Group Raises The Alarm Over Plot To Usurp The Powers Of President Tinubu By The NSA

By Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba

A civil Society group, Civil Society For Peace And Development, CSPSD, has raised the alarm over an alleged plan by some forces to push for the enactment of a Law through the National Assembly, seeking to empower the National Security Adviser, NSA, to establish a complete framework for the appointment of staff of the office of the NSA for the enhancement of institutional Memory and Effective Performance of the responsibilities of the NSA .

The group has warned that allowing the bill to sail through as an Act of the National Assembly will be tantamount to subtly undermining, if not completely eroding and usurping the powers of the president to control security matters.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday January 16, 2024  and signed by its coordinator Obadiah Solomon Ovye and  made available to newscritic online CSPSD alerted that already some clandestine plans have been set in motion to impress, cajole, persuade and intimidate the National Assembly by some forces to enact the said bill into law.

According to them, in the alleged proposed Act, the NSA may among others appoint such number of staff as he deems fit and expedient for the proper and efficient performance of his duties.

The NSA will also be empowered to determine such other terms and conditions as remuneration, allowances and other benefits of staff periodically.

The CSPSD while expressing concern on why such an important bill when passed has the potentials of altering significantly the power structure of the country, did not emanate from the Executive arm of government, also queried the motive  behind the promoters bypassing such important security bodies like the National Security And Defence Council for their inputs before taken the bill to the National Assembly.

“Why was the public hearing for the bill earlier scheduled before the end of January 2024 hurriedly brought back to 30th December 2023- on a Saturday and without well circulated information on the change of date? 

Who is seeking to enact the Act on the premise of enhancing an institutional memory and effective performance of the responsibilities of the NSA? What has happened to the office of the Permanent Secretary, Special Services designed to coordinate the intelligence community? 

Why does the NSA plan to operationalize his office with full compliments of permanent staff when such are already seconded by security Agencies, the group queried?

CSPSD therefore expressed worries that the bill if allowed to scale through, will grant the NSA sweeping powers to bypass existing checks and balances, and operate with little or no oversight at all, adding that the development will ultimately lead to the concentration of too much powers in the hands of an individual.

“Most importantly, the establishment of an independent agency by the NSA to handle security matters creates the risk of a parallel platform. This new Agency has the potentials of operating independently and in effect could weaken the President’s control over security matters.

According to our findings, the NSA already has within its facility the National Counter Terrorism Center, NCTC; the National Center for the Control of Small Arms And Light Weapons, a National Cybersecurity Commission and more worrisome, a recently built Cell for holding suspects,” the group noted.

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