Updated: February 25, 2021
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, also has the biggest film industry known as Nollywood. But for now, the biggest soap opera everyone is watching is taking place in the corridors of power in Abuja.
On Tuesday, millions of Nigerians around the world were asking themselves the same question: Who was the head of the secret service agency, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura, working for?
Mr. Daura was detained, hours after the Acting President, Mr. Yemi Osinbajo, sacked him.
He was fired while President Muhammadu Buhari remains on leave in London, and hours after his men invaded the National Assembly complex and prevented opposition Senators from going in.
It was said to be a plot to allow Senators loyal to Nigerian President to remove Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, who dumped the President’s party last week and joined the opposition, according to former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, who issued a strongly worded statement describing the move as illegal and undemocratic.
Opposition leaders warned that the invasion by Mr. Daura’s men of the National Assembly complex was a coup against democracy. They said democracy might be about to be truncated in Nigeria.
But veteran Nigerian journalist who heads the government funded and controlled News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, argued that Mr. Daura might have been working for Saraki and against Buhari and the ruling APC.
Onanuga wrote in a Facebook post: “Now that the Federal Government has come out clean on the blockade of the National Assembly by some operatives of the DSS, the question we should ask is: Who was the beneficiary of the blockade? Who was Daura working for?
“Let’s reason together.
“The PDP Senators claimed Daura’s masked men were there to ensure the APC senators impeach Saraki. But as reporters found out, there was no single APC senator in the premises! So, impeachment conspiracy was false, a mere ruse. Why was it that only PDP senators were at the gate at that hour to challenge the DSS men and mouth expletives against Buhari’s Federal Government?
“Were the PDP senators there because someone leaked a false intelligence to them that the APC senators were coming to reconvene by force and impeach Saraki?
“My own theory is that Daura’s men were actually there to stop the APC senators from gaining entrance to carry out the rumoured impeachment of the Senate president.
“Let no one therefore fool the people of Nigeria about claiming a contrived credit of being the defender of our democracy, more than the executive arm.
“The truth is that Daura had a second master in the National Assembly, whose interest he was protecting, no matter if it conflicted with the man who appointed him in July 2015.
“My submission: Daura’s men blocked the NASS gate to protect Bukola Saraki and keep out the APC senators”.
But many other people told Today News Africa that Mr. Daura was sacked following International pressure and the desire of the government to save face and project a false image of legitimacy.
Early in the day, the acting president’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, announced the sack of Mr. Daura on Twitter.
AgP Yemi Osinbajo has directed the termination of the appointment of the DG of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura.— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) August 7, 2018
AgP Yemi Osinbajo has directed the termination of the appointment of the DG of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura.
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— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) August 7, 2018
His tweets were followed by a statement by the presidency condemning the invasion of the National Assembly by Mr. Daura’s men.
After he was sacked, a special police force detained him in Abuja. He was being detained at FSARS.
His detention was followed by a meeting between the acting President and the head of the anti corruption agency.
It was not clear whether Mr. Daura was now being investigated for corruption, but he had previously accused the head of the anti corruption agency of being corrupt.
The anti-corruption boss, Ibrahim Magu, has failed twice to be confirmed by the National Assembly because of a report issued by Daura.
Now, he may be asked to investigate the man who indicted him for corruption.
Why it matters: Nigerians go to the polls in seven months and tension has been rising with many politicians abandoning the president’s party and joining the opposition. They have promised to defeat the retired major general turned democrat who was elected in 2015 with fanfare, promising to revamp the dying economy, crush Boko Haram terrorists and kill corruption before “it kills Nigeria”.
So far, his promises have not materialized and almost four years have gone. Now, Nigerians seem to be yearning for a different messiah.
Read full statement by Vice President condemning the invasion of the Nigerian National Assembly by Secret Service agents on Tuesday morning.
ACTING PRESIDENT CONDEMNS UNAUTHORIZED TAKEOVER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has described the unauthorized takeover of the National Assembly complex earlier today as a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all accepted notions of law and order.
According to him, the unlawful act which was done without the knowledge of the Presidency is condemnable and completely unacceptable.
By this statement, Professor Osinbajo is consequently assuring Nigerians that all persons within the law enforcement apparatus who participated in this travesty will be identified and subjected to appropriate disciplinary action.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity,
Office of the Acting President,
07 August, 2018