REVAMPING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHITECTURE: NEED FOR CLARITY & REMOVING AMBIGUITY IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND AND REPORTING LINES
by Group Capt Sadeeq Shehu (rtd)
Q. What powers does the Minister of defence have over the military service Chiefs?
A. The powers of the Minister are not that clear no matter how we pretend they are. It is not clear as they can sidestep him and go straight to President and commander in chief.
Q. What powers does the CDS have over the 3 Service Chiefs?
A. On paper he has powers. In reality CDS is just a ceremonial position.
Q. What is the relationship between the NSA and the Service Chiefs?
A. It is not clear. It depends on the person occupying the NSA office. Col Dasuki had them under his wings because GEJ gave him the Power of the Purse . Gen Monguno is struggling to define the relationship.
Q. What are the powers of the NSA as the “Coordinator of national security & intelligence matters?
A. It is clear on paper (NSA Act). In practice it is not.
Q. Does the NSA coordinate all the intelligence agencies (military intelligence agencies, DSS, NIA etc)?
A. It is not really clear but everybody pretends it’s all clear.
Q. If an officer from any of the 3 services is appointed to a joint command position to whom does he report?
A. On paper he reports to the CDS since it is supposed to be a joint issue. But in reality he reports to his respective service chief or else he is removed unceremoniously and the CDS cannot save him.
Q. Can the Service Chiefs be summoned by the legislature? And if so should the service Chiefs tell the Legislators “everything “?
A. In principle in a democracy Legislature can summon ANY public official but the reality on the ground its something else. Also in principle the services should confide in the legislature with their problems for adequate appropriation but in reality the services believe it is disloyalty to President to be frank with legislators.
We need Security Sector Reform accompanied by knowledge driven legislative action to clear this confusion.
Sadeeq Shehu, a defence/security and policy analyst is a retired Group Captain in the Nigerian Air Force.