The decision was announced after Jonathan met his security team on Friday, hours after returning from a UN environmental summit in Brazil.
“The president has relieved the NSA (national security adviser), Owoye Azazi of his job and replaced him with Colonel Sambo Dasuki,” Reuben Abati, presidency spokesman, said on Friday.
“The president has also sacked the minister of defence Bello, Mohammed and will announce his replacement later.”
He said the new security adviser would be Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel, prominent northerner and cousin to the Sultan of Sokoto, Nigeria’s highest Muslim spiritual figure.
It was not yet clear who would replace defence minister Mohammed. Criticism has mounted over the government’s response to the violence, with few public indications of what strategies are being employed beyond heavy-handed military raids to stop the onslaught of attacks. Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abuja, said the sacking of the defense chief may be seen as a bid to restore public confidence.
“There has been a real feeling that Nigeria’s security apparatus, that means the military, police and state security forces, has not had a full grip on the violence, despite millions [in funding] being poured into it,” our correspondent said.
“This move could be explained as a response to weeks of violence.”