For some reason, President Muhammadu Buhari wants to break with the tradition in which operatives of the Department of State Services provide security at the presidential villa.
Despite denials by the president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, the Vanguard is reporting that it has sighted a letter from Buhari’s Aide-de-Camp, ADC, Lt. Col. Abubakar Lawal, formally informing the DSS that its personnel would no longer provide close body protection for the President as they are being replaced with men of the Nigerian Army and Police personnel “who were trained as Presidential Bodyguards.”
Lawal wrote in the letter that he was acting “sequel to directives.”
The memo listed about seven areas which the military and the police are to take over from the DSS operatives “with immediate effect,” including the 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.”
The Vanguard reports that 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 few officers of the DSS were, however, seen under trees discussing in hushed tones as they awaited further directives from their superior officers.
It was learnt that senior officers of the DSS, including the CSO to the President, were trying to resolve the matter amicably.