- Southern leaders kick
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Segun James in Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari last night named Mr. Yusuf Bichi as the new Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS).
Bichi replaces Lawal Daura who was sacked on August 7 by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo over his unilateral decision to deploy men of DSS to take over National Assembly without authorisation.
According to a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Bichi’s appointment takes immediate effect.
Describing the new appointee as a core secret service operative, Shehu said he attended Danbatta Secondary School, Kano State; College of Advanced Studies, Zaria; and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science.
He also said the new DG began his career in the security division of the cabinet office in Kano, from where he joined the defunct Nigerian Security Organization (NSO), the precursor of the present SSS.
The statement added that Bichi had undergone training in intelligence processing analysis, agent handling recruitment and intelligence processing in the United Kingdom, as well as strategic training at the National Defence College.
It also said the new SSS boss came to the job with skills in intelligence gathering, research analysis, conflict management, general investigation, risk and vulnerability operations, counter intelligence and protective operation as well as human resources management.
The statement added, “In the course of his career, Mr. Bichi has worked as the State Director of Security in Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto and Abia States.
“He was at various times the Director, National Assembly Liaison, (National War College), Director at National Headquarters in the Directorate of Security Enforcement, Directorate of Operations, Directorate of Intelligence, Directorate of Inspection and Directorate of Administration and Finance.
“He also served as Director at State Service Academy.
Mr Bichi is married and with children.”
Southern Leaders Kick
In a swift reaction yesterday, southern leaders said Bichi’s appointment was a vote of no confidence in one Nigeria by Buhari, warning that such an action was capable of dividing the nation.
In a joint statement last night, signed by Chief E.K Clark, leader, South-South; Chief Ayo Adebanjo, South West; Chief John Nwodo, South East; and Dr Bitrus Pogu, Middle Belt, and made available to THISDAY by the Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, they accused the President Buhari of “outright disregard for the conditions precedent for a united Nigeria and an inclusive country, which President Buhari has become well known for was taken to a new height with the replacement of Seiyefa with Bichi.”
They warned, “The I-don’t-care and in-your-face attitude of the president in restoring Nigeria security architecture to the provocative situation of having 16 out of 17 service chiefs from his corner of the country is a clear demonstration of the fact that Nigeria, for General Muhammadu Buhari, is no more than his section of Nigeria and the resources and the constitutionally mandatory votes from other sections of the country.”
They lamented, “Since 1960, Nigeria has never had a leader more sectional, narrow, parochial, and tribalistic like the current president who went on a global stage to divide Nigeria into ‘95 % and 5%’.
“We have looked critically at the profiles of the Acting DG who was removed and the one Buhari just appointed and it is crystal clear that Bichi does not come with any experience close to that of Seiyefa. The only qualification for this appointment is therefore only the rabid nepotism of the president, which has seen him always masking personal and sectional interest as ‘national interest.’
“Besides, Bichi is an out-of-the-system man drafted by Mr. Lawan Daura in the days of his nepotism rule at the DSS. The next six most senior persons in line of succession at the DSS after Seiyefa from our findings, are all southerners, which may explain why the president picked a man who already retired from the DSS to lead because of ethnic affinity.
“That the president went ahead to deep himself further into the cocoon of ethnic irredentism in making this insensitive appointment shows clearly that he does not care a hoot about the unity, cohesion and oneness of Nigeria.
“We reject this appointment and we do not shy in telling Mr. President that he no longer pretends that the country is one under him. In the last few days, there have been fears coming from the international community about the dangers that would come the way of Nigeria if Mr. President returns for another term. With his latest action, we add that the country is not safe in the remainder of his first term.
“Lastly we ask Mr President: Are we still one country?”