President Muhammadu Buhari has relieved the duties of soldiers who have been providing close protection for him at the Presidential Villa and replaced them with personnels of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The Tribune reports that the redeployment which is in line with what operated in previous administrations was authorized by the president before he left for his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.
At the inception of the current administration in 2015, soldiers were deployed to protect the president as against previous practice where DSS operatives did.
This move generated heated controversy between his then Chief Security Officer (CSO) and DSS personnel, Abdulraman Mani, and the Aide de Camp (ADC) to the President, Colonel Lawal Abubakar.
While Mani argued that it was the responsibility of the DSS to provide close body protection to the president while members of other services could man the outer protection ring, Abubakar insisted on having military personnel as close bodyguards.
At the heat of the disagreement between the two top security aides to the president, Mani wrote a well publicised memo dated Friday, June 26, 2015, arguing against the position of the ADC’s directive to have soldiers close to the president.
Citing portions of the constitution to back up his claim, he copied National Security Adviser (NSA), the Chief of Defence Staff and the Director-General of the DSS, stating that 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.
However, Buhari, who sided with the ADC, retained the soldiers and relived Mani of his appointment.
But the President has apparently changed his mind after been inundated with reports of lapses on the part of the military bodyguards.