The news of the sack of Malam Lawan Daura, Director General of the Department of State Services, came like a flash. But it was real. The man who presided over the nation’s spy agency was relieved of his appointment by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Tuesday.
Though no official reason was given for his sack, a statement later by Acting President Osinbajo condemning what he called “The Takeover of the National Assembly”, showed the nexus between the invasion of the parliament by the DSS operatives on Tuesday morning and Daura’s sack.
Coming two days after he turned 65, Daura’s sack brings to an end a tenure marked by controversies and criticisms.
Below are some of the highlights of his tenure:
1) Invasion of Judges’ Homes
In October 2016, the nation was alarmed by the news of the invasion of the homes of judges, including those of justices of the Supreme Court – the highest court in the land – by operatives of the DSS. The invasion carried out in Gestapo style was vehemently criticised by the opposition and many Nigerian’s who saw it as a desecration of the officers of the temple of justice and a prelude to massive clampdown on the opposition. Following public outcry, the judges were released on administrative bail, but for several months, no charges were filed against them. Some of the judges who were later arraigned on charges of corruption and money laundering were discharged and acquitted by the court.
2) Invasion of Benue House of Assembly
Following the defection of the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, to the Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress, and the impeachment of the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, by 22 of the 30 members of the Assembly, operatives of the DSS were deployed in the Assembly to aid the minority eight lawmakers who attempted to reconvene the House for the purpose of impeaching Governor Ortom.
On the day the eight lawmakers reconvened, the 22 lawmakers who were clearly the majority were prevented by DSS operatives from entering the Assembly premises. The eight lawmakers later served a notice of impeachment on the governor and sent a letter to the Chief Judge of the State to set up an impeachment panel.
The actions of the eight lawmakers and the support of the DSS were strongly criticised by Nigerians across political divides. The presidency had to issue a statement dissociating President Muhammdu Buhari from the DSS action.
3) Disobedience to Court Orders
A major highlight of the DSS under Daura’s watch was the wanton disregard for court orders. For three years, the DSS carried on as if the agency was above the law. It chose which court order to obey or disobey. The indefinite detention of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and leader of Shiite in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, are two of the examples of DSS’ disregard for court orders. The duo had been in DSS detention for over two years and there had been several judicial pronouncements granting them bail. None of those court orders were obeyed by the DSS under Daura’s watch.
4) Opposing President’s Request
Perhaps the most controversial action of the sacked DSS DG was the letters he wrote to the National Assembly opposing the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for the confirmation of EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu. His letters exposed the rivalry among leaders of critical state agencies. Based on his security report, the Senate refused to confirm Magu as substantive EFCC boss.
5) Siege to the National Assembly
On Tuesday August 7, 2018, DSS’ impunity under Daura reached its climax with the siege to the National Assembly – the nation’s highest lawmaking body – apparently in an attempt to assist lawmakers plotting to impeach Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Lawmakers, National Assembly staff and journalists were prevented from entering the premises. A day earlier, the National Assembly, which is currently on recess, had announced that a meeting of its leadership would hold at the complex to discuss election budget. The National Assembly leadership was also billed to meet with the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission on the same day. But DSS operatives were deployed early in the morning to prevent lawmakers from entering the premises.
Following condemnation of their action, the DSS operatives later allowed lawmakers to enter the premises but staff of the National Assembly were disallowed. While the DSS operatives were at the National Assembly, there were reports that the leaders of the ruling APC were meeting with pro-executive senators and collecting signatures for the removal of the Senate President. The actions of the DSS consequently portrayed the agency as partisan and working for the ruling party to weaken opposition in the parliament.
The Enforcer Meets His Waterloo
In a twist of events, Daura’s tenure came to an abrupt end Tuesday with the announcement of his sack by Acting President Osinbajo, who in another statement condemned the invasion of the National Assembly.
The two-paragraph statement announcing his sack read: The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has directed the termination of the appointment of the Director General, Sate Security Service, Lawal Musa Daura, with immediate effect.
“Mr. Daura has been directed to hand over to the most senior officer of the state security Service until further notice.”
Lawal Musa Daura – A Brief Profile
Born in Daura on August 5, 1953, the sacked DSS DG attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1977 – 1980. He began his career in the Department of State Services in 1982 and rose to the rank of director.
Between 2003 and 2007, Daura was Deputy Director, Presidential Communication, Command and Control Centre, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. He was also state director at various times in Kano, Sokoto, Edo, Lagos, Osun and Imo States.
Daura attended various professional courses both at home and abroad including the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.