Buhari reverts to SSS close-body protection, sends soldiers back to barracks

Buhari reverts to SSS close-body protection, sends soldiers back to barracks
February 09 19:06 2017

Personnel of the State Security Service (SSS) are now to provide close-body protection for President Muhammadu Buhari, a top security source said Thursday.

The army personnel who had hitherto manned strategic security posts in the Presidential Villa have disappeared since on Monday.

This is following a directive said to be be from the President that soldiers drafted to serve as bodyguards should be immediately deployed to their various formations.

THINKERS NEWSPAPERS learnt that approval for the removal of soldiers as bodyguards was given by the President before he embarked on the vacation to London, United Kingdom.

There was a power tussle between Aide de Camp (ADC) to the President, Mr. Lawal Abubakar, a colonel in the army, and the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the President, Mr. Abdulrahman Mani, an SSS operative, on who will provide protection to the President when he moved into the State House sometimes in 2015.

While the ADC insisted that only military personnel would provide close protection for the President, Mani, in a memo dated June 26, 2015, countered the ADC saying that only SSS personnel are professionally trained and constitutionally qualified to protect the President.

The memo reads 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.”

The battle between the two presidential aides led to the removal of Mani as CSO. But Mani’s successor, Bashir Abubakar, is also said be uncomfortable with the arrangement where soldiers serve as first security aides of the Commander-In-Chief, which necessitated the change to the hitherto known practice.