Taxpayers Funded Tactical Agents Escorting Nigeria’s Music Celebrity, Davido

Photographs released on Tuesday showed the popular musician with escorts dressed in tactical and military fatigue.

A series of photographs shared on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 showed Nigerian music celebrity, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, escorted by masked government agents in tactical and camouflage fatigue.

The photographs of  Davido, a singer and record producer were uploaded on the popular social media service Instagram on Tuesday, by a photographer with the username fortunateumunname

The pictures showed the agents with what appeared to be the Israel Weapon Industries IWI Tavor TAR-21, an Israeli bullpup assault rifle chambered to fire 5.56×45mm rounds.

The standard TAR-21 and its variants the CTAR-21 and X-95 are in use among Nigeria’s intelligence services, the Airforce, Navy and some units of the Police, Immigration and Army.

One agent in the photograph wore a ballistic tactical helmet while another was wearing a distinct camouflage first known to have been used by members of Armed Forces Special Forces (AFSF) trained in Eastern Europe for counterterrorism- counterinsurgency operations.

Photograph of an agent wearing a Balaclava and distinct military-style camouflage shared by fortunateumunname on IG.

HumAngle understands that the AFSF raised in 2014 was made up of agents from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and State Security Services (SSS) also known as Department of State Services (DSS).

In April, Davido also shared a photograph of a government agent with a facemask, holding the TAR-21 and wearing a coat commonly used by protection officers of the SSS.

Photograph of Agent with TAR-21 Shared by Davido on IG.

According to the SSS website the agency function includes the provision of protective security for designated principal Government functionaries, sensitive installations and visiting dignitaries.

Prevention and detection of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria, detection and investigation of threats of espionage, subversion, sabotage, terrorism, separatist agitations, inter-group conflicts, economic crimes of national security dimension and threats to law and order.

Nigerian celebrities and VIPs routinely use security personnel and resources for several purposes including social status and protection. 

In Sept. 2020, the photographer posted photographs of Davido convoy of expensive cars with a police vehicle and team visible.

Photograph of Davido’s convoy and police officers shared by fortunateumunname

HumAngle in Oct. of the same year reported that the Nigerian Police had threatened celebrities involved in #EndSARS protests with the withdrawal of mobile police officers attached to them.

In an interview back in 2018, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro said more than 150,000 police officers were engaged by VIPs and unauthorised persons in the country.

Saleh Bala, a retired Brig. Gen and the President of White Ink Institute for Strategy Education and Research in a Daily Trust interview published in April 2021 lamented on the misuse of security resources.

“There is a total misappropriation or a state capture of national resources by the urban elite. Go to any village. How many police officers do you see there? Unless the elites agree that there is a clear and present danger and agree to relinquish that state and security apparatus that we have captured. Go to a big man’s house in Abuja, you will see soldiers in bathroom slippers guarding a private residence when they should be in areas of threats,” he lamented.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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