Matthew Seiyefa is the man tapped by Acting-President Yemi Osinbajo to lead Nigeria’s domestic intelligence agency, the State Security Service.
He was the most-senior official at the secret police when the axe ultimately fell on Lawal Daura on Tuesday afternoon, following an infamous tenure reminiscent of the dark days of military dictatorships.
Mr Osinbajo has been hailed not only for sacking Mr Daura but for tapping Mr Seiyefa as his replacement, a choice many see as a near-opposite of his predecessor in terms of how each understands the role of law enforcement under a democratic dispensation.
Mr Seiyefa gave indications that he would not toe the inglorious path of his predecessor at a maiden press briefing on Thursday. Amongst the promises he made was an immediate review of all pending cases of illegal detention of persons, as well as the need to appoint a spokesperson for the department after three years of blackout imposed by Mr Daura.
He also vowed to significantly improve the agency’s image from its current infamy to an institution packed with professionals in law enforcement and protection of citizens against internal aggression.
Not so much was known about Mr Seiyefa until now. PREMIUM TIMES has extracted the basic information relating to Mr Seiyefa’s professional and personal background from his official profile and enumerated it as follows:
Mr Seiyefa was born on October 17, 1960. He is from Ekeremor, an oceanside community and local government area west of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
He attended Local Government Education Authority Primary School, Ekeremor. His secondary education was at Government College, Ughelli, in the neighbouring Delta State.
He studied law at the University of Jos and graduated with honours in 1982. Afterwards, he attended the Nigerian Law School in Victoria Island.
His wife’s name is Adenike and they have four children.
Mr Seiyefa joined the State Security Service in 1984 when it was still known as National Security Organisation, shortly after completing his national youth service at the School of Islamic and Legal Studies, Kano.
In his early years at the SSS, he was attached to the department of operations and legal. He was then posted to the SSS training school in Lagos, where he spent seven years.
He once led the SSS Base Command, Lagos. From here, he was posted to the Institute of Security Studies as a director.
Between 2007 and 2010, Mr Seiyefa headed the directorates of intelligence and operations.
He served as state director of SSS in Osun, Akwa Ibom, Oyo and Niger.
Amongst institutions he attended to advance his professional career include the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Jos (2006) and Harvard University in Boston (2015) where he took courses.