By Stephen Ubanna
For months that the Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman, Pension Reform Fund, saga broke out in the country, Babagana Mungono a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA, to President Muhammadu Buhari had never been mentioned in connection with it. He had been seen as one who is committed to his job allowing the likes of Mamman Lawal Daura , Director General, State Security Service, SSS, Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, other Security Chiefs to be visible in the Administration.
But many see his quietness as part of his military training. Unknown to them , there is more to it than meet the eye. It was a matter of time before the Mungono’s quietness could be unveiled. The opportunity came at the last public hearing organised by the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee investigating Maina’s controversial reinstatement and promotion in the Civil Service.
Note that Mungono, Maina and Babachair Lawal, former secretary to the Federal government were indigenes of Borno state which had been ravaged by the Islamic Fundamentalists, Boko Haram , since 2009.
Daura told the House Committee that sometime in 2o15 or 2016, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice” had placed a call to him when he was outside the country and requested for my advise on a request he got through an undisclosed source that Maina wanted to meet him” He wanted me to advise him whether to agree to see Maina or not in that foreign country”.
Given an insider information about the duo, he informed the Committee that he had advised Malami to ”accept to see Maina but he should not see him alone” but in the presence of a third party for security reasons. Many people had alluded that the third party may be Mungono, the NSA. He disclosed that based on the information, Malami had no option but to see Maina, in the alleged foreign country in the presence of the alleged third party.
Not many people were surprised that the DG SSS had used the opportunity provided by the House ad-hoc Committtee public hearing to open up on Mungono alleged presence in the meeting between Malami and Monguno in the supposed foreign country.
The duo, according to sources are locked in bitter struggle for supremacy on who gets Buhari’s ear in the Presidency. It was gathered that the quarrel between the two security Chiefs had been brought to the notice of the President but there was not much he could do to call a truce between them. He was relating with them individually as against the NSA coming to brief him on National Security issues.
Security sources told the Magazine that trouble started between the duo last August when Buhari directed Daura, the SSS boss to set up a Committee to probe military procurements from 2007-2015. The source disclosed that the NSA opposed the SSS boss choosing members of the Committee as well as allow representation from the security agency.
The position of Mungono, that it was a military affair and therefore should be handled by retired military personnels and representative from the EFCC, to avoid leakage of confidential information about the Committee’s work was considered an insult by Daaura.
The NSA was said to have taken up the matter with Buhari to stop Daura from setting up the Committee. He could not understand why an agency in-charge of intelligence gathering and other serious confidential issues for the country could not be considered worthy of keeping information about a Committee.
it is not surprising why the SSS boss was determined to make the office of the NSA unworkable by refusing to take orders from him.He was said to have complained severally to the President that the NSA was not always in the office as he was in the habit of travelling round the world , thus leaving a vacuum in the Coordination of the country’s National Security. perhaps, it is in one of such international trips that he played into the hand of Daura , the SSS boss.
Many had expected the Borno state born NSA to deny the allegation made against him that he was the ” third party” at the meeting between Malaami and Maina in alleged foreign country. Instead he had kept to himself, fueling speculation that what Daura had told the House ad-hoc Committee public hearing investigating Maina reinstatement and promotion in the Civil Service.
Moreso, Nigerians are watching to see the action that may be taken by the House ad-hoc Committee whether to invite the NSA to appear before the Committee to defend the allegation against him and why he agreed to be at the meeting between Maina and Malami.
Insiders told the Magazine that there had been pressure from the National Assembly leadership on the President to replace the security Chiefs and introduce fresh hands into the Country institutions. But Buhari may be a horn of Dilema to sack Malami or any of the security Chiefs. This is evident going by Maina’s statements. He cited the case of Mungono, the NSA , who was at the meeting between him and the Attorney General, while on official assignments outside the country.
Not many people are surprised that Maina made overtures to see Malami in a foreign country. He confirmed that while he was out of the country, the Attorney General paid him a visit, during which he (Maina) told him about a n1.3 tn recovered for the government in January. There are insinuations in both official and unofficial circles that thre is no way that Malami, the Attorney General, could have summoned courage to meet Maina without the approval of Buhari.
That much may have been allegedly confirmed by Malami. ”The President gave the nod that I should go and sit down with Maina adding, ” I have given you the approval”. In an emotional outbursts, Maina had said that the” Security agencies had cleared him”, noting that he had never been sued by any of the Security agencies that are making noise today.