The Department of State Services has arrested three suspects who allegedly accused the department’s Director General, Lawal Musa Daura, of collecting a bribe of N4 billion from the PDP Governors of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Abia and Taraba States to enable them to win their electoral cases at Supreme Court.
The suspects are Usman Ahmed Danmallam, Nura Shehu Lawal Giwa, and Hussaini Monguno.
The first two suspects were arrested on February 17, 2016 at Unguwar Sarki in Kaduna North local government area, Kaduna State while Mr. Monguno (also known as Colonel) was arrested in Abuja.
While showing the suspects to the media in Abuja, a DSS official, Abdullahi Garba, stated that the detained men set out to misinform President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian public that the agency’s director general had acquired choice real estate properties in the Maitama and Asokoro areas of Abuja.
“The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to draw the attention of the public to the infamous activities of some unscrupulous elements who have resorted to condemnable tactics aimed at blackmailing and extorting money from unsuspecting and innocent people,” Mr. Garba said.
He accused the suspects of using “scaremongering, social climbing and name dropping to hoodwink their victims into parting with money to avoid such victims’ names being tarnished. The activities of this group have become widespread that the DSS have decided to alert law abiding Nigerians and residents.
“A pertinent fact that investigations have revealed is that this group, in order to further their illegal act, is taking advantage of the clear and sustained anti-corruption war being waged by this administration.
“A method used by the group is to tell lies against their victims and also plant rumors about them in certain government circles so as to create the impression that the targets are corrupt and have breached legal procedures in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“The aim is usually to make these targets seek their attention and invariably sort out with them based on negotiated sums of money or they will threaten to ‘report the matter to the President.’”
Mr. Garba stated that the arrested suspects were implicated in a conspiracy to mislead the public, adding that the three-man gang were out to blackmail the DGSS solely based on falsehood.
“The group claimed that the DGSS collected the sum of N4 billion from the PDP Governors of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Abia and Taraba States to influence the judgment of the Supreme Court in their favor in the recently decided electoral cases by the court. They were also to misinform the President and, in fact, the Nigerian public that the DGSS had acquired choice properties in Maitama and Asokoro areas of Abuja.
“The overall objective was to scare the DGSS and put him under pressure just for the group to extort money from him to serve their pecuniary interest.
“To state the obvious truth, the DGSS couldn’t have approached the justices to accomplish the said feat attributed to him because his Office doesn’t work in that manner. Again, the DG couldn’t have helped the same PDP Governors who daily accuse him even in the press of not supporting them. All these therefore give a lie to the accusations of this band of mischief-makers.
The DSS official revealed that, even though Mr. Monguno uses the military title of Colonel, the suspect, who is from Yerwa town in Borno State, never served in the Nigerian Army. The DSS stated that Mr. Monguno claimed that he “was hired as a ‘civilian body guard’ shortly after his stint with the defunct National Guard. He said he was recruited and trained as a bodyguard towards the end of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime, but served [the] late General Sani Abacha who addressed him as Colonel.
The DSS also revealed that Mr. Monguno claimed to have received training on close-body security in Libya and Nigeria, adding that the agency was yet to uncover what kind of assignments the suspect undertook for the various regimes he claimed to have served.
According to the DSS, Mr. Danmallam, who is from Katsina State, admitted to the smear campaign against the DG, but claimed that Mr. Giwa had initiated the idea of trumpeting false allegations the boss of the DSS. The DSS said Mr. Danmallam also disclosed that he co-opted Monguno into their plans based on the latter’s self-confessed expertise in national security and boast that he had connections with high-profile personalities, including President Buhari.
The DSS stated that Mr. Giwa “hails from Zaria and claims to be the Marafan Zazzau, a traditional title of the respected Emirate. He is the initiator of this plot. He is yet to disclose his main motive for initiating this dangerous plot other than his penchant for name-dropping and propensity to extort money from people.”
The DSS stated that the detained men had confessed that their allegations against Mr. Daura were baseless.
The DSS restated its commitment to Mr. Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda, warning that “mischief makers and self appointed national security experts who go about claiming capacity and expertise/skills on sensitive security matters to henceforth desist from doing so.”
The DSS accused the impostors of seeking to “create confusion in the polity [in order to] enrich themselves.”