By Levinus Nwabughiogu ABUJA-President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered for the immediate removal of officers and men of the Nigerian Army and restore the officials of the Department of State Security Service, DSS, as his body guards. It was learnt that the order was given by President Buhari shortly before he proceeded on his annual vacation to London, United Kingdom, UK, on January 19. The development followed a series of complaints by the Chief Security Officer, to the President, CSO Bashir Abubakar who was said to not have been comfortable with the soldiers protecting the president.
It was gathered that the use of army officers as body guards to provide protection to the President started soon after President Buhari moved into his official residence at the presidential villa after being sworn in May 2015. But the development did not go down well with the DSS which maintained it was its duties to protect the president. It was further gathered there had been a running battle between the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) Abdulraman Mani and the Aide de Camp (ADC) to the President, Colonel Lawal Abubakar on which of the agencies would do the job. While Mani insisted on the operatives of DSS to protect the President, the ADC preferred soldiers to serve as body guards. The battle between the two aides led to the removal of the former CSO by President Buhari.
Vanguard gathered that what informed the president’s decision to replace the DSS with soldiers was his experience in the hands of the DSS operative during his campaign. But a memo dated Friday, June 26th 2015 insisted that the DSS officials should disregard the ADC’s directives. It was learnt that the memo which quoted the relevant sections of the constitution which empowered the DSS to carry out such security functions were also copied the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Director -General of the DSS. The memo read in part, “In fact, the issues raised in the aforementioned (ADC’s) circular tend to suggest that the author may have ventured into a not-too-familiar terrain. “The extant practice, the world over, is that VIP protection, which is a specialised field, is usually handled by the Secret Service, under whatever nomenclature. “They usually constitute the inner core security ring around every principal. The Police and the military by training and mandate are often required to provide secondary and tertiary security cordons around venues and routes. “However, all other security agencies, including the army, the police and others, also have their roles to play.
It is on this note that heads of all security agencies currently in the Presidential Villa and their subordinates are enjoined to key into the existing command and control structure. They are to work in harmony with each other in full and strict compliance with the demands of their statutorily prescribed responsibilities. “Meanwhile, joint training programmes and other incentives will be worked out in the days ahead to ensure that all security personnel at the Presidential Villa are properly educated to understand their statutory roles and responsibilities. “This is with a view to avoiding obvious grandstanding, overzealousness, limited knowledge or outright display of ignorance in future”. A source said “protection of the President by body Guards is actually the work of the DSS but Mr. President did not have confidence in the service because of the way they treated him during the campaigns. “The soldiers were moved into the inner circle of the security network while SSS operated at the periphery. This has not gone down well with both services. Mr. President was convinced to reverse this order”.