As uneasy intrigues continued to pervade Aso Rock, the seat of power reports say that the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), was absent at a special meeting President Muhammadu Buhari held with the country’s service chiefs on Monday.
The meeting was the third in this month following the National Assembly’s call for the sack the service chiefs amid escalating security challenges in the country.
It was gathered since the call, the President and the service chiefs hold routine security meetings weekly.
The closed-door meeting which took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja had the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. – Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar in attendance.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, also attended the meeting.
The reason why the NSA was not at the meeting has not been disclosed by the presidency as the time of filing this report.
Monguno made this known in a leaked memo to service chiefs dated December 9, 2019 and seen on Monday.
The NSA also accused Kyari of undue interference on matters of national security which he said has slowed down meaningful gains that Buhari had sought to achieve.
The retired Major-General directed the service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Kyari.
According to Monguno, in the memo, Kyari’s directives to service chiefs were sometimes issued without the knowledge or approval of the president, a practice he said had added to the government’s failure to contain insecurity.
The memo read: “Chief of Staff to the president is not a presiding head of security, neither is he sworn to an oath of defending the country.
“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 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.”
A former director in the presidency who would not want to be named said hierarchically, the chief of staff was the head of all political appointees of the president and somewhat higher in rank to the NSA but said it was ‘not clear’ if he has the power to either call for or preside over a meeting with the security chiefs without the permission of the president.
He said the office of the chief of staff was “like a clearinghouse in the villa” that was responsible for any meeting with the president including with the service chiefs.
He said the tussle between the two offices was a few years ago, resolved after clarifying with the “US presidential system of government which placed the chief of staff above other appointees. In fact, the NSA’s office is not in the villa, unlike that of the chief of staff.”