President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked Army bodyguards who had been detailed to provide him with inner circle security and replaced them with operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.
The action is said to be in reaction to a litany of complaints by the Chief Security Officer to the President, Bashir Abubakar who was said to have been uncomfortable with the soldiers protecting the president.
The use of army officers as body guards to provide protection to the President started soon after President Buhari the presidential villa after being sworn in May 2015, a development that does not go down well with the DSS.
A former Chief Security Officer (CSO) Abdulraman Mani who still remains an influence in the Presidency favored a return to the status quo while the Aide de Camp (ADC) to the President, Colonel Lawal Abubakar favored soldiers.
It was learnt that the memo which cited 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 specialized 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.”
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“This is with a view to avoiding obvious grandstanding, over zealousness, limited knowledge or outright display of ignorance in future”.
A top ranking Presidency officially who pleaded anonymity said Mr. President developed a preference for Army bodyguards because of the way he was treated by men of the DSS on the campaign trail.
“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”.