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Presidential delegation visits Katsina as NIA boss, Rufai, becomes new Sardauna

The Emir of Katsina, Dr Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, has appointed the Director-General of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, as the new…

The Emir of Katsina, Dr Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, has appointed the Director-General of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, as the new Sardaunan Katsina.

This was contained in an appointment letter dated June 14, 2022 and personally signed by the emir, wherein it was stated that the conferment of the title was in recognition of Rufai’s “selfless service and contributions to the development of Katsina State and the country in general.”

The emir said a date for the turbaning ceremony will be communicated later to the new Sardauna.

It was against this backdrop that on June 26, a powerful delegation of dignitaries from within and outside the country, at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari, paid a thank you visit to the emir over the appointment.

Members of the delegation include Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; business mogul Alhaji Dahiru Mangal; Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; Alhaji Murtala Safana; Federal Commissioner of the National Population Commission in charge of Katsina state, Hon Bala Almu Banye; and Ambassador Adedeji, among others.

A member of the delegation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said they were at the palace on the directive of President Buhari to express their appreciation to the emir for appointing one of them as Sardaunan Katsina—a title associated with patriotism and selfless service to humanity.

Addressing the emir, Ambassador Kingibe, who spoke on behalf of members of the delegation, noted that Katsina is an ancient city which has produced prominent persons that have served Nigeria with patriotism and also made their contributions at the global arena.

Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar


Kingibe explained that Abubakar, the newly appointed Sardauna, is well known for his love for prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and for being learned, philanthropic and someone who has contributed to societal development particularly through the empowerment of youth, women and the less-privileged.

He described Abubakar as a hardworking, dedicated and trustworthy individual, saying it was for that reason that he is well-suited for the title of Sardaunan Katsina, while assuring the emir that the appointee would justify the confidence reposed in him by the Katsina emirate.

Also speaking at the occasion on behalf of members of the new Sardauna’s family, Alhaji Aliyu Musa Kofar Durbi, thanked the emir for appointing Abubakar as Sardaunan Katsina and assured him that their clan will remain grateful to the emir for the gesture.

Speaking on behalf of the appointee’s former classmates, the Limamin Kona, Dr. Bello, narrated how Rufai received several awards at the speech and prize giving day at ATC Katsina in 1975 where Sir Usman Nagogo, the then emir was the special guest of honour.

He recalled that the emir had asked the then Magajin Garin Katsina, Alhaji Kabir Usman, to take good care of the young  Rufai Abubakar.

In his remarks, the emir expressed joy over the positive testimonies given by friends and families of the new Sardauna, describing the delegation he received as a “Nigeria.”

While thanking Allah for guiding him in making the appointment, the emir described the new Sardauna as a humble and dedicated personality who contributed immensely to the development of the state, the country and humanity in general.

He said the title of Sardauna is given only to a personality who is highly committed in the discharge of his responsibilities and in service to humanity. He called on the people of the emirate to give the new Sardauna all the necessary support and cooperation to be able to discharge his responsibilities. 

The title, Sardauna, in Katsina

The traditional title of Sardauna in Katsina Emirate was borrowed from Sokoto Sultanate where it was held by the late Premier of northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello of blessed memory, and it is given to those who try to emulate and follow the footpath of Sardaunan Sokoto, in terms of their contributions to the development of the emirate, the state and the nation in general.

The title was thus given to late Ibrahim Coomasie, the former Inspector General of Police (IGP). After the demise of Coomasie, the title was given to Senator Ibrahim Ida, who was then elevated from Danmajen Katsina.

Recently, following the vacuum created by the resignation of former Wazirin Katsina, Prof. Sani Lugga, the emir elevated Senator Ida to the title of Waziri and thus appointed Ahmed Rufai Abubakar as the new Sardauna.  

The man Ahmed Rufai Abubakar

According to Omorodion, a public affairs analyst, the NIA DG was born to a Nigerian family in Kofar Durbi area of Katsina into a respected family of Quranic scholars. As was the tradition in Northern Nigeria and indeed West Africa, Quranic scholarship took his uncle to Republic of Chad and he took young Abubakar with him where he was partly brought up. Keeping to the tenets of the closely knitted family, Abubakar later married his cousin, the daughter of his uncle Alhaji Ali KD.

On his return to Nigeria, Abubakar attended Arabic Teacher’s College Katsina where he obtained his Grade II Certificate. He later went to Bayero University Kano where he obtained a B.A degree in French Language and Literature, and an M.A degree in Francophone Maghrebian Literature. He worked as a Lecturer at the Bayero University before taking up appointment with the Katsina State government. Later, he transferred his services to NIA in the 90s.

At different times, Abubakar served at the Nigerian Embassy Rabat, Morocco; African Union Peace Mission in Darfur, Sudan; and later joined United Nations as Director in Peace Support Operations, Mediation Process, Preventive Diplomacy and Good Governance office. He also worked as Senior Advisor with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), with headquarters in Ndjamena, Chad, before his appointment as Senior Special Assistant to the President. He is fluent in English and French languages, and became a versatile intelligence officer whose service is ever required in Nigeria’s Intelligence community.

He had also acquired extensive experience working with the United Nations in peace support operations, mediation process, preventive diplomacy and good offices, while all along helping to promote good governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights.

Abubakar, until his appointment as the NIA boss, was the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Relations, Security and Intelligence analyst, as well as Arabic and French interpreter.

Malam Garba Shehu described him as “A perfect fit who is most qualified for the job.” He has occupied various significant schedules in the agency in the course of which he received several awards. He left voluntarily to work for the United Nations.

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