President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the Director-General of Department of State Service, DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, and replaced him with his 62-year-old kinsman, Lawal Musa Daura.
The appointment of Daura was conveyed to him yesterday in a letter by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, HoS, Danladi Kifasi.
According to a statement made public by HoS’ Director of Communications, Haruna R. Imrana, Daura’s appointment is with immediate effect.
Daura was born in Daura, Katsina on August 15, 1953. He attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1977-1980.
He started his carrier in the State Security Service, SSS, in 1982 and rose to the rank of director. He was at one time the Deputy Director Presidential Communication, Command and Control Centre at the Presidential Villa, Abuja between 2003 and 2007.
Daura also served as the State Director of SSS at various times in Kano, Sokoto, Edo, Lagos, Osun and Imo states.
The sack of Ekpenyong, who has been heading the secret police since September 2010, did not come as a surprise to many watchers of security matters since Buhari was sworn-in as President on May 29.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that Buhari is dissatisfied with the operation of the DSS as he (Buhari) has hinted that the secret police had become more political in their operations than its professional duties, and consequently caused a committee to look into the activities of the agency and report back to him before end of June.
Besides, the body language of Buhari had shown that he was not pleased with Ekpenyong hence his sack yesterday.
Sources said that the President was angered by the fact that the DSS flouted his (Buhari’s) orders when he issued a directive to the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy and the DSS to furnish the Presidency with the list of personnel who would constitute the presidential security detail.
The sources said this was to give the Presidency enough time to screen the officers before they arrived at the Villa. “All the service chiefs immediately complied, except Mr. Ita Ekpenyong. Instead of complying with the presidential directive, the DG posted 253 of his selected henchmen to the Presidency on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 without approval. The reason for his non-compliance is best known to him.”
It was further learnt that the President lost confidence in the DSS and that was why he replaced its operatives with the military in the Presidential Villa.
The Strike Force, which is a special security outfit saddled with the responsibility of protecting the President and the seat of power, currently comprises only officials of the Department of State Services.
The source said a Lieutenant who will be leading 21 other military officers had been transferred to the Strike Force to take over from the DSS officials.
With the development, military personnel will take over from them henceforth. “We are aware that the situation is causing tension as there is a possibility of a showdown. But we are working hard to ensure that the situation did not degenerate,” one of the sources said.
Nigerian Pilot further gathered that Ekpenyong recommended some personnel of the service for promotions to former President Goodluck Jonathan before he (Jonathan) left office.
Another source said: “Before former President Goodluck Jonathan left office, the DG recommended senior officers from the rank of deputy directors for promotion and many are not happy with the development. Those in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states where there is restiveness caused by Boko Haram, had not benefitted from this promotion.
Our investigations revealed that the recent promotion is against the backdrop of the fact that the new administration may force some officers of the Service on compulsory retirement.