President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday fired his Chief Security
Officer, Abdulrahman Mani, and requested the State Security Service to
redeploy him out of the presidential villa, sources in the presidential
villa and the State Security Service have told PREMIUM TIMES.
The presidency has yet to officially announce the development, and
PREMIUM TIMES is unable to confirm the identity of his replacement at
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi
Adesina, directed all enquiries on the matter to the State Security
“I don’t speak on security matters, so you may have to ask the SSS,” Mr. Adesina told PREMIUM TIMES.
The spokesperson for the SSS could however not be reached for comments.
Sources familiar with the matter however told PREMIUM TIMES that the
president ordered Mr. Mani removed following repeated complaints that he
was blocking people with genuine appointments from having access to the
“He was becoming excessively overzealous and overbearing,” one source said.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr. Mani first angered Mr. Buhari when he
engaged the the president’s aide-de-camp, Mohammed Abubakar, in what
appeared a power struggle.
Mr. Abubakar, a Lieutenant Colonel, had issued a memo ordering
personnel of the State Security Service out of inner Aso Rock and
restricting them to guarding the “outer perimeter” of the presidential
villa, 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, Mr. Mani, rejected the
directive and gave a counter order asking his colleagues to disregard
the spirit, intent and content of Mr. Abubakar’s circular.
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
He however did not say what the President’s exact directive is.
Mr. Mani, 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
He added, “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.
“It also mandates the DSS to provide protective security for
sensitive installations such as the Presidential Villa and visiting
foreign dignitaries. For this reason, personnel of the DSS who are on
this schedule are carefully selected and properly trained both locally
and abroad. Furthermore, continued background checks are maintained on
them to confirm suitability and loyalty.
“In fact, the issues raised in the aforementioned circular tend to
suggest that the author may have ventured into a not-too-familiar
terrain. The extant practice, the world over, is that VIP protection,
which is a specialised field, is usually handled by the Secret Service,
under whatever nomenclature. They usually constitute the inner core
security ring around every principal. The police and the military by
training and mandate, are often required to provide secondary and
tertiary cordons around venues and routes.
“However, all over other security agencies including the army, the
police and others have their roles to play. It is on this note that
heads of all security agencies currently in the Presidential Villa and
their subordinates are enjoined to key into the existing command and
control structure. They are to work in harmony with each other in full
and strict compliance with the demands of their statutory prescribed
“Meanwhile, joint training programmes and other incentives will be
worked out in the days ahead to ensure that all security at the
Presidential Villa are properly educated to understand their statutory
roles and responsibilities. This is with a view to avoiding obvious
grandstanding, overzealousness, limited knowledge or outright display of
ignorance in future.”