Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, June 23, 2016 named police officers, Abdulkarim Dauda and Kayode Sikiru Akande as the chief security officer to the president and the officer in charge of presidential movement respectively.
Both officers were also promoted from the position of assistant commissioner of police to deputy commissioner of police.
The development is coming on the heels of reports that top military officers in President Buhari’s government are planning to overthrow the President.
Sources privy to the development told Signal, an online newspaper, that while the appointment of a new chief security officer for the president may have long been overdue, President Buhari’s concern about the threat of a possible military coup has forced him to rejig his personal security apparatus at the presidential villa.
“The issue of a new chief security officer for the president has lingered for some time now. But, I can tell you that Thursday’s announcement is a swift and panic reaction to the news of a possible military coup which the president is not taking lightly,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
“You know he is a retired military general. Anything that relates to his personal security, he doesn’t joke with it. He actually gets paranoid with it.”
In July 2015, President Buhari fired his chief security officer, Abdulrahman Mani, an operative of Nigeria’s secret police who had been assigned to protect him since 2011. Mani was alleged to have been involved in “shady deals” in fixing appointments and was allegedly “undermining” the president.
The Coup Rumours
A social media based militant group, The Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, NDLF had claimed on Wednesday that some top army officers were planning to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari and had approached Niger Delta militants for support in their plot.
JNDLF is the group that threatened to release 6 missiles` targeting Aso Rock and key government building in Abuja. The threat put the whole country on the edge and ended up being a hoax. Apart from issuing statements on social media, with fancy titles, this militant group is known for nothing else.
The militant group in a statement by the commander, general duties, Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, of JNDLF, General Akotebe Darikoro and others, said: “We are constrained to let the cat out of the bag today that President Muhammadu Buhari should be wary about the security of this country as some military men are making move to remove him from power by instigating civil unrest in the country.”
“Some top military men through their civil agents approached us to cause and continue the vandalization of the oil and gas pipelines in the Niger delta region to use as an excuse to take over the government from democracy to military rule in the country,” the group asserted.
Military Declares Loyalty To Buhari Government
The Nigerian Army responded, swiftly, with a statement denying the reports.
A statement by Colonel Sani Usman, Nigerian Army spokesperson dismissed the reports and reaffirmed the Army’s commitment to democracy.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to another campaign of calumny and distraction by faceless criminal gang of economic saboteurs that hide under the aegis of Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) alleging that some officers of the Nigerian Army approached them for support to overthrow our duly elected present democratic government,” the statement said.
“This is baseless and most unfortunate allegation that existed in the warped minds of the originators of such weighty allegation. The Nigerian Army wish to state that this is not true and hereby distanced itself from this weighty allegation.
“We also see this speculation as a dangerous distraction to our effort in fighting insurgency and other criminal elements in the country.
“The Nigerian Army would like to send a strong and an unequivocal warning to those speculating a coup by the Nigerian Army against the government to desist forthwith. We would like state in clear terms that that we are a product of democracy and a focused professional institution and would have nothing to do with such abomination and heinous crime,” Colonel Usman.
The Nigerian Army promised to track down those responsible for spreading “dangerous rumours”.
Similarly, the Nigerian Military, Thursday, issued a statement from Defence Headquarters pledging full loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari’s civilian government.
“The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin wishes to assure our highly respected political leaders and the entire Nigerians that the military will continue to be apolitical and will do everything possible to defend and deepen our democratic governance which is the best, acceptable and legitimate form of government the world over,” the statement signed by Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar said.
“The Defence Headquarters restates its total subordination to civil authority and upholding the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and will continue to defend all democratic structures and will never yield to blackmail and distractions from fifth columnist.
“Therefore this unfounded story should be discountenance in its entirety,” the statement said.