…we have used the office for 20 years – EFCC
… there is no rivalry between us – DSS
The officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Ikoyi, Lagos have been prevented from gaining access to their office by operatives of the Department of State Security, DSS, on Tuesday morning.
This, according to sources, was due to an ongoing rivalry between the DSS and the EFCC over the ownership of the building.
It was gathered that the DSS operatives stormed the office around 7:00 am on Tuesday, and refused to leave despite dialogue between operatives of both agencies, an impeccable source confirmed the development.
An official of the EFCC who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “There’s been a running battle between us and the DSS over who owns the office because the office was used by them before the EFCC came on board and it was handed over to us.
“But it’s been an administrative issue, and the matter is not in court and hasn’t caused any fracas before now. But we don’t understand why they have to block our office and deny our officials access when a new government just came in.”
“The office used to be ours, and we have been fighting over it for years now, and the EFCC knows,” a DSS source said.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren in a statement signed on Tuesday confirmed reports that operatives of DSS barricaded the Commission’s office with armored personnel carriers, denying operatives access to the office.
The statement read partly: “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 have 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.”
Meanwhile, in a reaction to the incident, the DSS in a statement shared via its Twitter page on Tuesday, said the report was false.
“The Service is only occupying its own facility where it is carrying out its official and statutory responsibility,” the statement read.
The DSS also noted, “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 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,” the statement said.Follow us on social media