PREMIUM TIMES has obtained more details of how President Muhammadu Buhari and his handlers have pushed personnel of Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service, from getting close to the President or mounting guards or patrolling areas inside the presidential villa.
Under the present arrangement, the operatives are only to guard the “outer perimeter” of the presidential palace, a measure that has humiliated the 29-year old agency charged with gathering domestic intelligence for Nigeria and protecting public officials.
The presidency claimed, through Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, that there were “routine adjustments” of security personnel at the Aso Rock Villa. He denied that the president ordered the expulsion of the SSS personnel from the premises.
What Mr. Adesina did not however say was that the SSS officials, who were traditionally part of the president’s primary security details, have been banned from being close to Mr. Buhari and virtually reduced to manning the outer gate at the villa.
A presidential memo, seen by PREMIUM TIMES Friday, showed the nature of the directive barring the SSS (also known as DSS) from the villa.
The memo, written by Mr. Buhari’s Aide de Camp, Mohammed Abubakar, on June 24 and distributed to key officials in the Villa stated that from then on, “DSS personnel have been redeployed from some duty beats/locations”.
The memo made it clear that the major security tasks initially being handled by SSS officials are now to be handled by officials of other security agencies.
Mr. Abubakar said personnel of the Armed Forces and the police, who were trained as Presidential Body Guards, PBGs, are to “provide close/immediate protection for Mr. President henceforth”.
Mr. Abubakar subsequently listed some of the areas to be taken care of by the PBGs to include, 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.
Mr. Abubakar added that the Admin Officer, AO, shall be submitting a list of all personnel deployed for physical security within the premises of the Villa to the office of the ADC every Thursday for “perusal, observation and approval as the case may be before final publication and dispatch to the office of the CSO”.
The only explanation so far for the “re-organisation” was provided by Mr. Adesina who stated that “the changes being made are routine adjustments which are not unexpected in any dynamic environment from time to time”.
The Spokesperson for the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, did not answer or return calls seeking comments for this story.
She also did not respond to a text message sent to her.