Presidency Formally Withdraws DSS From Protecting Buhari
The inter-agency rivalry that has been rocking security agencies at the seat of power in Abuja may have reached its peak yesterday with the formal withdrawal of DSS operatives from protecting President Muhammadu Buhari.
The presidency had on Wednesday denied any order expelling the DSS from the presidency, but said that there are plans to reorganise the security at the villa which involves the realignment of personnel from various services.
This may have necessitated the memo written by the the Aide-de-Camp, ADC, to the President, Lt. Col. Lawal Abubakar formally removing officials of the Department of State Security Services from spots where they can perform “close protection roles” for President Muhammadu Buhari.
The memo issued by the Aide-De-Camp to the President, Lt. Col. Lawal Abubakar, and dated June 24, 2015 was titled, “Redeployment of Department of State Services personnel from close protection roles for Mr. President and some duty locations within the Presidential Villa, Abuja.”
Abubakar explained that the decision to strip the DSS officials of their roles was part of efforts to enhance security within the villa.
He said the development was necessitated by “recent events.”
He however did not disclose what the events were.
he memo listed about seven areas which the military and the police are to take over from the DSS operatives “with immediate effect.”
Some of the areas listed in the memo which are no-go area for men of the DSS were Admin reception/passage; Service Chiefs gate; residence reception, office reception among others.
It, however, noted that “personnel of the DSS in conjunction with other security forces are to man other duty beats/locations within the immediate outer perimeter of the Presidential Villa.”
From 1999 till the recent incidenct where DSS operatives were ordered out of the villa, it was the service that provided close body protection and manned sensitive positions within the villa while soldiers and the police manned the outer perimeter of the State House.
Already, the memo appears to have come into effect as only a handful of DSS operatives were seen at the outer perimeter of the Presidential Villa as military men in mufti,yesterday, took over all the other positions inside the Presidential Villa.
From the Administration reception gate, where visitors are first screened before they get into the main villa building to the council chambers gate, there were no officers of the Department of State Services as only soldiers in mufti were seen in those places.
Also, within the residence and the office of the President, the DSS body guards who were usually at the gate and the entrance were absent as they were replaced by men of the Nigerian Army who were, however, in mufti.
Some of DSS operatives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, wondered why whatever issue that could have arisen could not be resolved with the DSS authorities.
“If they feel that the DSS erred during the campaigns, some of us expect that they should also vent their anger on the management and not the entire DSS who served the President bewteen 1984 and 1985,” one of them said.
Another official said, “Instead for the government to be promoting inter-agency rivalry in the country, they should have simply called the DG SSS to withdraw his operatives and not to set the military against the DSS. They should post us out instead of encouraging this unwarranted inter-agency rancour.”