President Goodluck Jonathan Friday night fired the National Security Adviser, Gen Andrew Azazi, and Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello.
Gambo Dasuki, a retired Colonel with the Nigerian Army, has replaced Azazi.
Dasuki served as ADC to former Military President, Gen Ibrahim Babangida. He is the son of former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki
The former NSA has been under fire for the manner he handled the security situation in the country.
His tenure witnessed an escalation in deadly bomb attacks by the extremist Islamist sect, Boko Haram.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, confirmed the sack of both men in a telephone chat with newsmen but did not give details
The former NSA has been accused of openly politicising his office by making statements that offended the Northern parts of Nigeria.
Added to this was the statement Azazi made at the South South Economic Summit where he blamed elements within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the rise in the activities of Boko Haram.
Following three consecutive Sundays of attacks on churches in different parts of the North, residents and security forces in the region are on red alert for possible breakdown of law and order.
The situation is further heightened by threats of Islamist group, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram), to launch further attacks on churches and government buildings.
There have been high casualties from attacks in Borno, Kaduna, Plateau, Kano, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and other parts of the North in recent times. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for almost all of them.
There was a high drama on Friday in Abuja as a black bag left unattended to on Michael Okpara Road, Wuse Zone 5, threw the entire area into pandemonium with both motorists and pedestrians running for safety.
The bag, placed close to Ibro Hotel, not too far from the National Headquarters of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and the head office of the Nigerian Civil and Security Defence Corp (NCSDC), led to the closure of the road.
The arrival of a bomb disposal squad added more drama to the already tense situation as onlookers who had gathered around took to their heels fearing the worst.
Workers in nearby Hatlab Place, Shipper’s Plaza and the building that houses both the Abuja office of Independent Newspapers Limited and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) rushed out with many of them quickly driving their cars away from the area.
Policemen quickly condoned off the road causing serious traffic. Before the police could organise themselves, a young man in his 20s, wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans, sauntered close to the bag and ripped it open to reveal its content: clothes.
The unidentified young man stood up, looked round, shook his head in bewilderment and walked off, leaving the policemen and others stunned.
Some of the onlookers who spoke to journalists said the panic was a direct response to the security situation in the country.
Fear of more strikes by Boko Haram in Jos, the Plateau State capital has compelled security agents to increase their surveillance around flashpoints especially churches and security posts in the city.
To this end, reporters gathered that security in and around Police Headquarters along Joseph Gomwalk Way and State Security Service (SSS) office by the Jos Central Prison and that of the Special Military Taskforce by Hill Station Hotel has been fortified. Security devices and armed personnel have been placed in strategic locations to ward off any attack.
The road that passes through Jos High Court, Jos Museum and Plateau Police Command has been shut in the last three months to traffic, with a major construction company contracted to block the road with heavy blocks.
In Kaduna metropolis and environs, residents were groaning over the negative impact of captivity after been confined indoors for the better part of this week following the outbreak of violence.
Many families had run out of food supplies as even neighborhood markets that opened for brisk business jacked up the prices beyond the reach of many. But the people are also afraid of a return to the mayhem of recent weeks.
Only foodstuff sellers were seen trying to make brisk business at the popular Kaduna Central Market along Ahmadu Bello Way in the centre of the town as other shops remained under lock and key.
ATM machines in many parts of the metropolis are said to be out of money, even as Saturday Independentsighted a long queue in one of the machines still distributing money along Kachia Road on Friday.
Many residents were also seen at fuel stations in haste to purchase the commodity in their cars or jerry cans for generating sets due to the epileptic power supply.
Uneasy calm also pervaded the town as residents were coming out for the first time since Tuesday for few hours to enable Muslim faithful undertake their Friday worship.
Soldiers, policemen and other security agencies were stationed at different locations within the city to make sure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
Reporters also gathered that the tollgate along the Kaduna end of the Kaduna–Abuja Expressway was full of activities as people were either trying to enter or leave the town.
The flurry of activities was to prepare residents for any eventualities that may arise over the weekend.
Following the window of opportunity given to Kaduna residents to worship on Friday and Sunday in spite of the curfew impose on the state, Governor Yakowa has called on the people to corporate with security agencies for the quick return of normalcy.
In a statement in Kaduna Yakowa expressed his “happiness with the peaceful way the good people of Kaduna state conducted themselves during today’s, (Friday) relaxation of the curfew hours”.
The statement signed by Yakowa’s spokesman, Reuben Buhari, pointed that “His Excellency express his delight and urge all to also peacefully conduct themselves on Sunday when the curfew hours would be relaxed from 9 am- 1pm.”
There is however an exodus of people, particularly non-indigenes, fleeing Gombe, one of the states that have come under attacks by Boko Haram.
Our correspondent reported that the apprehension of residents was heightened in the past few days following the killing of some people in the state.
Consequently, non-indigenes, particularly businessmen who are no longer comfortable in the state, are leaving, thereby paralysing business activities.