Tinubu reinstates sanity as DSS, EFCC squabble over property in Lagos
A protracted conflict between Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a building at No. 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, appeared to have taken a dirty twist, yesterday.
The incident, however, earned a place in the archive of the new administration as one of the first interventions by President Bola Tinubu, who was sworn in barely 24 hours earlier.
Operatives of the DSS had barricaded entrance to the EFCC’s office, located at the said building, leading the anti-graft agency to issue a protest statement.
Meanwhile, the DSS issued a counter statement, denying it barricaded the premises, and claiming it was “only occupying its own” facility.
According to a statement released by presidential spokesman, Tunde Rahman, Tinubu “directed DSS to immediately vacate the office of the EFCC in Ikoyi, Lagos,” adding, “if there were issues between the two important agencies of government, they would be resolved amicably.”
EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, described the incident as bizarre, given that both agencies had shared the controversial facility for decades.
The statement reads: “Operatives of the Lagos Command of the EFCC arrived at their office on No. 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, this morning, May 30, 2023, to be denied entry by agents of the DSS, who had barricaded the entrance with armoured personnel carriers.
“This development is strange to the Commission, given that we have cohabited with the DSS in that facility for 20 years without incident.
“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 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 spokesman, Peter Afunanya, however, said: “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 15 Awolowo Road, as being insinuated by the media. Did the EFCC tell you it is contesting 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 a 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 one. They are great partners working for the good of the nation. Dismiss any falsehood of a fight.”