President Muhammadu Buhari has removed his Chief Security Officer (CSO), Abdulrahman Mani following what sources described as a power tussle between Mani and the President’s Aide-de-Camp (ADC), Lt. Col. Mohammed Abubakar. Mani has been replaced by Abubakar Usman.
Both Mani and Usman are officials of the Department of Security Service (DSS).
Mani had, in a June 26 memo, overruled the ADC on security arrangement at the Presidential Villa whereby DSS operatives attached to the seat of power were barred from “Admin Reception, Service Chiefs Gate, Residence Reception, Rear Resident, Resident Gate, Office Reception, C-In-C Control Office, ACADE Gate, C-IN-C Control Gate and Panama.”
They were thus restricted to duty beats/locations within the immediate outer perimeter of the Presidential Villa alongside other security forces.
In effect only soldiers and policemen, trained as Presidential Body Guards (PBGs), are to “provide close/immediate protection for Mr. President henceforth.”
The action of the ADC did not go down well with Mani who directed the DSS operatives to disregard Abubakar’s memo.
He claimed that Abubakar’s circular was a misrepresentation of President Buhari’s directive.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, Section 2 (1) (ii) of Instrument No. SSS 1 of 23rd May, 1999, made pursuant to Section 6 of the National Security Agencies (NSA) decree of 1986 which has been re-enacted as Section 6 of NSA Act CAP N74 LFN 2004, empowers personnel of the DSS to provide protective security for designated principal government functionaries including, but not limited to the President and Vice President as well as members of their immediate families.
“It also mandates the DSS to provide protective security for sensitive installations such as the Presidential Villa and visiting foreign dignitaries. For this reason, personnel of the DSS who are on this schedule are carefully selected and properly trained both locally and abroad. Furthermore, continued background checks are maintained on them to confirm suitability and loyalty.
“In fact, the issues raised in the aforementioned 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 cordons around venues and routes.
“However, all over other security agencies including the army, the police and others 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 statutory prescribed responsibilities.”
The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina declined to comment on the issues last night because as he said, “it is a security matter. “
He said only the DSS could comment on it.