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Senate Indicts NSA, EFCC Over Clash With DSS, NIA

The Senate has faulted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the clash between it, the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency.
The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu; and the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), were particularly accused of not following due process in the operation that caused the clash.
The Senate had resolved to investigate the November 21, 2017, showdown between officials of the DSS and the EFCC in Abuja.
The clash occurred when the EFCC operatives attempted to arrest the immediate past Director General of the DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong; and a former Director General, NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, which were prevented by DSS operatives.
The ad hoc committee set up by the Senate to investigate the clash however blamed the EFCC and the NSA for the clash.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena, presented the report which was adopted at the plenary on Thursday.
Listing its observations, the committee stated that “there exists an acrimony” between the heads of the agencies.
“This was noticed from the beginning of the investigation, leading the committee to conduct the hearings in camera as well as holding separate meetings with the security agencies,” it said.
The panel added that the lack of cooperation and cohesion was reflected at a secondary level “with the EFCC and the NSA belonging to one group, and the NIA and the DSS belonging to another group.”
It added, “Accordingly, the principle of espirit de corps appears to be lost between these two groups.”
The report read in part, “The failure of the Office of the National Security Adviser to act on the letter by the Director General of DSS, dated 25th July, 2017 by implication, amounted to failure to discharge its statutory responsibilities as contained in Section 4 of the National Security Agencies Act, Cap 74 LFN 2004.
“Although 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 security officers), the commission 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 committee therefore recommended 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 between these agencies must not be allowed to repeat itself,” it stated.
The panel also said, “The President and Commander-in-Chief should intervene in the matter with a view to ensuring that inter-agency rivalry or public exhibition of envy is avoided at all costs.”
It noted that although there is no institution or individual that is above the law or immune to investigation, however, the security agencies “must be properly guided against blanket investigations as these can jeopardise our security operations and bring our country into disrepute, both locally and internationally.”
The committee also called on the National Assembly to initiate amendment of the National Security Agencies Act Cap N74 LFN 2010, “with a view to giving powers of control to the coordinator on national security over these agencies on behalf of the President.”
It added, “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 a full public glare.”
Several lawmakers, who commented on the report, pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, solely had the powers to read the riot act to heads of the anti-graft, security and Intelligence agencies.
They also lamented that the persistent conflicts between the agencies was responsible for the worsening insecurity in Nigeria, while noting that it was becoming embarrassing for the country internationally.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, called for a review of the existing laws to strengthen security of the country.


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