EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian ambassador goes into hiding; NIA launches manhunt
The Nigerian Ambassador to Chad, Mohammed Dauda, has gone underground, triggering a massive manhunt for him.
Sources familiar with the matter said the diplomat slipped into hiding after claiming his life was in danger following the testimony he gave a House of Representatives committee last month.
The government had sometime last year recalled Mr. Dauda from his post in N’djamena to take temporary charge of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) after the organisation’s Director General, Ayodele Oke, was suspended.
Mr. Oke was asked to step aside as authorities investigate a huge cash haul belonging to the NIA uncovered at an apartment in Lagos.
Mr. Dauda acted as head of the security agency from November 2017 to January 2018 when he was replaced by an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
Sources told PREMIUM TIMES that after he was replaced as head of the NIA, Mr. Dauda was asked to return to his post in N’djamena to continue with his tour of duty.
The official however did not comply, saying his life would be in danger in Chad, his cover as a security operative having been blown with his appointment as acting head of the NIA.
Mr. Dauda is said to have also argued that having now been exposed as a spy, he could no longer function as an ambassador anywhere in the world.
While contending that he could be eliminated if he returned to Chad, the official also failed to report to the headquarters of the NIA for a possible fresh posting, our sources said.
“He is saying those he accused of corruption are after him as well,” one source said.
Mr. Dauda had appeared before a House of Representatives committee and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at separate times during which he made damaging allegations of corruption against members of a panel raised by President Buhari to recommend ways of repositioning the NIA.
Members of the panel, led by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe, have denied wrongdoings, saying Mr. Dauda was only trying to get back at them because he felt they were responsible for his removal.
Our sources said the NIA has now commissioned an intensive search for Mr. Dauda following his refusal to appear before a disciplinary panel raised to try him for allegedly bringing the NIA into disrepute.
As part of moves to arrest him, armed security men suspected to be from the NIA have continued a siege on the residence Mr. Dauda lived while in office.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how operatives stormed the house located in the upscale Maitama district of Abuja.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter who visited the area Tuesday afternoon sighted two grey-coloured security vans parked on either sides of the house’s gate.
A dark-googled operative in mufti was also stationed at the turn to the close.
Mr. Mohammed and his family are said to be out of the house as at the time the operatives arrived.
It remained unclear Wednesday morning whether Mr. Dauda had fled abroad or remained in the country.