Nigeria: President Jonathan Overhauls Security: Niger Delta in, Northern Agents Out

President Goodluck Jonathan

August 5th, 2012

  • N/Delta men moved in
  • 50 operatives from North transferred out

At least 50 operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) from the Northern part of the country are being transferred from the presidential guard in Aso Rock Villa and are being replaced by those from the South-South, Sunday Trust learnt last night.

Our reporter learnt that the transfer list will be released and the affected operatives will proceed to their new locations as soon as President Goodluck Jonathan returns from his trip to Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.

In this drastic move, the reason for which was not clear to this newspaper as at press time, 10 operatives from the South-West and seven from the South-East are affected. An unofficial source told our reporter that the changes are being spear-headed by two new contract security staff of South-South origin brought in by the president’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), Mr Gordon Ogbua.

The source said, “With the engagement of these two men, who had earlier retired from the SSS, a new layer was created in the structure of the president’s security. An Officer-in-Charge of Body Guard unit was created and one of the contract staff has been put in charge of this unit. Previously, the president’s body guard was under the office of the Chief Detail to the President.”

Sunday Trust learnt that the rule which is being invoked to justify the transfers is that, they would affect operatives who have spent more than five years in Aso Rock Villa as State Security operatives.

Our source argued, however, that “This was not the case previously. In the past, SSS operatives spent 13 years in the Villa. You cannot be removed unless you have committed an offence. Even if you committed an offence, you would be tried and found guilty before you are pushed out. This is because those who guard the president undergo a special training, which is very expensive.”

Under the transfer being carried out new team leaders for the various security units are being appointed from the South-South stock, with few experienced team members being retained. Funds are being sourced to train the new operatives being posted to the Presidential Villa.

It was not clear as at last night if the National Security Adviser, retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has approved the transfers, but when Sunday Trust contacted the spokeswoman of the SSS, Merilyn Ogar, she claimed she was not aware on the transfers.

The Deputy Director (Public Relations) of the SSS said there is no plan for mass transfer of personnel from Abuja to anywhere. When asked that the transfers are not being done from Abuja to other states, she replied thus: “I am not aware of any decision on mass transfer of our personnel. Our personnel are not transferred in that way. We transfer our personnel when the need arises.”