•As Senate probes security agencies
By Lawrence Olaoye and Christiana Ekpa
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has said that his agency would not relent in its efforts to arrest and prosecute the former Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the sacked head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke.
Magu, who spoke to State House Correspondents after the inauguration of the Audit Committee on the Recovery andManagement of Stolen Assets within and outside Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, said he was undeterred by the prevention of their arrest by armed men from their agencies.
According to him, the two former government officials must be made to face the law as the EFCC has concrete evidence against them.
There was confusion in Asokoro District of Abuja on Tuesday when armed guards of the NIA and DSS prevented officials of the EFCC from arresting their former bosses residing in the area.
It was reported that attempts by EFCC officials and policemen to arrest Ekpeyong and Oke, were resisted by armed officials at their homes on Mamman Nasir Street in the Asokoro district of Abuja.
This resistance led to a stand-off between armed security officers from all the four agencies, causing traffic mayhem in the area.
Armed plain-clothed security personnel were also reported to have mounted strategic positions on the street.
Reporters were prevented from getting to the end of the street around 3pm Tuesday, while efforts to access the street from two adjoining streets were rebuffed by armed mobile policemen.
Residents of the area, were said to have been frustrated at the closure of the street as they could not access their homes.
Ekpeyong Ita is being investigated for offences bordering on alleged theft and diversion of public funds in the arms deal saga involving a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), and other service chiefs who have since been arraigned.
Oke, who was recently sacked by the President for allegedly stashing away N13 billion in the Ikoyi apartment, is reported to have refused not to honour invitations for over three weeks.
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday waded into the alleged feud between Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Directorate of State Security (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) over the planned arrest of the former heads of the DSS and NIA at their respective residence.
The Upper Chamber equally said it would set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter within two weeks.
The face-off was said to have stemmed from EFCC’s attempted arrest of former directors-general of DSS, Ita Ekpeyong and NIA, Ayodele Oke.
The resolution followed a motion by Sen. Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi), who citing order 42 of the Senate’s rule book and drew the attention of the upper chamber to alleged resistance by DSS and NIA officers on Tuesday of the attempt to arrest Ekpeyong and Oke.
Presenting the motion, Melaye said that it was expedient for the senate to wade into the matter in view of its threat to national security.
“Our responsibility as a senate is to ensure the respect for rule of law. The media have been awash with a disastrous situation that happened yesterday.
“The EFCC went to the resident of the former DG of the DSS, Mr Ita Ekepyong, to effect arrest and the men of the DSS stopped the EFCC from arresting him.
“The development created gridlock in the area as people living in there were either not allowed to gain entrance to their residents or to move out.
“Same yesterday, the EFCC was stopped from arresting the former DG of NIA, Mr Oke, and the officers of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency stopped that arrest.
“We will recall that the same DG, DSS, had written this senate before now on the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
“We are not here to lay blame on anyone but to say Nigeria has been embarrassed before the international community for two sister agencies to be involved in fisticuffs,’’ he said.
The lawmaker said that the incident was a recipe for national disaster which should not be allowed to continue.
He stressed that Nigeria was not a banana republic and as such, the rule of law must be respected by all.
Melaye pointed out that “if two security agencies will engage in this shameful act, which involves threat to life, what will happen when two civilians are fighting.
Contributing, Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said it was a dangerous situation that should be nipped in the bud.
On his part, the Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, supported the motion, saying “what Melaye has presented is seeking that the senate investigates what happened and it is one rare motion.
“However, I want to say that President Muhammadu Buhari is in full control of the government.
“Even when he was away to attend to his health, the Vice President was in control. There was never a vacuum.
“In my opinion, could it be that the EFCC did not get the right document to effect arrest and if they did, our investigation will reveal,’’ he said.
Lawan called for calm, assuring that the matter would be investigated.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, urged the lawmakers to remain calm while the ad hoc committee probed the development.
He said “anything we say now will be based on assumptions and not facts.
“The most important thing now is the prayer and it will guide us on the way forward.’’
The motion was unanimously adopted.