PDP: With NSA’s memo, Kyari presiding over security matters is national tragedy

•Monguno queries Chief of Staff’s authority to convene, chair security meetings

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Monday, said the revelation by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd), alleging that the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, was dabbling into national security matters, has validated its position that President Muhammadu Buhari has abdicated the responsibilities of his office.

The NSA had, in a circular from his office, according to PREMIUM TIMES, accused Kyari of hijacking the coordination of security leadership and outright sidelining in the scheme of things on national security operations.

The circular revealed that Kyari, contrary to protocols and in a situation akin to acting in the capacity of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, convenes and chairs meetings with heads of defence, security and intelligence agencies with their supervising ministers in attendance.

In its reaction, the opposition party maintained that strange persons had been presiding over critical affairs of governance of the country.

A statement issued in Abuja by Kola Ologbondiyan, the national publicity secretary of the PDP, noted that following the revelation by the NSA, the party reiterated its earlier position that President Buhari should waste no further time in relinquishing his position as president.

It held that security was the most important element of governance, followed by the welfare of citizens, adding that since President Buhari had relinquished the statutory responsibilities, he had no other reason to remain in office.

The party asserted that the NSA’s letter, which was already in the public domain, further exposed the fact that “our nation has been on autopilot under President Buhari, whose abdication of serious matters of state is directly responsible for the untold suffering, anguish, pain and escalated insecurity in the country.”

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The PDP described Monguno’s revelation as a national tragedy, which, it said, “showcase the fact that President Buhari has become so irredeemably overwhelmed to the extent that the responsibilities of his office, including presiding over very sensitive security matters, have now been taken over by his Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, who functions as a de facto president.”

“Nigerians are invited to note the verdict by the NSA, who, in support of the position of the PDP, affirmed that such situation is responsible for the failure of the government to defend Nigerians and find a solution to the worsened insecurity under President Buhari’s watch.

“Our party recalls that even the First Lady, Aisha, had severally alerted that strange elements had usurped the functions of the president and urged Nigerians to speak out for their country.

“It is now clear that the demand by Nigerians calling on President Buhari to resign was borne out of patriotism and love for our country.”

In the circular, Monguno had accused Kyari of undue and dangerous interference on matters bordering on national security.

Consequently, he fired a warning memo to all service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Kyari, according to a document seen by PREMIUM TIMES.

Monguno said Kyari’s directives to service chiefs were, sometimes, issued without the knowledge and approval of the president, a practice he said had added to the government’s inability 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,” 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 the President.

“Such acts and continued 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.”

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Premium times report that “the memo, however, speaks of Buhari’s seeming inability to control his appointees as several open confrontations had broken out among his senior aides for the most part of his five years in office.”

Kyari and two presidential spokespersons, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu did not return requests for comments about the memo Monday afternoon.

Part of the letter read: “References A and B were sent in response to the request for Presidential intervention to sustain Internal Security operations of the police within the shortest possible time. However, the contents of the two references were in variance with Mr President’s verbal directives. Consequently, ONSA scrutinised the documents further and sought clarification from Mr President who has directed that Reference B be disregarded by all parties as it was sent without his endorsement.

‘While it is expected that all heads of security agencies, having spent many years in service would understand the 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.

“Additionally, Mr President may convey directives to the heads of defence and security apparatus through the NSA, who Intelligence Community Committee, Joint Intelligence Board and General Security Appraisal Committee on behalf of the President and supervising Ministers of defence and security agencies. It should be noted that the Chief of Staff to the President does not direct the 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 in an oath of defending the country. As such, unprofessional practices such as presiding over meetings with service chiefs and heads of security organizations, 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 centralised effort taking into account internal, external and diplomatic factors. It is, therefore, detrimental to our collective security that the Chief of Staff, who is only a 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 the displeasure of Mr President.”

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