Supremacy battle: NSA Monguno on warpath with Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari


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A supremacy rift is currently brewing between the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

Monguno has accused Kyari of meddling in national security matters which do not fall within his purview.

The NSA has therefore sent a memo directing all service chiefs to desist from taking orders from the president’s chief of staff forthwith, Premium Times reported.

He noted in the memo dated December 9, 2019, that some of Kyari’s directives to the service chiefs were sometimes issued without the president’s knowledge or assent.

He averred that this has contributed in no small measure towards the inability to adequately combat insecurity in the country.

According to Monguno, the “chief of staff to the president is not a presiding head of security” and he is “not sworn to an oath of defending the country”.

Read the full memo below:



A. SH/COS/46/2/1429 dated 13 September 2019

B. SH/COS/26/5/A/2609 dated 26 November 2019

References A and B were sent in response to the request for presidential intervention to sustain internal security operations of the police within the shortest possible time. However the contents of the 2 references were in variance with Mr President’s verbal directives.

Consequently, ONSA scrutinized the documents further and sought clarification from Mr President who has directed that Reference B be disregarded by all parties as it was sent without his endorsement.

2. While it is expected that all heads of security agencies, having spent many years in service would understand means of passing directives from the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, it may be necessary to remind all, in the face of glaring breaches to that procedure.

For clarification, other than direct verbal directives from the President, written directives emanating from Mr President would be conveyed with a copy of his manuscript directive or at minimum, bear his signature.

Additionally, Mr President may convey directives to the heads of defence and security apparatus through the NSA who chairs the Intelligence Community Committee, Joint Intelligence Board and General Security Appraisal Committee on behalf of the President and the supervising ministers of defence and security agencies.

It should be noted that the Chief of Staff to the President does not direct security apparatus of the Federal Republic of Nigeria — his job as it relates to security stops at conveying Mr President’s written directives.

3. Similarly, you are reminded that the 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 continuous 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.

4. As professionals, you are aware that the security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requires concerted and centralized effort taking into account internal, external and diplomatic factors.

It is therefore detrimental to our collective security that the Chief of Staff who is a non-supervising minister holds meetings with diplomats, security chiefs and heads of agencies.

5. Pursuant to the foregoing, you are by this letter directed to desist from these illegal acts that serve nothing but the continuous undermining of our national security framework. Any breach of this directive will attract displeasure of Mr President.

Babagana Monguno
Major-General (rtd)
National Security Adviser
December 9, 2019.

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