The security details of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, have been removed two days after Mr. Tambuwal formally declared his defection from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to All Progressives Congress APC.
Police officers, State Security agents and members of the Civil Defence force who protect the speaker were withdrawn early Thursday on the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan, various sources told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday.
All armed Nigerian government forces report directly to the president.
Government sources said Mr. Jonathan convened a top secret meeting Wednesday night to discuss Mr. Tambuwal’s defection.
In attendance at the meeting were members of the National Working Committee of the ruling PDP, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhammed Adoki, some PDP governors as well as PDP members of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Tambuwal, who had long identified with the APC, announced a formal defection Tuesday and promptly adjourned the House of Representatives to forestall any backlash from the ruling PDP.
The PDP called for his resignation.
On Wednesday, the speaker, a three-term member of the House, attended a mini-convention of the APC, arriving at the venue of the event in Abuja to a rapturous welcome.
He condemned his former party as being led by a cabal and vowed that his new party will “sweep” off the ruling party after 15 years in power.
A source close to the camp of the speaker said “the tumultuous welcome accorded the speaker at the convention and the overwhelming outpouring of goodwill from the general public is said to have rattled the presidency resulting in their frenzied reaction”.
“Early this morning, few minutes after midnight to be precise, top level security report informed the Speaker that orders have been given for the withdrawal of his security details,” the source, who declined to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the media, said.
The source said the speaker had been informed that the governing party, PDP, will file a legal challenge against him for retaining his seatThursday.
“The ironic thing here is why not wait for the verdict before any action is taken?” the source said.
Mr. Tambuwal’s spokesperson, Imam Imam, could not be immediately reached for comments.