NIGERIANS may be in for a new era of prompt and proactive attention to important governance issues if what happened on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, was anything to go by. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu instructed men of the Directorate of State Services, DSS, to “immediately” vacate offices of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, which it had invaded.
Thus, ended what could have degenerated into a breach of law and order between the two arms-bearing security agencies if the EFCC had imprudently responded to the blockade of its premises. What just happened was a regular nonsense tolerated by the regime of the out-gone president, Muhammadu Buhari. Inter-agency rivalries were the order of the day. Some of them dragged on interminably, and many were never resolved by the Commander-in-Chief.
For instance, in May 2020, former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, outrageously chased away the Chairman of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, and her staff from their office complex with firearms.
Also, military officers had to guard Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, when armed men of the DSS were harassing him over a stamp duty hoax. During the regime of Ibrahim Magu at the EFCC, there was a prolonged infighting between the Commission and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, over custody and control of recovered loot.
The rivalries and lack of synergy contributed in a large measure to the failure of the Buhari regime to deliver on many of its campaign promises. Many agencies simply refused to cooperate on core issues of defending the country from armed hoodlums and terrorists as well as basic law enforcement. Former Defence Minister, Bashir Magashi, earlier this year, complained that lack of synergy was a major marker for the regime’s failure to secure the country.
Also, in June 2021, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, blamed lack of synergy for the inability of the armed forces to function
effectively. Obviously, this situation arose because the president failed to assert his leadership responsibilities. People got away with grievous disciplinary and service failures, and everyone became a law unto themselves.
We hope the measure taken to stop the DSS’s overreaching action signals a new climate of firm internal control of government. It is unfortunate that after taking this provocative measure, the DSS sought to blame the media by asking them “to avoid instigating any rancour between the two agencies”.
We advise the law enforcement agencies to take note of President Tinubu’s vow to promote democratic governance rather than dictatorship. This will help foster the relationship between them, the media, civil rights groups and the society at large. They must resolve their problems internally and amicably and comport themselves with discipline.