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10 Headline Fall-Outs Between Top Government Officials In Nigeria

Power tussle and political intrigues are part and parcel of every polity. These scrimmages often emerge from conflict of interest and clash of characters.

The Nigerian political scene is not left out and the country has had its own share of maneuvering and manipulation, even right at the top of the political echelon.

Below are the 10 notable fall-outs.

First Lady vs Garba Shehu and the Cabal

In an interview aired on the BBC IN 2016, Aisha Buhari stated that the cabal has created so many problems for her husband, to the point of disconnecting him from the millions of Nigerians who voted for him in the 2015 presidential elections. She vowed she may not go out to campaign for her husband in 2019 if President Buhari decided to run for a second term. In 2018, the First Lady, on her official account , shared videos of a plenary session of the Senate where Senator Isa Misau claimed that the president is not in charge of the country. In 2019, Aisha Buhari also accused her husband’s nephew, Mamman Daura of giving out orders for the scrapping of the office of the First Lady without the president’s knowledge. The First Lady also accused Senior Presidential Media Aide, Garba Shehu, of taking instructions from some people in government rather than from President Muhammadu Buhari. In a statement personally signed by her, she accused the spokesman of working against the First Family.

First Lady vs First Nephew

In June 2020, news about the arrest of aides attached to the First Lady Aisha Buhari spread across the country. According to reports the arrest came about as a result of a confrontation between Aisha and Saibu Yusuf, President Buhari’s personal assistant. Saibu was said to have returned from a trip to Lagos and failed to isolate, which did not go down well with the First Lady. Following a confrontation concerning the issue, an argument broke out and a security aide of the First Lady, according to the presidency source, fired a warning shot inside the Presidential Villa. Saibu is said to have a escaped by foot and later reached out to the IGP. The IGP Mohammed Adamu, after receiving a security report on the incident, ordered the arrest of all the security aides that were involved.

NSA vs Chief of Staff

Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, of undue and dangerous interference on matters bordering on national security. Monguno fired a warning memo to all service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Mr Kyari. Monguno said Mr Kyari’s directives to service chiefs were sometimes issued without the knowledge much less approval of the president, a practice he said has added to the government’s inability to contain insecurity.


On July 6th, 2020, rumours went flying about the arrest of  Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the Department of State Services (DSS). The DSS quickly released a statement through its Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, Ph.D, denying the arrest and claiming that Magu was only invited for questioning. Their statement read “The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the public that it did not arrest Ibrahim MAGU, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as has been reported by sections of the media. The Service, has since, today, 6th July, 2020, been inundated with enquiries over the alleged arrest,” This came two months after Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), wrote to Buhari, recommending the removal of Magu on the basis of misconduct, insubordination and diversion of recovered loot. Pending the conclusion of the investigation, EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar replaced Magu and took charge of overseeing the activities of the Commission. 


On July 22, 2020, FAAN accused a top official of the Department of State Services (DSS), Safiyanu Abba, of deliberately obstructing the airport’s security process at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. According to a statement, the agency claimed that Abba breached protocol when he prevented further search of a visitor who had triggered an alarm after walking through a metal detector. Abba allegedly slapped a security officer who insisted on conducting another search, an incident that happened on Friday, July 17. The DSS released a statement dismissing reports of the assault, claiming that no DSS staff engaged in a fight and that the agency will not do anything that would put public safety in danger. They also stated that there were other avenues for squashing disagreement between the two agencies, rather than social media.

NNPC vs Minister of State Petroleum

In October, 2017 there was a break in synergy between the petroleum ministry and the national oil company for Nigeria. The State Minister for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu alleged that the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru overreached his authority by making numerous changes in the internal structure of the NNPC.

The NNPC which is responsible for handling matters related to oil and gas in the country discharges its function by a board which the Minister of petroleum chairs. Members of the board also include the Director General of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the GMD and 3 people. As the President of Nigeria himself acts as the minister of petroleum, it is expected that the state minister heads the board either in his position as the state minister or by implied appointment by the president. More so, major policy decisions are to be approved by the board and especially, the head of the board is expected to have prior information before decisions affecting the structure of the NNPC. This alleged overreaching by the GMD prompted Ibe Kachichukwu to write to the president airing his grievance. 

Army vs Police

Squabbles between the Nigerian police and army have been a continuous recurrence, but in 2019, things took a new turn when reports broke out about the killing of three police officers in the line of duty by some members of the Nigerian army. The police were in the process of transporting a kidnap kingpin from a rural area in Taraba to Jalingo the state capital when members of the Nigerian army pursued them and carried out a rescue mission on the suspect whom they claimed they thought to have been a victim. The operation turned bloody as policemen were killed and others were injured.

The army was quick to release a statement, pushing the blame to the police for not properly coordinating the raid and causing confusion. Both forces continuously traded blames, going back and forth.


In a series of tweets on August 3, 2020, the chairman of the NIPOST, Maimuna Abubakar, accused the FIRS of stealing the mandate of NIPOST. She claimed that the FIRS which is responsible for assessing, collecting and accounting for tax accruing to the Federal Government, had begun printing stamps. FIRS released a statement through its Director of Communication and Liaison, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmed, dismissing Abubakar’s tweets claiming that the power to collect stamp duties resides with it and not NIPOST. It read “ The FIRS is the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties. The statement further read “We therefore call on right-thinking Nigerians to disregard that ill-advised tweet by Maimuna Abubakar and allied misinformation being disseminated by NIPOST in relation to Stamp Duties collection, which by law is the responsibility of the FIRS.” 

Abike Dabiri vs Isa Pantami

CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Dabiri-Erewa accused Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami of ordering gunmen to throw NIDCOM staff out of the office given to them by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), an agency under the ministry of communications headed by Pantami.

The minister took to twitter to refute the claim, sating “THIS IS A FAT LIE FROM HER: The owner of the building @NgComCommission has faulted her lies on their social media platforms. The minister has never given that directives to any gunman. We need to be very objective in reporting. I have never sent any gunmen there, & I have no one.

Dabiri-Erewa responded to Pantami’s tweet with a tweet of her own where she said “An Islamic scholar should not lie Hon Minister. ( PhD)You did that to me cos I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary Left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But pls release all our office equipment. Public office is transient .@DrIsaPantami.

To support her claim against the minister, Dabiri-Erewa tweeted a video showing NIDCOM staff when they were allegedly denied access to their office on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.

NIPOST vs Minister of Communications & Digital Economy

In July, NIPOST approved new license fees for people in the courier business, increasing the new license fees for Municipal operators to N1 million, and renewals fees a year up to 40% of new license fees at N400,000.00 a year. State operators’ fees rose to N2 Million, regional to N5 million, national to N10 Million, while Internal operators are meant to pay N20 Million as license fees. All license renewal is pegged at 40% of license fees per zone. 

Following widespread outrage concerning the increase, Minister of Communications & Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Pantami, via a tweet stated that he did not approve the new NIPOST increase of license fees. 

He tweeted “our attention has been drawn to an increase of license fee, which was not part of the regulation I earlier APPROVED for you. Your Chair and PMG were YESTERDAY contacted to put the implementation on hold and send a report to our ministry by Monday. Best wishes!”

He further added “ The power of regulation of NIPOST lies with the Minister. Any change of fee must be specific & be approved by him before implementation. I know the economic challenges of NIPOST. However, looking at the economic hardship of our citizens, we need to suspend any move,

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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