Tension in Aso Villa as Osinbajo’s Aides beat up Journalist

It has not been easy for a photo-journalist with Vanguard Newspaper on Thursday morning which was reportedly beaten up by security aides of the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo.

Abayomi Adeshida, a journalist with Vanguard Newspaper was reportedly beaten up by the Department of State Services (DSS) operatives (security aides) of the Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo

It was reported that the incident took place at the banquet hall of the presidential villa in Abuja where the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), chaired by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, organised  a summit.  

Adeshida was taking photographs of the vice president at the exhibition stand when Department of State Services (DSS) operatives pounced on him as Osinbajo was being presented a copy of the magazine as souvenir.  

The photo-journalist later told his colleagues that he was not told his offence. He said he did not do anything out of the ordinary before the security operatives started hitting him.

 His camera was damaged while he was dragged on the floor right in the presence of the vice-president.

“I was shocked when these DSS operatives started beating me for no reason. They tore off my Presidential Villa accreditation tag on the shirt and dragged me on the floor while hitting me and kicking me.

I believe they would have done much worse if not for the intervention of the Vice-President’s aide-de-camp (ADC), who I noticed was making hand movements for them to leave me alone.  

“I am feeling pains all over my body and a particular sever pain on my right leg on which I don’t even know what they hit me with” he said.

The incident happened a day after 35 aides of the Vice-President were reportedly sacked.

Meanwhile, Newsflash247 had earlier reported that Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sack at least 35 out of over 80 aides in the office of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, a day after Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari takes bill to president Buhari in London for signing.

The president is currently in London, United Kingdom for a two-week “private visit” and is expected back in Abuja on November 17.

According to Daily Nigerian who gathered that the affected aides, who were issued appointment letters in August included some Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, Personal Assistants and Technical Assistants.

Credible sources who preferred anonymity said the aides may be formally issued their sack letters on Wednesday.

Preparatory to their eventual dismissal, the reports learnt the aides were posted out to some line ministries relevant to their designation last month. The move was allegedly to deny them access to the Villa and reduce the influence of the vice president.

“Although more than half of the aides are under the payroll of donor agencies, the cabal eased them out in order to whittle down the influence of the vice president,” said a source familiar with the development.

“None of them were queried or interdicted for any wrongdoing. It is not about cutting cost, because no aide was sacked in the president’s office nor office of the First Lady, where six more aides appointed less than one month ago. They were just sacked to reduce the VP’s influence.”

Both spokesmen for the president and vice president, Garba Shehu and Laolu Akande respectively, did not respond to a text message seeking their reaction to the development.

READ ALSO: Drama in Presidential Villa as Buhari’s aides engage in shouting match over sack of Osinbajo’s aides

Osinbajo’s travails

There seems to be a frosty relationship between the president and his deputy since the beginning of their second term in office, with the president transferring some agencies under the Mr Osinbajo’s control to either his office or some ministries.

Insiders said the president’s powerful handlers, otherwise known as cabal, were unhappy with some critical decisions taken by the vice president in the president’s absence.

Feelers believe that top among Mr Osinbajo’s “crimes” was the sack of Lawal Daura, erstwhile director-general of the State Security Service, SSS, when Mr Osinbajo was acting president in August last year.

Another decision that drew the ire of the cabal was transmitting a letter to the Senate in February 2017, seeking confirmation of then acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Samuel Onnoghen.

But the president first wielded the big stick by taking away the Special Intervention Programmes, SIPs, from the vice president’s office to the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

The SIPs include the famous TraderMoni, the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power, among others.

On September 16, Mr Buhari replaced Osinbajo-led Economic Management Team with Economic Advisory Council that will directly report to his (president’s) office.

According a report by PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, even the controversial RUGA project has also been taken from Mr Osinbajo’s control after the recommendation of the president’s powerful Chief of Staff Abba Kyari.

Taking a cue from Olusegun Obasanjo?

Shortly after President Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn-in for a second term in May 2003, his relationship with his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, became sour over latter’s alleged plan to contest against him at the party’s primaries.

At the peak of estrangement, the former president fired Mr Atiku’s key aides in order to allegedly settle the political scores.

Those fired by Mr Obasanjo in July 2006 included Adeolu Akande, Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo, Chris Mammah, Shina Ayati, Sam Oyovbaire, Lawal Jafaru Isa and Garba Shehu.


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