Buhari’s SSS Appointment Divides Nigeria Along Ethnic Lines

The Appointment of Yusuf Magaji Bichi, a northerner from Kano state, as director-general of the state security service (SSS) has attracted condemnations from leaders from other ethnic groups in Nigeria.

The new head, who was appointed to replace Matthew Seiyeifa, a Southerner from Bayelsa state, who has been operating in acting capacity since Lawal Daura, a distant cousin of president Buhari, was dismissed, was said to have retired from service but was only brought back because six most-senior officials at the SSS who should have led the agency based on hierarchy are all southerners.

Yusuf Magaji Bichi dg sss
Yusuf Magaji Bichi

Mr Seiyefa was pressured into subservience by Mr Buhari’s Chief of Staff Abba Kyari. Mr Kyari overruled some personnel and administrative changes made by Mr Seiyefa shortly after assuming office, despite strong protest from the top spy chief.

Matthew Seiyeifa sss
Matthew Seiyeifa

Mr Seiyefa was the most-senior official at the SSS when Mr Osinbajo asked him to lead, a development that was widely celebrated at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja and field offices across the country.

Former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke and Reno Omokri, erstwhile aide to immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, have also reacted to the appointment of Yusuf Magaji Bichi as substantive Director-General of the Department of State Security, DSS by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reacting, Omokri in a post on his Twitter handle said Magaji’s appointment as new SSS DG shows President Buhari is dead set on his Northernisation of government policy.

He wrote: “I congratulate President Buhari for appointing yet another Northerner, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, to head the Department of State Security.

“Whoever doubted Buhari’s 97% versus 7% statement can now see the President is dead set on his Northernisation of government policy.”

On his part, Duke described the appointment as being against the clamour to broaden the nation’s security architecture to reflect federal character.

He stated that President Buhari had proven to be irredeemable.

Duke, a presidential aspirant under the Social Democratic Party, SDP, wrote on his Twitter handle: “PMB has just appointed Yusuf Magaji Bichi as substantive DG SSS.

“Against the clamour to broaden the heads of our nations security framework, PMB has proven himself an irredeemable irredentist. SAD!!!”

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