The Presidency has tackled critics of the newly-appointed Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, saying his a “perfect fit” for the job.
A statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Mr. Abiodun Oladunjoye, Deputy Director (Information), Media Unit of the State House, quoted Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, as describing Abubakar as the most qualified for the position of DG of NIA – Nigeria’s equivalent of the CIA.
A cross-section of Nigerians, among them Senator Isa Misau (APC/Bauchi Central) and Governor Ayodele Fayose flayed the appointment last week of Abubakar as substantive head of the intelligence agency.
While Misau lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing an incompetent man to the highly sensitive position, Fayose criticized him for again disregarding “the feelings of people from other parts of the country” by appointing a northerner, thereby placing leadership of all security agencies in the country in the hands of northerners.
But the presidential spokesman said it was regrettable that the new NIA boss had been maligned by a section of the media, following his appointment.
Speaking at the State House Friday evening at a send-off organised by presidential aides and State House staff for the NIA boss, who was erstwhile Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs/International Relations, Shehu insisted that Abubakar’s appointment was well-deserved.
He stated: “Ahmed Rufai Abubakar is a perfect fit who is most qualified for the job. He has occupied various top public offices in the agency in the course of which he received several awards. He left voluntarily to go to the United Nations as a Director.
“When he retired, he was appointed as a senior adviser in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) regional coalition of countries for the fight against Boko Haram and other trans-border security threats in the region. There is no doubt at all as to Mr. Abubakar’s qualifications for the job and that is what is most important”.
The Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, who set the tone for the evening, described the erstwhile presidential aide as “a patriot, intelligent and consummate gentleman”.
The Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr Jalal Arabi, said the civil service had gained richly from Abubakar’s wealth of experience.
In his response, the NIA boss said “I am emotion-laden for so many reasons and I thank you for what you have said about me. The best I could have done in my life is to serve the President and the nation”.