The State Security Service has fired a blistering response to a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Aide de Camp, Mohammed Abubakar, ordering personnel of the service out of inner Aso Rock and restricting them to guarding the “outer perimeter” of the presidential villa.
In a memo, seen by PREMIUM TIMES Friday, Mr. Abubakar, a Lieutenant Colonel, had barred SSS personnel from locations inside the State House, saying personnel of the Armed Forces and the police, trained as Presidential Body Guards (PBGs), are to “provide close/immediate protection for Mr. President henceforth”.
Mr. Abubakar said SSS operatives should steer clear of areas such as “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”.
“However, the personnel of the DSS in conjunction with other security forces are to man other duty beats/locations located within the immediate outer perimeter of the Presidential Villa,” he said, without providing reasons for the action.
But in a June 26 response to Mr. Abubakar, the Chief Security Officer to President Buhari, Abdulrahman Mani, rejected the directive and gave a counter order asking his colleagues to disregard the spirit, intent and content of Mr. Abubakar’s circular.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively obtained the SSS memo on Sunday.
Mr. Mani, who pointedly accused the ADC of grandstanding, overzealousness, limited knowledge and outright display of ignorance, insisted that Mr. Abubakar’s circular “grossly misrepresents” President Buhari’s directive.
He however did not say what the President’s exact directive is.
The CSO, a personnel of the SSS himself, continued, “Though further actions have been initiated in this regard, including routine redeployment of close body guards out of the villa, and deployment of new ones, it is important to state that the duties hitherto performed by the personnel of the DSS (SSS) in the Presidential Villa and/or any other Key Vulnerable Points (KVPs) are backed by relevant Statutes and Gazetted Instruments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Among others, these roles include close body protection of the President in line with standard operational procedures and international best practices.
“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.
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