The anti-graft agency (EFCC) on Tuesday failed to arrest two former top security officials after its operations were frustrated.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how a face off occurred on Tuesday between EFCC officials assisted by police officers, and officials of the State Security Service (SSS) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Sources said the EFCC had tried to arrest a former head of the SSS, Ita Ekpeyong, and former head of the NIA, Ayo Oke.
Both Messrs. Oke and Ekpeyong live on the same Mamman Nasir street in Asokoro where the security stand off occurred on Tuesday.
Although the EFCC is yet to formally react to Tuesday’s incident, sources at the commission said the move to arrest the two former top officials was part of ongoing investigations by the agency.
However, officials of the two agencies, SSS and NIA, believe the EFCC is on a vendetta mission thus leading to the face off on Tuesday,
Reports by the SSS, led by Lawal Daura, were the basis the Senate used to reject Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman. The presidency has, however, insisted Mr. Magu will continue as EFCC chairman in acting capacity despite the Senate rejection.
The discovery by the EFCC of money in different currencies (about N13 billion in all) in an Ikoyi apartment in Lagos further worsened the situation. While the EFCC says the money may have been corruptly secured, the NIA had claimed the money was its and that it was properly declared to President Muhammadu Buhari through the National Security Adviser.
Mr. Oke was removed by President Buhari based on the controversy while the EFCC was asked to continue its investigation.
The controversies have, however, deepened the inter-agency rivalry with the EFCC and the SSS and NIA.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter who was at the scene in the heat of the conflict, could not gain access to the street as armed operatives of the SSS erected a barricade, preventing pedestrians access.
An SSS operative carrying an M16 riffle, with his finger on the trigger, drew the attention of two of his superiors when the reporter was held hostage.
One of the superiors, about six feet tall, barked at the reporter to leave the premises immediately.
“This is a sensitive issue, the media should stay out of it,” he yelled.
“In fact, we just damaged one of your colleagues’ camera earlier today, so for your own safety, stay away from this vicinity now.”
The standoff caused a traffic snarl and panic in the area for several hours.
Both the NIA and SSS have no spokespersons. Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC spokesperson, refused repeated calls and sms to seek his comment on the matter.