Wednesday, January 19, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Buhari extends tenure of NIA DG Rufai Abubakar who failed exams three times

Aside from Mr Rufai being unqualified for the NIA DG position, directors of the agency are accusing President Buhari of tribalism and religious bias in reappointing him.

• December 31, 2021
Rufai Abubakar, Buhari
A composite of Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari used to illustrate the story

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the tenure of Ahmed Rufai, current director-general of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), despite internal protests against his reappointment, sources told Peoples Gazette.

Officials said the extension which was granted last month by Mr Buhari, is expected to take effect from January 10, the same day that Mr Rufai was first appointed the NIA boss in 2018.

Mr Rufai replaced Ayo Oke, who was suspended by the president in April 2017 and dismissed on October 30 the same year over fraud allegations.

Top NIA brass and critics of the Buhari regime had queried the appointment of Mr Rufai in 2018. They argued over his competence, nationality, and the motive behind the appointment of the Katsina State-born director-general.

Of the criticisms against Mr Rufai’s appointment was how he failed his promotion examinations into directorship rank on three different occasions before being compulsorily retired.

Amid claims that the president was extending Mr Rufai’s tenure, directors in the agency reiterated in a letter to Mr Buhari that the director-general was unqualified for the position.

“YE (Your Excellency), the current DG, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, left the service in 2012, which was six (6) years before you appointed him as the DG. He was compulsorily retired after failing his promotion examinations, from Deputy Director to Director, three(3) times consecutively,” the NIA directors explained. “This appointment brought a kind of a very odd and awkward relationship between the DG and directors.” 

The spy chiefs had also asked the president to respect seniority and hierarchy in appointing into key positions, while lamenting how their dreams of career progression were shattered by Mr Buhari’s tribalism and religious bias in appointing staff members into key positions in the NIA.

“But we here at the NIA, are seeing these hopes dashed every day due to high-handedness, maladministration, repressive governance, segregation, and extreme impunity. It looks like in the Dolphin House, there is no regulatory body like other MDAs. Apparently, it is winner takes all here,” the memo partly read.

After it was learnt that the president extended Mr Rufai’s tenure, top spy chiefs told The Gazette that the development may further fuel internal disagreements within the agency.

Although the reason for the tenure extension was not immediately clear, the officials had accused Mr Buhari of tribalism in favouring Mr Rufai.

However, The Gazette could not immediately reach Mr Rufai for comments on the development, while Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, declined request to comment on why the director-general’s tenure was renewed despite fierce opposition from his colleagues.

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