case, it was wrong to take up a permanent and pensionable appointment with the UN, while he was still a permanent staff of the NIA.
“In their letter to the committee, serving Directors of the NIA had alerted of plans to clone and fabricate documents in trying to whitewash the new NIA DG. We were surprised that, although conscious of this fact, the Committee Chairman gave Rufai Ahmed a clean bill of health without either subjecting the so-called documents to forensic verifications.
“Which forensic expert did the verification if it was done and if not, we hasten to state that it was a dangerous assumption. Coming from an agency that has all the facilities to forge and clone all types of documents with professional precision, it is obvious that the honorable members were either hoodwinked or distracted.
“ Whereas the two chambers of the National Assembly were composed to reflect our Federal Character, it is necessary to ask whether the honorable members did question the propriety of the appointment of the headship of two foremost security outfits from the same tribal stock, Local Government and the same state as the President? What happens to Federal Character in this case?
“Another fundamental question to ask is whether the committee obtained a copy of the Ambassador Babagana Kingibe led Review Panel from the Director General, and whether they failed to take note of or deliberately ignored paragraph 4(1), which stated in very clear terms that the Director General of the NIA SHALL be appointed from amongst the core of serving Directors, and whether Abubakar Rufai fits into that category when he was appointed.
“We are aware that as a practice principle, a candidate for the office of the Director General of NIA is supposed to be vetted right from cradle. The agency has admitted that its team did not travel to either Chad or Sudan for the vetting of Abubakar Rufai Ahmed. There is a dark window in the vetting process, which makes it a nullity. The questions to ask here include: how do we account for his childhood and early education. Who did he stay with in Chad besides his parents or guardian? Does he have any fanatical or terrorist tendencies or was any of his family members involved in questionable conducts and could they have at any point used him as a conduit or a Mole?
“ It is rather curious that it did not even occur to  the committee Chairman that it is against the law of natural justice for Rufai Ahmed to  having served as the Secretary of the Committee that recommended for the appointment of the DG from amongst serving Directors to later impose himself as the DG.  
“We state without any doubt that Nigerians are not impressed with the lame defences and the attendant cover up of the fraud that characterized the appointment of Abubakar Rufai Ahmed as the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, and we will not hesitate to expose any attempt to cover it up at any point. We owe this as a duty to our great country Nigeria, and for the love of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the ultimate loser in this game of intrigues.”
In a related development, the storm seems to be far from over for the NIA D-G as further revelations from Darfur, Sudan where he served while with the foreign service, paint a sordid and scandalous past.
This was disclosed in a statement by Benjamin and Tarajo.
They alleged that besides the issue of doubtful citizenship and attendant multiple loyalty, Ahmed had been found guilty of misconduct which could have earned him a sack from the UN job, but for the intervention of his godfathers, Ambassadors Babagana Kingibe and Zakari Ibrahim.
This was disclosed, the Forum said, by a diplomat and close associate who served together with Ahmed  at the same time in Sudan, but who craved for anonymity.
A letter from his Sudan colleague and friend chronicled several scandalous and gross misconducts allegedly by Ahmed, as well as his questionable associations that make him unsuitable for the job of the head of Nigeria’s foremost intelligence agency.
The letter listed amongst other things Ahmed’s double appointment with the NIA and the United Nations at the same time, his actual rank, and his relationship with a Sierra Leonean lady, Blanch Munah Hyde, of the Political Affairs Office,who had a baby girl for him in 2012.
It was also alleged that the NIA boss also had an inappropriate relationship with his boss, one Achiatou Muhammadu from Niger, who was the Deputy Joint Special representative DJSR, to UNAMID.
The relationship was an open secret, according to the letter, and the lady facilitated Rufai Abubakar’s prolonged stay outside, as a consultant to the UN, after he left the job.
What has not been ascertained is whether or not they eventually married.
The content of  letter by Ahmed’s close associate  is reproduced below, omitting the author’s name and contact as requested by him, for public scrutiny and appraisal:
 
“Dear friends,
THE FACTS ABOUT  ABUBAKAR RUFAI AHMED I KNOW
I am convinced beyond doubt that we are all in this for the love of our country. I write this letter as a concerned Nigerian who has worked with and know Abubakar Rufai Ahmed very well. I hope that the authorities can be properly guided in choosing a more suitable head of the NIA from the avalanche of so many more suitable and better qualified hands besides Abubakar Rufai Ahmed, who in my estimation is a gross misfit.
I crave your indulgence to recap my story on all I know about Ahmed Rufai Abubakar as my colleague and friend, with whom I have continued to interact after he had left the services of UNAMID in 2015. 
Our paths first crossed in 2005 while I was serving with the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan. During that period, I interacted closely with Nigerian Military Officers and their civilian counterparts  who were on Peace Keeping Mission along with him in Darfur. The Officers had often complained about his attitude while at AMIS mission with Ambassador Babagana Kingibe as the Head of Mission and Ambassador Hassan Gibril of the Gambia as the Deputy Head of Mission. The Field Commander (FC) at that time, Major General Luke Aprezi was also a Nigerian. Ambassador Babagana Kingibe actually arrived the mission with Ahmed Rufai Abubakar who was manning the Political Desk. While Ambassador Babagana Kingibe maintained a home at Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and a working Guest House in Khartoum (Sudan), the Deputy Head of Mission, Ambassador Hassan Gibril was domiciled with the peacekeepers in Darfur; about one hour thirty minutes’ flight from Khartoum. All the while, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar was located with Ambassador Babagana Kingibe. 
In the last quarter of 2005, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe ceased to be AMIS Head of Mission.  Madam Monique Mukaruliza of Rwanda assumed the office of Head of Mission in acting capacity and remained in office until 31 December 2007, when the UN took over from AMIS. The mission nomenclature also changed from AMIS to UNAMID (United Nations African Union Hybrid Operations in Darfur). A Congolese, Ambassador Rudulph Adada took over from Madam Monique Mukaruliza as the Joint Special Representative (JSR) of the UN Secretary General. Barely 7 months after, a Nigerian Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari was appointed by the UN Secretary General to take over as JSR. Thankfully, General ML Agwai (rtd), another Nigerian was appointed as the FC. 
Transmutation from AMIS to UNAMID came with its challenges. Apart from the troops and police officers from different countries, the AMIS civilian staff were not automatically absorbed into the UN system. The UN maintains its own policies and processes to recruit their staff. Due to the dearth of civilian staff, coupled with the refusal of UN staff in other mission to relocate to Darfur due to fear, a window of opportunity was created for fresh recruitment. As at this period, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar who had hitherto been holed up in either Addis or Khartoum relocated to Darfur. It was also in the same period that Ahmed Rufai Abubakar also applied and secured a job as Political Affairs Officer on the rank of P4. Two other Nigerian military officers (still serving), Lieutenants Colonels OZ Azinta (now Major General and GOC) and Augustine Agundu (now Major General) at the DHQ who were sharing the same office with Ahmed Rufai Abubakar also applied and secured jobs as Political Affairs Officers on the rank of P4. After they had completed orientation training at the UN training school in Brindisi, Northern Italy, Azinta and Agundu declined the UN job offer, preferring to pursue their careers in the military. They both departed Darfur at the end of their tour of duty.
It is pertinent to emphasis at this juncture that Ahmed Rufai Abubakar secured a permanent job with the UN as a P5, the equivalence of an Assistant Director, and appropriated all the benefits that goes with a permanent staff. The impression we all had was that he was formally of the ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was there until 2013 when he attained the mandatory retiring age of 62. He was a P5 officer all along and at no time did he attain the rank of a D2 officer, rather, he was granted that at the tail end of his stay in UNAMID, as a parting gift. A D2 is the equivalence of a Deputy Director. Interestingly, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar had a very close relationship with the lady who was the Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR), Achiatou Muhammadu from the Niger Republic. It was an open secret in UNAMID that there was more to their relationship than meet the eyes. She, it was believed, that  facilitated his promotion to D2 at his point of departure, so that he will be entitled to pensions from the UN. Coincidentally, she was appointed the JSR of the UN mission in Cote’d’Voire about the same time Ahmed Rufai Abubakar was leaving UNAMID. She once again facilitated another UN job for Ahmed Rufai Abubakar as a Consultant with the UN in Senegal. Consultancy services in the UN system is limited by time. He remained a consultant in Senegal for 2 years before the job was terminated in August 2015. Consultants in the UN system, like anywhere else are not entitled to certain benefits enjoyed by permanent staff; including pension. However, he was already pensionable with the UN having worked with UNAMID for more than 5 years. UN staff are pensionable after 5 years of unbroken service.   
The question remains that if Ahmed Abubakar Rufai was a permanent staff with NIA, he had no business accepting a permanent job with the UN without resigning from NIA. It is hard to believe that he only turned in his resignation letter to the NIA in 2013; the same year he left UNAMID. His pen picture suggests one who is extremely arrogant and aloof. He never attended any Nigerian community function while in Darfur, including Independence Day Celebrations. Above all else, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar was entangled in a very serious breach of the UN core values in Darfur which could have earned him a sack if not for the cover up he got from the senior management. A case of sexual exploitation was established against Ahmed Rufai Abubakar in 2012 when he got one of his staff in the political Affairs Department, Blanche Munah Hyde from Sierra Leone pregnant. She was eventually delivered of a baby girl after Rufai accepted responsibility. 
Finally, I confess that Ahmed Rufai Abubakar was my colleague and friend, so there is really no motive to lie against him. In fact, I remained in mail contact with him long after he left UNAMID. The records are there to support all that I have stated, in the subsequent paragraphs. Accept these as facts and let the authorities know, but protect my identity for obvious reasons”.

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