President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the stoppage of special allowance for security personnel in the Presidential Villa, investigations by The Punch have revealed.
Before now, all security personnel posted to the Villa were being paid what is known as Risk and Hazard Allowance. However, since his assumption of office, President Buhari was said to have refused to pay the money to them. During the last regime, our correspondents gathered that senior security officers covering the Villa were said to have been collecting between N75,000 and N50,000 while their junior ones received between N30,000 and N25,000 on a monthly basis. ADVERTISEMENT One of the officers manning the Villa told one of our correspondents that the ADC to the President, Lt. Col. Muhammed Abubakar, summoned sectional heads of all the security agencies manning different positions within the Villa to inform them about the stoppage of the allowance. It was gathered that the ADC decided to call the sectional heads following rumours making the rounds among the operatives that the money meant for the affected officers was being embezzled. One of the affected officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “About two weeks ago, an assistant superintendent of one of the agencies called us and told us that the ADC met all the heads of the security agencies in the Villa where the news was broken to them. “Our own head also met us and warned us to desist from carrying rumours about the money. He said that the ADC told them that no money was being released to the guards, as being speculated.” It was further gathered that the leaders of the affected security organs were told that the officers manning the Villa should be contented with their monthly salaries. Besides, it was also gathered that the Chief Security Officer, Bashir Abubarkar, had written two letters to the National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno(retd.) on the issue of the RCA, but was said to have been told that such allowance was illegal and that the President had asked that it be stopped. Efforts made to get the reaction of the Presidency failed as calls made to the telephone number of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, were not answered. He also didn’t respond to a text message sent to him as well. However, a source at the Presidency said the issue was being looked into. He said the office of the NSA had been mandated to look into the matter and report to the Presidency on the matter. “The report is true, but I can tell you that the matter is being looked into and I can tell you that we are going to do something about it,” the source added. But speaking on the development, a former Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, endorsed the President’s decision, saying that the security personnel at the Presidential Villa were given “a lot of allowances and giving them extra money is like buying their conscience.” The retired CP observed that many security operatives on the streets get no extra money apart from their salaries, stressing that the allowances given to Presidential guards was the reason many security officials were struggling to serve at the Aso Villa. He said, “The security officers on the road get nothing and giving the security personnel at the Villa extra allowance is like buying their conscience. They won’t tell the truth. they would only tell the President what he wants to hear.” But a former DSS Director, Mike Ejiofor, disagreed, saying the Presidential Villa “is a special beat” which should attract extra stipends for the security men serving there.