A leaked memo exposes the cracks and bad blood within the Buhari presidency.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s kitchen cabinet and security team appears in disarray, if the details of a letter making the rounds in the online and social media space are anything to go by.
In the letter first published by SaharaReporters and Premium Times, National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno warns the president’s 'all powerful' Chief of Staff (CoS), Abba Kyari against meddling in security affairs in the presidency.
He also warned the nation’s service chiefs to stop taking orders from Kyari and to be wary of his interference.
The letter, addressed to the service chiefs and copied to the president and ministers for foreign affairs, defence, interior, police affairs and Kyari himself, is dated December 2019.
Kyari has long been hailed as one of the most powerful men in the Buhari presidency and the head of a cabal accused of running the President Buhari administration behind the scenes.
“While it is expected that all heads of security agencies, having spent many years in service would understand means of passing directives from the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, it may be necessary to remind all, in the face of glaring breaches to that procedure.
“For clarification, other than direct verbal directives from the President, written directives emanating from Mr President would be conveyed with a copy of his manuscript directive or at minimum, bear his signature,” Monguno wrote.
'CoS has ruptured our defence efforts'
Monguno added that “Additionally, Mr. President may convey directives to the heads of defence and security apparatus through the NSA who chairs the Intelligence Community Committee, Joint Intelligence Board and General Security Appraisal Committee on behalf of the President and the supervising ministers of defence and security agencies.
“It should be noted that the Chief of Staff to the President does not direct security apparatus of the Federal Republic of Nigeria — his job as it relates to security stops at conveying Mr President’s written directives.
“Similarly, you are reminded that the Chief of Staff to the President is not a presiding head of security, neither is he sworn to an oath of defending the country.”
Monguno also warned the service chiefs to stop holding meetings with Kyari.
“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 continuous meddlesomeness by the Chief of Staff have not only ruptured our security and defence efforts but have slowed down any meaningful gain that Mr President has sought to achieve.
“As professionals, you are aware that the security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requires concerted and centralized effort taking into account internal, external and diplomatic factors.
“It is therefore detrimental to our collective security that the Chief of Staff who is a non-supervising minister holds meetings with diplomats, security chiefs and heads of agencies.
“Pursuant to the foregoing, you are by this letter directed to desist from these illegal acts that serve nothing but the continuous undermining of our national security framework. Any breach of this directive will attract displeasure of Mr President."
A reign of terror
President Buhari’s spokespersons, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina, did not immediately respond to Pulse’ requests for comments on the leaked letter.
Details of the letter arrive as the Buhari presidency continues to grapple with insecurity across the country.
Bandits, arsonists, kidnappers, insurgents, armed herders and terrorists have been having a field day; killing for fun and unleashing fear and panic in communities and on major roads.
President Buhari has rejected calls to sack his military and police chiefs in the wake of the attacks.