Jonathan orders probe of Yar'Adua's NSA, ADC, CSO

THE PUNCH Newspaper

The Presidency has ordered an investigation into the roles played by senior State House Security Officials in the crisis that resulted from the sudden illness of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua.

President Goodluck Jonathan


President Goodluck Jonathan, during his maiden Presidential Media Chat last Sunday, had said that some senior government officials who were not political appointees barred him and other top government officials from seeing Yar'Adua before his death on May 5.

Saturday Punch learnt that security agents were investigating those believed to be responsible for the decision.

It was gathered that the State Security Services had been directed by President to investigate the roles played by the late president's Aide de Camp, Col. Mustapha Onoyiveta; the Chief Security Officer, Mr. Yusuf Tilde; and the former National Security Adviser, Major Gen. Sarki Muktar, from the time Yar'Adua was evacuated to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment on November 23 last year, till his death on May 5, 2010.

Asked who stopped him from seeing Yar'Adua before his death, President Jonathan said during the media chat, "There were senior government functionaries; they were not political office holders. They were security personnel"

The ex-ADC, CSO and NSA were believed to have worked in concert with the former First Lady, Turai Yar'Adua, and a clique made up of the late president's closest aides to prevent government officials from seeing the then ailing Yar'Adua.

It was further learnt that Tilde, for instance, had serious disagreements with the Director General of the SSS, Mr. Afakriya Gadzama, as he failed to relate with him (Gadzama) on matters that fell within the ambit of state security during his tenure in the Presidential Villa.

The SSS DG was said to had been cut off completely from events in Aso Rock, especially during the period of Yar'Adua's terminal ailment.

A source, who confided in one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity, said even though it was the standard practice for the CSO to report to the SSS DG, he did not. Also, Gadzama could not query Tilde for his activities, viewed as a violation of standard security procedures in the country, because of the prevailing situation then.

The situation was said to have put Gadzama in an uncomfortable situation as he had no way of knowing what was happening in the Presidential Villa during the political crisis caused by the late Yar'Adua's health crisis.

The source alleged that Tilde reorganised the entire security system in Aso Rock by merging the security of the then Vice President Jonathan with that of the late president.

He was said to have ensured that the CSO to Jonathan reported to him (Tilde) who alone had the powers to determine who served in the unified security team contrary to the security arrangement he had met on the ground.

The arrangement gave Tilde so much power that he could transfer anybody serving in the VP's entourage at will.

Although the source was silent on why Muktar was being investigated, it was revealed that Onoyiveta was being probed in relation to the statement issued by the former Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, in which he referred to President Jonathan as 'the Vice President' after the National Assembly had passed a resolution on February 9 making him the Acting President.

Onoyiveta was alleged to have influenced the statement based on the decision of the then cabal led by Turai. The source said the Presidency was of the view that since Yar'Adua was critically ill and was not in a position to okay the controversial press statement; the ADC must have acted on his own rather than following a presidential directive.

Also, Tilde and Onoyiveta were said to have gone to Jonathan to convince him to sit on the President's chair and preside over the meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation shortly after Yar'Adua was flown back into the country under the cover of darkness.

The source said the Presidency was not comfortable with the decision of the two top security aides to persuade Jonathan in the heat of the crisis to sit on the President's seat even when he was barred from seeing Yar'Adua on demand. The duo were suspected of having other plans.


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