…We’re not in fight with EFCC over Lagos Office-DSS
Soni Daniel, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has described as shocking the seizure of its office on Awolowo Road in Lagos by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.
The takeover of the office is reported to have prevented staff of the anti-graft agency from gaining access to their desks as they reported to work on Monday morning.
The operatives of the DSS are said to have used armoured personnel carriers to block the entrance, which they have been sharing with the EFCC over the years.
The Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, described the blockade of the office by the DSS as strange to the commission given that the two agencies had been sharing the facility for over 20 years.
we have cohabited with the DSS in that facility for 20 years without incident.
Uwujaren said: “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 a 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 wider 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.
DSS NOT IN A FIGHT WITH EFCC OVER LAGOS PROPERTY-DSS responds
But in dismissing the claim of seizure of the EFCC office, the DSS said it was not in a fight with the EFCC over the facility.
The Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, in a statement on Monday, said it was incorrect to say that the secret police had barricaded the premises and barred EFCC agents from functioning.
The statement said: “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 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 ones. They are great partners working for the good of the nation. Dismiss any falsehood of a fight”.