Aso Rock Inter Agency Clashes: Why Buhari Must Not Politicise Security By Ademola Ajayi
The crisis brewing between the Nigeria Military and the Department of State Services, DSS is not healthy at a time the nation is facing serious security changes occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgents violent campaigns.
The inter agency rivalry erupted a few days ago over who to provide Body Guide to President Muhammadu Buhari between the DSS who is constitutionally and traditionally trained and empowered to so do and the military whose constitutional role solely empowered it to stamp
out external aggressors.
The brewing crisis came into the open when the letters they had earlier exchanged found their ways into the public domain. But a great deal of Nigerians believed there are more to the inter agency feud, suspicious and even open hostility between them.
There is the need therefore to reassess the nation’s security concern, particularly because of the evasive gloating of the presidential media aid, Mr Femi Adesina that security reassignment in Aso Rock bothers on security architecture for efficient delivery.
Every agency of Govt either Military or Para-military was established to perform specific or General function with the aid of the act that set up such as an agency. In other words, the duties, functions and responsibilities of every agency has been spelt out in the act that established such agency and the Department of State Services (DSS) is one of such agencies.
A brief background of today DSS came from the “E” Department or special Branch of the Police Force in 1948 and later metamorphosed into Nigeria Security Organization through the NSO Decree of 1976. The scenario that brought State Security Service (SSS) was as a result of what General Babangida believed to be absolute loyalty of the NSO to the then Administration of General Buhari after he had toppled Buhari’s Government in a Military Coup in 1983.
It would be recalled that immediately after the coup, Babangida said “NSO bugged my lines with a view to preserving Buhari’s Administration”. Babangida then split the NSO into Three Agencies;
namely the SSS, NIA and DIS. The SSS takes charge of the internal security and intelligence gathering of the nation, the NIA was confined to foreign intelligence while the DIS formed the defence
The SSS instrument of 1999 among other functions, empowered it to provide security to designated principal government functionaries, sensitive installations and visitation of foreign dignitaries. It is
therefore, suffice to say that provision of close body security to the President, Governors and other principal Government functionaries is one of the specific function of the agency, which they have been performing since the establishment of the agency. It is an indisputable fact that the SSS is not doing the protective work in isolation.
During the Military era till date, the SSS formed the inner ring while the Military and Police formed the outer ring during protective operation.
Regarding the conduct of the SSS during Electioneering Campaign of President Buhari, if the Head of any agency for any reason misused the power given to him, such person should have been removed and not to throw away the baby with bath water.
In any developed nation outside Nigeria where system of doing things had been established, though Inter Agency cooperation exists among security agencies but no agency of Government usurp the duty of others. Therefore, interagency conflict and rivalry are reduced to the bearest minimum.
If there is a show of excessive power the head of CIA, Mossad, KGB, MI5, MI6 and a boss from where those nations drawn their close body escorts, the head and other high ranking subordinates will be removed while the president will deploy his trusted and competent person within the agency to head it.
The SSS are specialist in VIP protection and they have professional Personnel and materials for that purpose. According John Dahle, the Job of VIP protection goes beyond wearing suit and standing behind VIP, and that is why other agencies of Government have been sending their operatives they intend to use as body guards to the SSS Training School in Lagos for that purpose. These facts are there for for anybody to confirm.
If other security agencies cannot take over the duty of the military for hiding Buhari’s Certificate during electioneering, if another security agency cannot take over military duty because of the role
played by Brig. Gen Momoh in Ekiti Election which has since becomes Ekiti Gate, why should the designated constitutional role of the DSS be usurp by the military because the agency invaded APC database in Lagos and for wearing balaclavas during Osun State 2014 election?
The solution to the security abnormalities, their blind loyalty to any government in power, lack of national identity and patriotism to nationhood is not selective amnesia. To start with, Nigerian government of any hue should remove itself, as a matter of as urgency, as the owner of the nation’s security apparatus.
That way, we will be close to solving the problems of security partisanship, instead of scapegoat approach. Until then, Nigerians reserve the right to be doubtful of the change they voted for.
Ademola Ajayi, human rights activist writes in from Lagos, Nigeria.