Less than 24 hours after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed office as the 16th leader of Nigeria, PRNigeria reports that inter-agency rivalry among security agencies in the country may have reared its ugly head again.
The latest incident involved the Department of State Security Services, DSS, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
While Yusuf Magaji Bichi is the Director-General of DSS, Abdulrasheed Bawa is the Chairman of EFCC.
Wilson Uwujaren, spokesperson of the anti-graft body, in a statement obtained by PRNigeria, said operatives of the DSS on Tuesday morning, laid siege on their Lagos office.
He described the action of the Nigerian secret Police’s agents as ‘shocking’.
The statement of the EFCC spokesperson reads: “The operatives of the Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrived at their office on No. 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, this morning, May 30, 2023, to be denied entry by agents of the Department of State Services, DSS, who had barricaded the entrance with armoured personnel carriers.
“This development is strange to the Commission given that we have cohabited with the DSS in that facility for 20 years without incident.
“By denying operatives access to their offices, the Commission’s operations at its largest hub with over 500 personnel, hundreds of exhibits, and many suspects in detention have been disrupted.
“Cases scheduled for court hearing today have been aborted, while many suspects who had been invited for questioning are left unattended.
“Even more alarming is that suspects in detention are left without care with grave implications for their rights as inmates.
“All of these have wilder implications for the nation’s fight against economic and financial crimes.
“The siege is inconsistent with the synergy expected of agencies working for the same government and nation, especially when there are ongoing discussions on the matter”.
But the DSS, through its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, denied ‘fighting’ the EFCC over a property in Lagos.
It said in a statement signed by Afunanya also obtained by PRNigeria, that “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to some media reports that it barricaded the EFCC from entering its Lagos office. It is not correct that the DSS barricaded EFCC from entering its office. No. It is not true. The Service is only occupying its own facility where it is carrying out its official and statutory responsibility.
“By the way, there is no controversy over No 15A Awolowo Road as being insinuated by the Media. Did the EFCC tell you it is contesting the ownership of the building? I will be surprised if it is contesting the ownership. Awolowo Road was NSO headquarters. SSS/DSS started from there. It is a common knowledge. It is a historical fact. Check it out.
“There is no rivalry between the Service and the EFCC over and about anything. Please do not create any imaginary one. They are great partners working for the good of the nation. Dismiss any falsehood of a fight”.