Investigations revealed that the approval for the removal of the soldiers was given by President Buhari shortly before he embarked on annual vacation to London where he is currently undergoing a medical checkup.
The development, according to New Telegraph is as a result of a show-of-force battle between the two security services, a high-profile source revealed
The source explained that the struggle about which of the two agencies should provide inner circle protection for the President started soon after Buhari moved into Aso Rock in 2015 and has continued to linger on.
Another source familiar with the disagreement between the Army and the DSS at the villa said there has been a running battle between the former Chief Security Officer (CSO), Abdulraman Mani, and the Aide-De-Camp (ADC) both to the President, Colonel Lawal Abubakar, on which of the agencies should provide close protection to the President and his immediate family.
While Mani had insisted on pushing officials of the DSS right into the inner ring to protect the President, the ADC rooted for soldiers to carry out the duty, as BGs.
The battle between the two principal aides, it was gathered, led to the removal of the former CSO to the President, Mani. He was replaced by Bashir Abubakar. According to the source, “protection of the President by bodyguards is actually the work of the DSS, but Mr. President did not have confidence in the service when he first came in, because of the way they treated him during the 2015 election.
“The soldiers were moved into the inner circle of the security network while DSS operated at the periphery. This has not gone down well with both services,” he noted.
Mani, before his removal, had in a memo to the President, dated Friday, June 26th 2015, countered a directive by the ADC, which pushed DSS officials out of the inner ring.
The former CSO, it was learnt, had also instructed his men (DSS) to disregard the ADC’s directive insisting that it was a misrepresentation of a presidential order.
While quoting relevant sections of the constitution, which empowers the DSS to carry out such security functions, Mani who copied the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Director-General of the DSS, said the various security agencies at the villa would be educated on their responsibilities. The memo read in part: “In fact, the issues raised in the aforementioned (ADC’s) 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 security cordons around venues and routes.
“However, all other security agencies, including the army, the police and others, also 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 statutorily prescribed responsibilities. “Meanwhile, joint training programmes and other incentives will be worked out in the days ahead to ensure that all security personnel at the Presidential Villa are properly educated to understand their statutory roles and responsibilities.
“This is with a view to avoiding obvious grand-standing , overzealousness, limited knowledge or outright display of ignorance in future,” the document added. President Buhari himself, it was gathered, was more inclined to working with soldiers than officials of the DSS because of the manner in which the agency treated him during the 2015 presidential election.
Further investigations revealed that the President was convinced after several attempts by the CSO for him to revert to the original arrangement and allow the DSS take full charge of inner security ring. Bashir, the present CSO, it was learnt, has not been comfortable with having soldiers around his principal.