Why appointment of Daura as DSS boss is illegal, immoral, by group
A GROUP, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), has faulted the appointment of Lawal Ahmed Daura as the Director General of the Department of State Security, (DSS), describing it as “unconstitutional, ultra vires and immoral.”
In a statement signed by the Chairman of its Board of Directors, Emeka Umeagbalasi, the group said there is no way a retired director of DSS should be recalled from retirement to head the organization.
Intersociety which challenged the Presidency to cite any such provision in the constitution, urged the government to, within 72 hours, reverse the appointment.
According to the group, records show that Daura retired from the service in the rank of a director after holding state directorship in about five states, including Lagos and Imo.
Intersociety disclosed that as a retired director of SSS, records show that Daura “worked for Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and chaired their security and intelligence sub-committee for the 2015 election from where he was called back from retirement and made the DG of SSS/DSS in shocking, alarming and deafening circumstances.” “Having observed ongoing verbal exchanges between the federally ruling APC and federally opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) over the issue, we make bold to say that Lawal Ahmed Daura’s presidential appointment as the DG of DSS/SSS is not only anomalous and shocking, but also ultra vires, unconstitutional and impeachable”.
Part of the statement read: “Their reported exchanges failed woefully to raise and answer the following questions: Can a statutorily retired officer of the Army, Navy, Police, Air Force, Custom Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Immigration Service, Prison Service and their likes be called back from statutory retirement and appointed the head of any of them? “Specifically, can a statutorily retired Director of SSS/DSS be called back from statutory retirement and made the DG of DSS/SSS?
Which constitutional provision or statutory provision empowers President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to recall a statutorily retired officer of the armed forces, including the DSS/SSS and make him or her, the head of a branch of the armed forces with particular reference to the DSS/SSS?
We challenge the authorities of the federally ruling party-the APC and the Buhari’s Presidency to provide concrete and constitutionally and statutorily grounded answers to the above questions as a matter of uttermost immediacy and extreme public importance.
Where the questions could not be answered as totally demanded, in 72 hours, then the appointment should be reversed immediately with unreserved public apologies from both the Presidency and the APC”.
The rights group contended that the exchanges between APC and the PDP that restrict the issue to accusation and counter-accusation of “favoritism and nepotism” clearly miss the fact that the appointment is fundamentally grounded in constitutional and statutory breaches.
Intersociety maintained that “by Section 315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, with its last amendment in 2011, all laws and procedural rules deemed as Acts of the Federation, Laws of the State and other administrative laws, including the National Security Agencies Act (Decree 19) of 1986, the Presidential Proclamation, SSS Instrument 1 of 1999 and Civil/Public Service Rules of the Federation are recognized by the Constitution provided their provisions are not repugnant to the provisions of the Constitution”.
Arguing further against the constitutionality of Daura’s appointment, the group noted that by the general rules governing the Nigerian Civil/Public Service, there are express provisions for ‘active public/civil service workforce’ and ‘retired civil/public service workforce’, adding that while the chief remuneration of serving workforce is called ‘salary’ that of retired workforce is called ‘pension’.
The group said: “The former’s beneficiary is called ‘a salary earner’ and the latter’s beneficiary is called ‘a pensioner’. To retire statutorily from civil service or public service, he or she must attain the age of 60 or serve 35 years.
A few exceptions are applicable in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police and their likes as well as the Judiciary where retirement can be effected following appointment of younger officers and course-mates leading to retirement of older ones.
However, there is no provision or procedure whatsoever under the present constitutional democracy, governed by the 1999 Constitution, where a statutorily retired officer in the Nigeria Police Force, Prisons Service, Immigration Service, Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps, Custom Service, Army, Navy or Air Force is recalled to active service and made its active head. Such a retired officer can only be appointed to head a civil body having an over-sight supervision; such as the Police Service Commission.
In the judiciary, a statutorily retired judge can never be recalled and appointed as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) or President of the Court of Appeal, (PCA). “But in the instant case, this is an intelligence and force body called ‘the Department of State Security Services’. It is a ranking and procedural body governed by the Constitution and public/civil service rules.
It has serving officers and retired officers who are also pensionable; among them is retired Director Lawal Ahmed Daura, who retired statutorily in 2013.”