Chairman of the Presidential panel on National Intelligence Agency (NIA) restructuring Ambassador Babagana Kingibe yesterday refused open interaction of his panel members with the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Public Safety.

The presidential committee was summoned by the Sani Aminu-led House committee over the status of $202 million intervention fund allegedly missing from the agency’s coffers.

The committee is also investigating the propriety or otherwise of the appointment of Ahmed Abubakar as new NIA Director-General (DG).

At the beginning of the meeting, Kingibe, who arrived at the meeting with members of his group, was shocked on discovering the presence of reporters.

He was offered a seat by an official of the committee, which he refused, querying whether the committee wants to make a public show of the meeting with the media presence.

“No, I won’t sit down. What is all this? Do you people want to make a show of us?” he queried

When the committee’s aide advised him to go and see the committee chairman, he refused, saying the chairman should be informed that the panel members were around.

On introduction, Kingibe said the cumulative working experience of the members of his panel could not have been less than 175 years, adding that having made an oath of secrecy in and out of the office, all the past NIA DGs and the incumbent would rather prefer to discuss with the committee behind closed-doors.

Six members of the panel attended the hearing.

At this point, the House committee chairman asked the reporters to vacate the room for an executive session.

Kingibe and other members of the panel, however, hurriedly left the venue after about two hours of discussion.

On his part, the House committee chairman told reporters that there was progress, refusing to go into specific details.

“The investigation is still ongoing; we are making progress,” he added.

The committee had raised the alarm over a missing $202 million belonging to the agency, which they vowed to recover.

Part of the ways to track the funds, according to the committee, was to interrogate persons or groups, past and present DGs of the agency, as well as the Kingibe’s panel, which had a presidential mandate to restructure the agency.

Aminu had told reporters after a meeting 10 days ago that “first, there was the issue of $43 million found in an Ikoyi, Lagos apartment said to belong to the NIA. Then, there was the $44 million allegedly missing from the NIA’s coffers, which the House of Representatives mandated its committee on Public Safety and National Security to investigate.

“Even the National Security Adviser said it was when our committee began its investigation they got the information that the NIA got $289 million.

“You know, we had a meeting with the NSA today (Friday). We later discovered since last week in our meeting with the past Acting NIA DG that the $44 million is not missing.

“If you remember, there was this $44 million, which is among the $289 million approved to the then Director-General; that is Ayo Oke. Just April last year, they discovered $43 million in Ikoyi. He tried to say that the $44 million and $43 million are part of the $289 million.

“But for us, we are still working to see where the remaining $202 million was placed. We only know about the $43 million now, the one discovered in Ikoyi and the $44 million in their vault. In the course of our investigation, we’ll come up with where the $289 miliion really is, not the $43 million and not the $44 million but the entire amount.

“For me, the money ($202million) is still missing.”

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