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Abba Kyari vs Monguno: Buratai Withdraws Army Officers Attached To ONSA



The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has ordered the immediate withdrawal of top army officers attached to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Babagana Monguno, after battles with Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.

It was gathered that seven Colonels and three Army Generals serving at the NSA were ordered to leave without being replaced on February 4; the remaining team of 13 Army officers serving at the NSA were notified to report elsewhere on February 10, leaving the fortified ONSA facility without any army protection.

Recall that, the Nigeria’s national security adviser, Babagana Monguno, accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, of undue and dangerous interference on matters bordering on national security.

According to Premium Times who reported that Monguno has fired a warning memo to all service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Mr. Kyari.

Monguno said Mr Kyari’s directives to service chiefs were sometimes issued without the knowledge much less approval of the president, a practice he said has added to government’s failure 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,” Mr 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 Mr President.

“Such acts and continues 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.”

Meanwhile, it appears that Tukur Buratai, to have taken sides with Abba Kyari in the chief of staff’s raging battle against the national security adviser, Babagana Monguno.

Mr Buratai ordered the immediate withdrawal of top army officers attached to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Twenty-three army officers serving at the NSA were transferred out without being replaced, the largest redeployment from a single outpost.

The officers consist of two majors-general, one brigadier-general, seven colonels, seven lieutenant colonels, five captains and one lieutenant.

Although Mr Monguno was away from the country at the time of the postings, our sources said, but he rejected the entire exercise as a charade upon his return and ordered the personnel to disregard Mr Buratai’s directive and remain in place.

Yet, Mr Buratai himself has not rescinded his decision; over two weeks after the first letters of deployment went out.

Recall that, Buratai approved postings of about 137 army officers serving in over a dozen military departments and formations between February 4 and 10. Twenty-three army officers serving at the NSA were transferred out without being replaced, the largest redeployment from a single outpost.

The officers consist of two majors-general, one brigadier-general, seven colonels, seven lieutenant colonels, five captains and one lieutenant.

Those affected include Adeyinka Famadewa, a major-general and principal staff officer to the NSA.

Ado Ibrahim, a colonel and military assistant to the NSA, was also transferred and given three days to report at his new posting in Jaji, home of the military infantry in Kaduna State.

Other than core intelligence analysts of non-uniform career, the NSA, which coordinates all intelligence and security agencies of the Nigerian government, has always been staffed largely by personnel from security and law enforcement agencies in the country, according to officials familiar with its personnel practice.

The Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, police, State Security Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency, the civil defence, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service all have personnel at the NSA.

“Any federal law enforcement agency you could think has personnel at the NSA, but most of the directors there are military officers,” a former official of the agency, Premium Times reports.

The former NSA official, who spoke under anonymity because he is still in service, said all the agencies have the powers to make changes to their respective personnel serving there.

“But it has to be in liaison with the NSA before officers could be changed or withdrawn,” the source said. “This is because it takes a cumbersome process to vet personnel before they are admitted at the NSA and some requirements have to be satisfied before they are posted out.”

National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno

Monguno returned to the country in the middle of the postings between February 4 and 10. The first batch of the redeployment was reported by Daily Nigerian on February 7, but additional details like the second and total withdrawal of army officers and the lingering stand-off that emanated from it are just being uncovered by Premium Times.

All the officers posted out of the NSA were ordered to report at their new posting within three days, failure of which they could face disciplinary action, the transfer memo said.

But Mr Monguno allegedly insisted the officers would not leave the NSA, dismissing their transfer as a vindictive measure taken by Mr Buratai to stand in solidarity with Mr Kyari, who is allegedly helping to keep the service chiefs in office despite public outcry and a resolution by both chambers of the National Assembly.

Army spokesperson Sagir Musa declined requests seeking comments over the crisis. The NSA does not have a spokesperson.

A rudderless team

Mr Buratai’s determination to cut army support to the ONSA and Mr Monguno’s decision to spurn it has resulted in a stand-off that could threaten the country’s stability, as military officers are caught between obeying their most-senior commander and another authority that supervises the entire military architecture, security experts said.

The confrontation marks one of the most damaging fallout of a ceaseless animosity between the NSA and Mr Kyari, a former journalist and banker now widely considered the most powerful associate of the president.

It came a few weeks after Mr Monguno, a retired army general who led the military intelligence for several years, wrote a series of memos to President Muhammadu Buhari and other members of national security framework, informing them of how Mr Kyari’s undue and dangerous “meddlesomeness” was frustrating efforts to address Nigeria’s acute insecurity.

Two of the NSA’s series of confidential circulars have now been obtained and published earlier this week, sparking nationwide uproar and fresh calls for Mr Buhari to take charge of his government and abandon his arcane delegation of powers to close aides.

The published memos, both dated December 9 2019, contained Mr Monguno’s frustration with how Mr Kyari has been overriding key security decisions taken by the president. In some cases, the NSA said, Mr Kyari would summon security chiefs for meetings, a power he has no constitutional backing to wield.

Security sources told newsmen Mr Kyari has been the top State House official pushing for continued stay of service chiefs despite relentless calls for the president to remove them as security has worsened under their watch.

The service chiefs, who comprise the chief of army staff, chief of naval staff, chief of air staff and the chief of defence staff, were appointed shortly after Mr Buhari assumed office in 2015. They were all senior military officers nearing retirement at the time they were appointed in July 2015.

But when they were due for retirement after two years in July 2017, the president asked them to remain in office for another six months, a decision that caused many in the military to grumble about their uncertain career progression.

When the six months tenure elongation elapsed in December 2017, Mr Buhari again extended the tenure of the service chiefs, commending them for a great service and citing the need to maintain existing approach to tackling insecurity, especially the ongoing war against Boko Haram.

The president has continued to renew the tenure of the service chiefs, mostly biannually and sometimes without an official statement.

“The service chiefs now seem to believe they have been retained in office at the benevolence of the president’s chief of staff and not the president himself,” said security and political analyst Sola Olubanjo. “There is a serious danger in such a mindset.”

Mr Olubanjo said the hostility between the NSA and the chief of staff has already started throwing up issues whose implications may be too costly for the country.

“If it is true that we already have a situation in which military officers are unable to obey the chief of army staff because the NSA asked them not to, then we might not be able to comprehend where the country is headed,” the analyst added.

Ken Eluma Asogwa, a legal practitioner who chaired a political action committee that backed Mr Buhari at the last election, said it was bad enough that Mr Buratai ordered withdrawal of security chiefs from the ONSA.

“I am not privy to the information, but I know this media outfit is credible enough and I will say that I am disappointed that we have this kind of situation,” Mr Eluma Asogwa said. ” It is bad enough that the chief of army staff ordered withdrawal of personnel from ONSA and even more unspeakable that they were unable to obey his directive.”

The analyst said Mr Buhari cannot afford to keep tolerating disastrous developments in his national security framework without mitigating them, especially at this time of national emergency on security.

“The NSA is the one who would be advising the president on security matters, intelligence, training or exercise, and not the chief of staff,” he said. “The president should take charge now.”

Premium Times


How A Nigerian Man Has Been Spreading COVID-19 In Lagos After He Was Sent Away From LUTH



The Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has reportedly rejected a man named Emmanuel Benson after he tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in the public medical facility. According to SaharaReporters, Benson had visited LUTH on March 21, 2020, after had close contact with two persons that recently arrived Lagos from the United Kingdom.

Benson was hoping to be quarantined and treated at LUTH after he tested positive to the deadly virus, but a medical personnel at the hospital asked him to go back home over lack of bed space to admit him at the facility.
It was gathered that since the refusal of LUTH to admit Benson, he had returned home and continued his normal life.

“He moved to and from LUTH through public transportation. He has been mingling freely with people,” a friend to the young man told SaharaReporters on Thursday.

When contacted on Thursday night through his mobile number, Benson indeed confirmed that he tested positive for the virus and was not admitted to LUTH for treatment by medical personnel.

He disclosed that he went for the test after coming in contact with the two UK returnees at a dinner party in Lagos last week.

When asked if money was demanded from him before the test was conducted, Benson refused to open up, instead saying that he does not want unnecessary attention.

While chatting with a reporter from SH on social networking platform, Whatsapp, Benson, who expressed fear of being stigmatised should his story be published, quickly deleted his display photo on his profile.

He was standing with an unidentified person in the photo where both men were wearing tags over their necks. He said:

“I am at home on self-isolation now. I had the test at LUTH even though the queue was too long. Some of the medical staff I spoke with later advised me to go home and self-isolate. They said I should get back to them after 14 days or that in seven days they might call to check my progress.

“I was infected at a dinner party organised for the two men who returned to Nigeria from the UK. I went for the test on March 21.”

When asked if he had attempted to contact the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to notify them of his situation and probably seek help, Benson said, “I have called the NCDC lines several times but they are not picking up the call.”

To further give credence to Benson’s situation, it was learnt that the testing kits for the virus are being used for politicians and their families while ordinary Nigerians with symptoms of the pandemic are being left to their fates.

Till date, less than 200 persons have been tested for the virus in Nigeria despite Lagos alone having a population of over 20 million persons.

An official of the Nigerian Medical Association told SaharaReporters that the number of confirmed cases declared by NCDC was far below the real figure because there were already hundreds of citizens infected with Coronavirus walking and freely mixing up with others thus increasing the risk of a further spread.

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Panic In University Of Ibadan As 3 Professors Test Positive For Coronavirus



Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan has been hit hard by global pandemic of COVID -19 as three top management staff who are Professors in the institution’s school of medicine and its teaching hospital, University College Hospital, UCH announced on Sunday morning that they had tested positive to the virus.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had late Saturday announced the confirmation of four new cases of the virus in Oyo State, the host of the University.

It is believed that the three Professors may be among the new confirmed cases.

Professor Ezekiel Olapade-Olapa, the Provost of the School of Medicine confirmed that he and his deputy, Prof Obafunke Denloye, tested positive for Coronavirus in a message to his colleagues on a social media platform on Sunday morning, according to reports.

Olapade-Olaopa said, “Dear colleagues, I wish to inform you that the Deputy Provost and I tested positive for COVID-19 following the tests done on Friday.

“Although we are both asymptomatic, we have gone into self-isolation for 14 days while our contacts are being observed closely to determine if they should also be tested.”

While confirming that he had also tested positive to the virus, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof Jesse A. Otegbayo, traced the development to a meeting held on 23 March.

“On Monday March 23, we commenced a 12-man quarterly board meeting which was meant to last five days in the hospital, we observed social distancing and other precautionary measures for Covid-19 as much as possible.

“However, on Wednesday morning, one of us presented with what appeared to be symptoms of Covid-19, his samples were immediately taken for test and the meeting called off.

“His result returned positive on Friday morning and every participant (including me) immediately went into self-isolation while our samples were also taken for test.

“Unfortunately, my result returned positive on Saturday afternoon and I remain in isolation as I am not symptomatic.

“All staff who have been in contact with me and other participants during this period have been advised to immediately proceed on self-isolation pending the time they get tested, ” Otegbayo said.

It was believed that the Provost and his deputy were also at the meeting.

This magazine however learnt that the situation has led to panic among other participants at the meeting, staff and relatives of the three Professors.

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Garba Shehu Tests Negative For Coronavirus



Garba Shehu

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, has disclosed that he tested negative to the deadly Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Presidential aide, who made this known on his verified Twitter account in Abuja on Saturday, however, advised all citizens to stay at home as recommended by relevant authorities to guide against the spread of the virus.

He said: ”My test proved negative for the virus. Notwithstanding, I advise everyone that we continue the isolation and work from home.”

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), through its verified Twitter account, revealed that as at 4. 00 p.m of March 28, Lagos had added seven new cases of the Coronavirus, while Benue recorded its first confirmed case.

According to it, this brings the total confirmed cases in the country to 89, with three treated and discharged, while one death was recorded.

It added that currently, Lagos has 59, Abuja, 14, Ogun, Three, Oyo, three, Edo, two, Bauchi two, while Benue, Ekiti, Osun and Rivers have one case each.

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