Nigeria’s national security adviser, Babagana Monguno, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, of undue and dangerous interference on national security matters.
Consequently, Mr Monguno has fired a warning memo to all service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Mr Kyari, according to documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Monguno said Mr Kyari’s directives to service chiefs were sometimes issued without the knowledge much less approval of the president, a practice he said has added to government’s failure to contain insecurity.
“Chief of staff to the president is not a presiding head of security, neither is he sworn to an oath of defending the country,” Mr Monguno, a retired major-general, said in the December 9, 2019, letter.
“As such, unprofessional practices such as presiding over meetings with service chiefs and heads of security organisations as well as ambassadors and high commissioners to the exclusion of the NSA and/or supervising ministers are a violation of the Constitution and directly undermine the authority of Mr President.
“Such acts and continues meddlesomeness by chief of staff have not only ruptured our security an defence efforts but have slowed down any meaningful gain that Mr President has sought to achieve.”
Mr Monguno’s letter comes as insecurity returns to centre stage as a major cause for worry among Nigerians.
Violent attacks linked to bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers and vandals have continued to claim multiple lives and properties across the country.
The president has repeatedly promised to curb the crises, many of which he met in office, but has largely failed like his predecessors.
Security experts, opposition and federal lawmakers have responded by advising the president to fire his service chiefs.
The service chiefs have been unable to rein in Boko Haram insurgents since 2015 when Mr Buhari named them to take charge of various arms of the nation’s security architecture.
While previously held swathes of land have been taken back from terrorists, deadly attacks on civilians and military targets have worsened since 2018.
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said in recent media interviews that the military has degraded insurgents’ capacity to attack Abuja and other cities outside the war-ravaged northeast.
National security sources told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that the fresh memo showed how Mr Kyari has helped in keeping the service chiefs in office despite overwhelming call for their ouster.
It also underscored the frustration faced by Mr Monguno and others who found Mr Kyari’s influence over the president too domineering for national benefit, sources said.
Mr Kyari and two presidential spokespersons, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu did not return requests for comments about the memo Monday afternoon.