President Muhammadu Buhari has “gifted” his nephew the position of an assistant director at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Peoples Gazette is reporting.
The quiet appointment typifies another exhibit of Buhari’s sectional and corrupt determination to cram national security positions with his tribes and clans and leave an enduring influence long after serving out his tenure in 2023, the news platform noted.
Buhari reportedly inserted Sabiu Tunde Yusuf into the NIA even as he lacked requisite field and administrative experience to handle the rigours of the crucial intelligence top job.
Buhari has declined to make the appointment public to avoid yet another round of public clamour over his bias for northern supremacy in public service. But officials familiar with it have leaked the information to the press.
Yusuf, said to be in his mid-30s, has not been regular on the job because of his primary duties at the State House, unnamed sources said.
“It is whenever he desires that he will be at work,” a source reportedly said. “The claim is now that he is on secondment at the Presidential Villa but his career work is now at the NIA.”
“The reason he was granted an office that should take at least 16 years of career buildup is that the president wanted him to be in charge of NIA before he leaves office,” another source said.
Presidency sources said Yusuf was sent to the NIA on the back of his “special skills” that Buhari said would “be useful” to the organisation.
But the move has now triggered squabbles within the NIA, with officials saying it would affect the knowledge base of future intakes.
“The NIA is where you are recruited from the bottom, made to undergo important training and then grow through the ranks,” the official said. “Bringing someone like this is not good for the system.”
“How can you bring a novice to this office when he has no capacity to train others that will be recruited into service from now on?
“This is just a way of further destroying the system by this president,” the unnamed NIA official reportedly said.
Yusuf, a dreaded confidant of Buhari’s, has recently been reported as one the richest Nigerians alive, after his stash of unexplained billions became a matter of envy even for Governor Godwin Emefiele.
Those who know him said Yusuf does not speak Yoruba, with one person saying his middle name, Tunde, was only because he was named after Tunde Idiagbon, a departed army officer who served as deputy to Buhari’s dreaded junta of 1983-85.
Having undergone his tertiary education at Bayero University Kano, as well as basic computer training at a public institute in Jigawa, Yusuf who carries out functions as President Buhari’s private secretary has no known corporate experience.
The presidential aide, son of Buhari’s niece Hajia Halima who passed away in 2018, was famous for selling call cards in his hometown of Kaduna before being ferried to the State House in 2015.
“He was a recharge cards expert if you want to know about his occupational background,” a presidency official said. “But he has now found himself in stupendous wealth as a top access merchant in the presidency.”
Chiselled into the camp of President Buhari’s late chief of staff, Abba Kyari, Yusuf, an erstwhile commoner has continued to exert influence in the seat of power, handling sensitive State House files, sources said.