ABUJA — The inter agency rivalry between the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Army came to head, yesterday, as the Aide de Camp to the President, Lt. Col Abubakar Lawal ordered personnel of the DSS out of the villa.
The incidence which happened at the residence of the President at the Presidential Villa was extended to all other points that had been manned by the personnel of the DSS.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said what happened was a realignment of security around the President which entailed that members of the armed forces would man the inner perimeter of the President security while operatives of the DSS would man the outer perimeter.
It will be recalled that since assuming office as the President, there has been an intense rivalry between DSS personnel and the army over who is to provide close body security to the president.
Some members of the armed forces were drafted from the Infantry Corps to the villa after the inauguration of President Buhari to man all the strategic points at the villa, a move that was resisted by the DSS personnel who had constitutionally provided close body protection to the President.
The issue, however, came to a head yesterday evening when the ADC to the president ordered members of the DSS at the Presidential Villa to hand over to men of the Nigerian Army.
The directive, however, almost caused an altercation between the army and men of the DSS whose chain of command is different.
It took the intervention of the Chief Security Officer who directed his men to “stand down,” a euphemism for complying with the directive of the ADC.
According to a soldier who was present at the incidence, “the ADC directed that they should hand over to us and leave the villa. We have now taken over fully as directed by the ADC and we are in charge.”
Already, military personnel have taken over all the strategic points at the villa with a firm instruction that no DSS personnel should be allowed into the villa.
This is the first time that the DSS which has the professional capability and capacity would be striped of its constitutional responsibility of providing close bodyguard protection to the President and his immediate family.
But reacting to Vanguard enquiry, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Adesina said the action was part of a realignment of the security apparatus around the President.
According to him, what happened is a realignment of security personnel from various services, saying: ”Rumours that personnel of the Department State Services have been expelled from the Presidential Villa are unfounded. President Muhammadu Buhari has given no such order.