NSA, MUKHTAR, REMOVED OVER SECURITY LAPSE
NSA, Mukhtar, removed over security lapse
From LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
A three and a half-hour top level security meeting presided over by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan ended in the Presidential Villa, Abuja last night with a major outcome: the immediate removal from office of the National Security Adviser to the President, Maj-Gen. Sarkin Mukhtar.
He was immediately replaced with his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau in what is seen as the beginning of a major shake-up in the nation's security services following security lapses in the Jos renewed violence. Gusau served as the national security adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo until 2006 when he left to contest the 2007 presidential election.
A two-paragraph statement to that effect signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President, Mr. Ima Niboro with the headline 'Gusau Replaces Mukhtar as National Security Adviser' announced:
'The Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has appointed Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd), as National Security Adviser. He replaces Maj. Gen. Sarki Mukhtar (rtd)
'Dr. Jonathan thanked the outgoing NSA for his services to the nation and the present administration, and wished him well in his future endeavours'.
Jonathan had while addressing the renewed Jos crisis in which over 500 people, mainly women and children were slaughtered by people believed to be Fulani herdsmen promised to meet with the leadership of the country's security services on urgent strategies to halt the violence.
Yesterday's meeting was attended by all security and service chiefs and heads of intelligence units, including Mukhtar himself who looked completely out of place as he emerged from the conference room of the acting president at the end of the ºmeeting.
He told reporters who surged towards him for comment on the meeting to wait for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Yayale who, he said, had been mandated to brief newsmen on the outcome of the meeting. He was driven off immediately after.
At the meeting were the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike, the Service Chiefs, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau (Army); Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinri (Air force); Vice Admiral Ishaya Iko Ibrahim (Navy); and the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mr. Afakriya Gadzama; the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo; and the Chief of Defence Intelligence.
Those in attendance also include the Minister of Defence, Gen. Godwin Abbe, The Minister of Interior, Alhaji Mustapha Shettima, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Ahamed Yayale and the Minister of Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Lame, among others.
Daily Sun correspondent recalled that there had been a number of security lapses across the country in the last two and a half years that Mukhtar served as national security adviser, resulting in loss of lives and bloodshed, the most recent being the last two Jos crises and the Boko Haram episode.