Journalism of Courage

Morocco’s ECOWAS Membership Push: The New NIA DG’s Connection

The new Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, whose appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari has sparked outrage from both within and the international diplomatic circle has been fingered as the arrow head for the push to get Morocco into the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

This is just as his alleged dual nationality of being a Chadian and Nigerian is generating ripples within the security and intelligence community.

Findings by Per Second News indicate that Abubakar, who was Special Assistant to Babagana Kingibe when he served as Envoy at the African Union in Darfur in 2005, quickly teamed up with his former Principal, in drawing plans and attempted to twist Nigeria’s foreign policy all in an effort to scheme Morocco, a North African country to become a member of the ECOWAS that is essentially a West African community organization.

Part of Abubakar’s posting while he was hurriedly seconded to the United Nations office in Dakar where he worked under the former ECOWAS Secretary-General, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, included a tour of duty in Morocco where against the Agency and Service regulations, he got married to Mariam, a Moroccan.

A dependable source within the security circle confided in our correspondent saying; “that is why Abubakar and Kingibe are derisively called in the diplomatic circles as the draftsmen of fertilizer and Titus sardine diplomacy,” an appellation for their relationship with Morocco.

Kicking against the agenda, Nigeria’s Association of Retired Career Ambassadors, said ECOWAS should resist any attempt by Morocco to join the sub-regional body.

A Moroccan official in response to an inquiry by Per Second News said that the North African country’s desire to join the ECOWAS, is part of its vision to “strengthen and deepen links uniting Morocco and the member countries, [and] advocate regional integration as a vector of economic acceleration in Africa.

“To make this desire a reality, the government is taking three sets of measures: political, legal and technical,” he said.

But the highly respected Retired Career ambassadors of Nigeria, argue that Morocco was coming to whittle down Nigeria’s power not only at ECOWAS and the African Union, but also at the United Nations.

Bouceta Mouia

Morocco’s accession to the ECOWAS is being put into action in a “progressive and gradual” manner, said  Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Boucetta Mouia in Rabat recently. 

Boxed into a corner, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama  after a meeting of regional leaders in Liberia last year said, “in principle, there is nothing against Morocco joining ECOWAS but it is just whether it would add value, whether it would be a win for the ECOWAS region or not.

”Dozens of officials have voiced dismay over his appointment, with one retired intelligence chief saying, “Putting someone like Abubakar at the helm of the NIA is akin to putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.”

The new NIA DG is strongly believed to be highly resentful of the United States and an avowed anti-Semitic, a development that made him to ensure that a scheduled side talk meeting between President Buhari and the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu in New York during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017 was deliberately aborted.

A security expert who pleaded anonymity, told Per Second News that; “Nepotism is worse than stealing of public funds. How can a nation of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory now have a situation where one state (Katsina alone) is heading two of the most sensitive security agencies in addition to the position of the Commander-in-Chief? I can tell you that nepotism and peddling influence are the worst forms of corruption.”

Per Second News also gathered that an initial disquiet at the NIA stemmed from the appointment of Ambassador Kingibe as head of the panel to study and make recommendations on the Agency’s administrative, technical and operational future.

Ambassador Babagana Kingibe during the presentation of report of the Presidential Review panel on National Intelligence Agency (NIA) at the State House in Abuja.

Other members of the committee included Ambassador Zakari Ibrahim and Ambassador Niyi Oladeji and Chief AK Horsfall, but unknown to many, the all-powerful Chief of Staff to the President Mallam Abba Kyari slotted in the name of Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, a staffer in his office as an additional member.




Findings also indicate that Ambassador Kingibe is viewed in the intelligence circle as an interloper since he was really never an intelligence officer by training or practice.

This formed the basis why many of his colleagues at the ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed surprise at how he rose to the position of an Ambassador and went beyond bounds to marry a Canadian against extant Foreign Service rules and regulations.

Kingibe was however a Permanent Secretary in the Office of Special Service for which any routine civil servant can be deployed at the pleasure of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

For now, Kingibe has successfully maneuvered himself into the Buhari cabal, allegedly made of Mamman Daura, the president’s cousin, Abba Kyari, his Chief of Staff, Lawal Daura, the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), among others.

It was also gathered that it was this vantage position that Kingibe brought in Abubakar, who was his Special Assistant, when he served as African Union Envoy in Darfur 2005, to be President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on International Affairs.


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