The withdrawal is reportedly a retaliatory move by the DSS chief Lawal Daura after a Senate committee refused to approve the security’s agency allocation in the 2018 budget.
“The State Security Service (SSS) implemented about 65 per cent drawdown across board in security protection for the top lawmakers on Saturday, sparking a nationwide uproar. The controversial exercise on Saturday afternoon affected Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun.
Following an urgent security meeting with Vice President Osinbajo on Monday and political pressure from the so-called new PDP bloc of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the secret police on Tuesday partially returned some of the withdrawn officers to Messrs Saraki and Dogara, according to security sources. It was unclear if Messrs Ekweremadu and Lasun had seen a partial or full restoration of the personnel withdrawn from them.
The disagreement stemmed from the National Assembly’s rejection of a presidential approval issued to the State Security Service for the inclusion of “some handsome billions of Naira” into the 2018 budget, according to legislative sources familiar with the matter.
The botched SSS allocation, similar to similar ‘security allowances’ approved to other agencies like the police and the military, was rejected because Lawal Daura, the head of SSS, failed to defend the expenditure when he appeared before a Senate committee vetting the proposed security earmarks, multiple sources familiar with the episode say.
“Rather than answer critical questions and make a strong case to justify his allocation, like the army and the Police Service Commission, did, he merely assumed that the presidential approval he brought to the National Assembly was all that was needed — he even tried to intimidate lawmakers by suggesting that their oversight functions were often laden with corrupt instincts,” a source said.
But rather than see the rejection of the SSS request as a direct consequence of his own conduct, Mr Daura decided on a retaliatory measure against the presiding officers, striking first with the drawdown of their security guards.
Around two-thirds of the 84 SSS personnel attached to the presiding officers were withdrawn without prior notice on Saturday.
Mr Saraki’s security detail was reduced to nine from 23. Mr Dogara’s personnel were also reduced to nine from 23. With the duo receiving five more personnel, each now has 14 officers as at Tuesday night.
The partial restoration came a day after Mr Osinbajo met with Mr Saraki, Mr Daura, Attorney-General Abubakar Malami and Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris in an emergency meeting whose details were not disclosed to the media.”