Boko Haram: SSS boss blocks investigation of Modiboo

The decision of Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to probe the Boko Haram crisis through his National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Abdullahi Sarki Muktar

(rtd) may have reached a dead end following moves by the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Afakriya Gadzama to block all security agencies from investigating the alleged culpability in the crisis of his former classmate and Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Ahmed Modibbo. had recently broken the story that some top security chiefs were analyzing a lead that Modibbo’s decision to divert close to N6 billion meant for the feeding of indigent pupils under a special UBEC programme may have heightened the ease with which the children swelled the ranks of the Boko Haram sect.

Apart from international odium which the four-day crisis brought to bear on Nigeria, over 800 persons including military and police officers lost their lives. Several police stations were torched by the sect members in some parts of Northern Nigeria, while destruction became the lot of properties worth hundreds of millions of naira.

But speaking on Tuesday when the President of the Republic of Benin, Boni Yayi visited in Abuja, Yar’Adua disclosed that he had instructed his NSA to investigate “all the events” and carry out a “post-mortem with the security agencies as a first step, so that we can have a full report of what happened during the crisis.”

Some officials in the office of the NSA’s told that the President’s order to their boss may be “a very tall order” given what they said was Gadzama’s seeming resolve “to work at cross-purposes with our office since the onset of the crisis.”

Said one of the sources: “Even before the outbreak of the crisis (Boko Haram) we were working on a lead that the SSS DG (Gadzama) has been compromising his office by frustrating any attempt to investigate Modibbo, whom we understand was his classmate at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. We understand both graduated with honours degrees in history in 1976 or so.”

The source volunteered that they were also working on another lead revealing how the SSS boss “helped cover Modibbo’s tracks by planting SSS officers on his perceived lecturer-opponents, particularly after he (Modibbo) was indicted by the Estate Department of ABU for forgeries of documents when he chaired the committee on the rehabilitation of Senior Staff Quarters in the school.”

Offered the security official, “our investigations revealed that no sooner had Modibbo been indicted for fraudulently falsifying the figures on the cost of the exercise, than he began to use Gadzama to plant beer in the refrigerators of those he suspected spearheaded his indictment, fully aware that the punishment for such was dismissal. And that was how a good number of otherwise innocent lecturers were shown the way out of ABU.”

Another official in the NSA’s office recounted how they were “completely scandalized” to learn of how Modibbo got Gadzama to vet and submit an unsigned and undated “Investigation report on suspected fraudulent activities of Inter-markets Nig. Ltd to Mr. President.”

He affirmed: “We now have sufficient reasons to believe that a 17-page document authored by Modibbo’s lawyer, one John Gaul Lebo, who sent EFCC a petition on 31 st October, 2008 on the same Intermarkets’ issue, is the same document Gadzama forwarded Mr. President as “SSS comprehensive report on alleged fraud by Intermarkets Nig. Ltd.”

The official also narrated how, in their professional opinion, the SSS boss “blundered by allowing Modibbo con him into substituting the name of a principal officer in UBEC under investigation, just to settle old scores.”

He explained: “Now, Manasseh Mulkat Mutfwang is the suspended UBEC deputy director of procurement. Paul is Manasseh’s elder brother and Modibbo’s former teacher-colleague at ABU. But in all SSS reports on the N850 million contract scam, what kept appearing was Paul Mutfwang and not Manasseh Mutfwang. We kept scratching our heads, trying to figure out why the SSS DG would allow what we thought was a slip in a matter involving N850 million. Why he chose to write Paul Mutfwang instead of Manasseh Mutfwang? Not anymore.

“In about 1989, we gathered, Paul Mutfwang and Modibbo, who at the time was also teaching in ABU, had a brawl on the heels of a reckless declaration by Modibbo that his Hausa-Fulani ethnic stock were divinely ordained to lord over Muftwang’s so-called Northern minorities.

“In the course of the brawl, Modibbo, we gathered, almost lost an eye. 20 years later, Paul, a political science lecturer in Zaria, finds his name in the ‘credible SSS report’ to Mr. President in a matter involving UBEC’s headquarters in Abuja. A certain Patrick Bassey signs a letter covering this ‘credible SSS report’ on behalf of his boss, Gadzama, to Mr. President on 7th April, 2009. This must be the eighth wonder of the world,” snickered the official.

The official said they were also investigating the possibility that a sponsored arsonist was behind the recent torching of ABU’s history department which housed the documents indicting the UBEC boss for allegedly mismanaging funds for the renovation of senior staff quarters. “With rumours making the rounds that Modibbo is eyeing the Adamawa governorship seat in 2011, it would be too risky to leave any indicting reports to chance,” opined the security official.

Another official in the office of the NSA gave an insight into what they said was Gadzama’s penchant for circumventing “due process” in the conduct of his professional duties, a development the official said largely called to question the reliability of the numerous security reports which the SSS boss churns out to the President on a daily basis.

He recalled how Gadzama had in the wake of the SSS investigation into the UBEC scam, personally handed Modibbo an SSS summons on some UBEC officials, saying the move ran “against laid down procedures for communicating inter-agency official correspondences.”

“We were totally disappointed but not surprised to note that the summons to the UBEC officers on “Investigation Activities” with reference number S.605/8708, and dated November 19, 2008, was personally delivered to Modibbo by the SSS DG, because none of the letters on which Modibbo later minuted on was acknowledged by UBEC’s registry officials as having being received by them.

“Another blunder happened shortly thereafter, but this time it was the EFCC. In a February 9, 2009 letter with reference number CR:3000/EFCC/ABJ/ASO/TB/Vol 8/97, EFCC advised Modibbo to release the four officers “to interview the undersigned through O/C Team B on Wednesday, 11 th February, 2009, by 100.00 hrs at No. 1 Mohammed Bello Street, Asokoro, Abuja.

“Even though the letter was signed on behalf of the EFCC chairman, Modibbo didn’t have any qualms about unilaterally changing the date stated for the summons. Instead of Wednesday, 11 th February, 2009, written by EFCC in black and white, Modibbo unilaterally changed the date with his red pen to Tuesday, 17 th February, 2009,” he clarified.

Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday to approve a proposal by the Minister of State for Education, Hajiya Aishatu Dukku to empower Modibbo award contracts for six yet-to-be ascertained items totaling N2.45 billion. Modibbo had on 22 nd June, 2009, secured the nod of the Ministerial Tenders Board to award contracts totaling N3.3 billion. He has since awarded the contracts to his numerous mistresses and cronies. gathered from Presidency sources that FEC rejected the memo to avert the embarrassment it would have caused the Yar’Adua administration, which is still struggling to dust off the ashes of the Boko Haram crisis.

Sources close to the Ministry of Education had confided in that the contracts for the “six items” were designed to line the pockets of First Lady Turai Yar’adua, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Yayale Ahmed, minister of agriculture, Dr. Said Abba Ruma, and Katsina-based notorious smuggler, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal “so that they may continue to give Dukku and Modibbo the necessary backing to perpetrate atrocities.”