Lawal Daura is not a saint, a former assistant associate who is loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo fired Daura for ordering the siege on the National Assembly. But claims by Abdulwahab Abdulrahman, a retired senior Department of State Services (DSS) official, questions why Buhari had not let Daura go sooner.
Daura and Abdulrahman were on a 25-member committee for Buhari’s 2015 election campaign.
“I noticed immediately we started work that for Lawal Daura it is simply about the money,” Abdulrahman told Premium Times.
“In one of earlier meetings he suggested that we should request for one billion to start work,” he said. “Where will Buhari see one billion to give us?”
He said Buhari did not know Lawal Daura until late Senator Mustapha Bukar introduced him to the president in 2015. Daura then worked with the campaign and was made DSS boss after Buhari won.
But Daura, Abdulrahman claimed, had always been motivated by money and even received cash from Buhari’s political enemies.
“When he was appointed, he kept putting pressure on me and Maikano, the current admin officer at the presidential villa, to come and work with him as SA,” Abdulrahman said.
“He assured me that what I will get under him, I cannot get even as a minister. He said he wants the two of us to stabilise the service for him,” he said.
Both no sooner had DSS work commenced than Daura started displaying incredible greed, Abdulrahman said.
“Daura was receiving money from everyone including the president’s enemies,” he alleged.
“What are we doing was mostly (working late into the night) receiving ‘Ghana Must Go’ (bags) filled with cash brought by enemies of government to him.
“The rate of corruption on that fourth floor was too much and the president doesn’t deserve this.
“He will go and get information on plans for (Senate President) Bukola (Saraki) and then leak it to him,” Abdulrahman said accusing Daura of betraying President Buhari.
He said Daura was so into the money he stopped sending aides to bureau de change but instead invited money changers to the office.
“They invite the secretary of the bureau de change at that Sheraton (Hotel) gate to come to the office late at night with their counting machines, counting dollars,” he said.
“When I had too much I decided to leave and I swore to the directors who wanted me to stay because of their personal interest that Daura will leave office in handcuffs because of what I saw.
“I was preaching to him that he needs to help Mr President because ‘you know you don’t deserve this office and he appointed you,’ because of that he stopped my pension for two years until I threatened to go to court,” Abdulrahman said.
He said Daura was sacked from the service originally because he was caught siphoning diesel from the DSS Academy in Kaduna. But Buhari reappointed Daura, and as DSS boss.
“Before then, he was almost sacked when he was State Director in Lagos. Tinubu, who was governor donated 20 vehicles to aid the work of the service in the state; Fashola, who is minister now, was the Chief of Staff at the time, Lawal Daura took all the vehicles to Kano and sold them off,” Abdulrahman said.
He also said Daura had to be secretly removed in Edo State because of how he was misusing staff stipends.
“Just like today, how they had to use the back door to ferry him away, don’t you wonder why he was not taken back to the service facility? He wouldn’t have survived it.
“I have been receiving calls all day from some of our top directors and staff, everyone is in a joyous mood today.
“In fact, a director told me that all his life, he never drank beer, but today, he will drink to celebrate how this service is finally saved from destruction,” he said.
Abdulrahman accused Daura of disrespecting Aso Rock bosses including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“Whenever the Vice President calls for a meeting for 2 o’clock Daura will cone by 3 and will not apologise,” he said.
“There was a time they (Daura and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, to whom the DSS boss reports) had serious shouting match with Magu over the disrespect shown to the VP and the VP had to ask Magu to keep quiet,” he said.
Abdulrahman said he left DSS because “I didn’t want my children to see news of my eventual arrest on TV”.
Daura’s allies, however, said Abdulrahaman was only bitter because Daura fired him. Both men worked together for years till they parted ways in 2016.
It is still not clear why Buhari would appoint a seemingly incompetent man to head the DSS and wait for three years to fire him despite all the allegations he faced.