NIA Crisis: Macabre dance of vengeful brothers, By Usman Habu

Posted by News Express | 30 May 2018 | 1,883 times

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The question people have continued to ask back home in Biu is: What may have necessitated what was perceived as a betrayal of former acting director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Muhammed Dauda by his very close allies of more than 50 years?

It was rather curious and intriguing to many people that the duo of Mustapha Shehu, a publisher and media consultant from Biu in Borno State and Mustapha Betara Aliyu, a retired deputy director of the NIA, also from Biu, could collude to fight their own brother, Dauda, also from Biu.

Those who know the three men are still piqued at what could have gone wrong to the hitherto cozy relationship between them. I know, as a matter of fact, that Aliyu and Dauda and Mustapha Shehu were pals from the cradle, and are not only contemporaries but were always together when Dauda was the acting director-general.

I understand that while Shehu was seeking to be engaged as a media consultant, Aliyu wanted his premature retirement from the NIA reviewed, so that he could enjoy the benefits of a director, having been retired as a deputy-director, owing to his failure to pass promotion exams to the rank of a director three times in a row.

It is common knowledge in the service that Aliyu has petitioned virtually every National Security Adviser, from the time of Gen Aliyu Gusau, and has tried to cajole every director-general since that time, including Dauda, to have his matter reviewed. Perhaps, he had hoped that, Dauda, being his own kinsman, will do that for him. But the acting D-G declined, insisting it was a bad case.

I must confess that I have a fair knowledge of what may have transpired as both Shehu and Aliyu used to be my close allies too, until I found out that I was actually riding on the back of two tigers. Dauda may have also come to the same realisation, and refused to appoint Aliyu as his SA, contrary to the expectations of many of us who were regulars around him.

Dauda’s refusal to appoint Aliyu as an SA, coupled with the rapid progress Dauda made, even as Aliyu’s junior: becoming a director, an ambassador and subsequently the acting DG of the NIA, at a time Aliyu could not transcend the position of a deputy-director, are enough motives to make Aliyu plot to see Dauda’s back at the NIA.

On the other hand, his refusal to consent to Mustapha Shehu’s request to be his media strategist could have given Shehu enough reason to gang up against him with others, including Aliyu. But beyond the likely motives for the duo to move against Dauda, is the likely material benefits they were said to have derived from their deals with new the NIA boss.

If the reports I received to the effect that Shehu and Aliyu have accepted to manipulate information about Dauda’s past – which will tend to further portray Dauda in bad light – is anything to go by, it will be safe to surmise that the duo have a longer agenda than meet the eye.

Seemingly driven by envy and vendetta against Dauda, one cannot find any justification for the animosity against Dauda, given that he has not committed any offence, except putting in his best and excelling. The actions of Shehu and Aliyu – which is common knowledge among our people – are sad, repugnant and alien to our culture, background and religion in Biu.

I would have dismissed the assertion that Dauda is also being fought by his own brothers as a mere hoax but for the confirmation from an insider in the NIA, to the effect that our own brothers are at the centre of a sinister campaign to further embattle Dauda.

The two, I am made to understand, are working in collaboration with an internal machinery set up by Dauda’s successor, with the brief to clone and distort Dauda’s history, records and background, so as to further rubbish him. This, I understand, is a ploy to compel him withdraw the suit in court challenging his purported dismissal: an issue that has become worrisome to the new NIA boss.

Besides the threats to his life, Dauda is also being faced with this new challenge from his own brothers, both of whom seem to have struck a deal with the new NIA helmsman, wherein Shehu’s moribund news magazine will enjoy a lifeline, while Aliyu’s checkered career history will be reviewed to give him a soft landing.

Suffice to say that the close affinity between Mustapha Shehu and Aliyu stems from their commonality of attitude and character. For Shehu, since his sojourn outside the shores of Nigeria for the Technical Aid Corp, which gave him the opportunity to also pursue other endeavours, he has technically kept all his friends, except Aliyu, at bay. In the same vein, Aliyu, since his career at the National Intelligence Agency, became wobbly and eventually ended rather unceremoniously, he has been leading a life of exclusivity, with friends and even relations. But there seems a good understanding between the two, the basis of which no one knows.

Aliyu seems too desperate in his attempt to remove the stigma of serial failure, having failed all his promotion exams before he was kicked out of the NIA, and can do anything for any DG who may agree to review his retirement as deputy-director. It is understandable how he became an easy tool to use against Dauda, who had refused to play ball. Fresh facts emerging indicate that in his desperation to force the DG to do his bidding, Aliyu has now introduced an element of subtle blackmail against the DG. He told us that the DG knows that as assistant director, personnel, under Talban Katsina, Amb ZY Ibrahim, he was the one, who on the instruction of the Talba single-handedly invited, interviewed and processed the new DG when he transferred his service from Katsina State. MB Aliyu told us that although Talba was very happy with him for taking that “bold” action of recommending the placement of Rufai on GL 14 from his GL 12 level in the Katsina State service. This action Aliyu admitted clearly violates Federal Civil Service Rules which down-grade State civil servants one step down upon transfer to Federal Civil Service, this action along with his recommendations to Talba for waiver of Rufai’s vetting to cover Chad Republic, where he spent most of childhood, and asked the vetting officer late Mr Agim to only confine his vetting to Katsina. Aliyu confided in me that these actions, although it endeared him to Talba, made him the most hated head of personnel ever at the agency till date. He, now, strongly believes it is time for payback.

For Shehu, certain traits in his conducts gave him away as one who could do anything for a price. I recall he sold an idea of a crooked partnership between him and me to use Major Hamza Al-Mustapha as a conduit to obtain money from former President Goodluck Jonathan, using the perceived closeness of Al-Mustapha to the former president.
He offered his medium as a tool we can use to blackmail Mustapha, if he fails to play ball. The offer was very tempting and I nearly fell for it, given the general clamour then for political jobbers to cajole office seekers into easily parting with money. But knowing his antecedents, I approached the matter with caution, and had to decline when I realised it had some element of blackmail and could land me in trouble.

Shortly after that encounter, he confided in me that he has been offered a N10 million deal to reconcile a former commissioner and fellow publisher who has been very critical of a particular state government with the governor. I do not know if he succeeded, but I later saw some advertorials from that same state governor in his magazine, which were ostensibly part of the deal.

After carefully analysing what could possibly be their common grouse against Dauda, I had the strong feeling that Dauda’s sins may be his refusal to play the nepotism card, by drawing Mustapha Shehu and MB Aliyu into the system. Additionally, they were easy cannons in the hands of the cabal, which appears ready to pay anything in order to sweep the NIA issue under the carpet.

Now the difference seemed clear, as my friend who, few weeks ago, was complaining about how to get fertiliser for his farm, has just embarked on a globe-trotting tour that will take him to four countries. I won’t mind such instant high-paying jobs ooh…!

•Usman Habu, a long-standing ally of the parties, writes from Abuja.

Source: News Express

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