The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has ordered the withdrawal of 23 senior army officers serving at the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) without replacing them.
The withdrawal came less than two months after the current NSA, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), slammed the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari for meddling in national security matters which do not fall within his purview.
According to a report by Premium Times, the officers were among 137 senior officers redeployed across over a dozen military departments and formations between February 4 and 10. The online newspaper published documents, including memos ordering the postings, on Friday.
Those redeployed from the ONSA were two majors-general, one brigadier-general, seven colonels, seven lieutenant colonels, five captains and one lieutenant.
Maj.-Gen. Adeyinka Famadewa, the Principal Staff Officer to the NSA, and Col. Ado Ibrahim, Military Assistant to the NSA, were among those affected in the recent transfers.
The redeployments from the NSA, without replacements, are believed to be part of Buratai’s declaration of solidarity with Kyari in the ongoing rift with the NSA.
Kyari is said to be the most senior administration official rooting for the continued stay of the service chiefs, including Buratai, despite nationwide demands for their sack for alleged non-performance.
Premium Times quoted a former NSA official as saying that the ONSA is mostly staffed by military and law enforcement personnel on secondment from their respective services.
“Any federal law enforcement agency you could think has personnel at the NSA, but most of the directors there are military officers,” the source was quoted as saying.
Adding that the services have the powers to make changes to their respective personnel serving at the ONSA, the source noted, “But it has to be in liaison with the NSA before officers could be changed or withdrawn.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the NSA has reportedly rejected the transfers from his office, ordering the affected officers to disregard their letters of redeployment.