…Says commission failed to obtain NSA, President’s authorisation before search, arrest warrant on former DSS boss
…Wants Buhari to ensure avoidance of public exhibition of envy by security agencies
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate has indicted the Acting Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and the commission for failing to obtain authorisation from the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major- General Babagana Monguno (retd) and President Muhammadu Buhari in the attempt to arrest former Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, and his counterpart in NIA, Mr. Ayo Oke in Abuja.
It warned that henceforth, search and arrest operation that may be conducted on these agencies must first have presidential approval as it must also be done in a discreet manner rather than in full public glare.
According to the Senate, in dealing with sister agencies that are clandestine in nature, the EFCC must conduct its activities with minimum publicity in order to retain the integrity of the institutions, even as it said that public altercations as witnessed between these agencies must not be allowed to repeat itself.
It would be recalled that there was alleged security threat November 21, 2017, following the face- off amng the EFCC, DSS and the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, over attempt by the EFCC to arrest former Director- General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, and his counterpart in NIA, Mr. Ayo Oke, in Abuja.
The report said, however, that though the EFCC acted within the ambit of the law by obtaining all the relevant search warrants from the court of law in a bid to arrest these officers, it ” failed to obtain authorisation from the NSA or the President in accordance with section 4 of National Security Agency Act, Cap 74 LFN 2004, before obtaining the search warrant.”
The Senate urged President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief, to as a matter of urgency, investigate the matter to ensure that agency rivalry or public exhibition of envy was nipped in the bud and avoided at all cost.
These were part of the recommendations of the 16- page report of the Senate Ad- hoc Committee, chaired by the Deputy Senate Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, APC, Edo North on investigation of arrest episodes of Tuesday, November 21, 2017, involving officers of EFCC, NIA and DSS which was laid last week at plenary before the Senate embarked on Easter break.
The report will be presented for consideration when the senators resume plenary after the Easter celebration.
In the report which was sighted by Vanguard, the committee also recommended that the Senate would soon initiate the Amendment of National Security Agencies Act Cap N74 LFN 2010 with a view it giving powers of control to the co-ordinator on National Security over the agencies on behalf of the President.
The report read in part: ”That the EFCC, when dealing with sister agencies that are clandestine in nature, must conduct its activities with minimum publicity in order to retain the integrity of the institutions. Public altercations as witnessed by these agencies must not be allowed to repeat itself.
“Although there is no institution or individual that is above the law or immuned from investigation, however, the security agencies must be properly guarded against blanket investigations as those can jeopardize our security operations and bring our country into disrepute both locally and internationally.
“That search and arrest operation that may be conducted in the future on these agencies must first have Presidential Approval; it must be done in a discreet manner rather than in full public glare.”