• Friday, June 14, 2024
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We are not in fight with EFCC over Lagos property, says DSS

DSS tells court

The Department of State Services (DSS) says it is not in any way fighting with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the ownership of a property located on 15A, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The EFCC had, in a press statement on Tuesday by Wilson Uwujaren, Head of Media and Publicity, stated that operatives of the DSS invaded the property where it has its Lagos office, describing the action of the state service as “shocking.”

Peter Afunanya, the public relations officer, DSS, National Headquarters, in reaction to the claim by EFCC, said there was no controversy over the property on 15A, Awolowo Road as being insinuated by the media, asking if the EFCC told anybody that it was contesting the ownership of the building?

“I will be surprised if it is contesting the ownership,” Afunanya said, their official Twitter handle, adding that the said property was NSO headquarters and that SSS/DSS started from there. “It is a common knowledge; it is a historical fact; check it out,” he said.

According to him, there was no rivalry between the Service and the EFCC over and about anything, pleading with the media not to create any imaginary one as they were great partners working for the good of the nation.

Operatives of the secret police had laid siege to the EFCC office located at 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, denying access to the anti-graft officials and visitors, with a claim to being the legal owners of the property. It was reported that DSS officials barricaded the entrance of the office with armoured personnel carriers.

Uwujaren said the invasion was strange as both were agencies of government that had cohabited in the facility for 20 years without incident.

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He said that the staff of the crimes commission arrived their office only to be denied entry by agents of the DSS who, he said, had barricaded the entrance with armoured personnel carriers.

“This development is strange to the Commission given that we have co-habited with the DSS in that facility for 20 years without incident. By denying us access to our offices, the Commission’s operations at its largest hub with over 500 personnel, hundreds of exhibits, and many suspects in detention have been disrupted,” Uwujaren noted.

He lamented that cases scheduled for court hearing that day had been aborted, while many suspects who had been invited for questioning were left unattended, adding, “even more alarming is that suspects in detention are left without care with grave implications for their rights as inmates.”

Reacting to the development, IPC Justice noted that the DSS’s actions were unnecessary and unprofessional, pointing out that the use of a tank in front of the EFCC’s building was a clear show of force even as it was clear what the DSS hoped to achieve by doing so.

“The DSS is a security agency, and its primary function is to protect the country from threats. However, it is also important for the DSS to work with other law enforcement agencies, such as the EFCC, to fight crime; the DSS needs to be careful not to start inter agency battles,” it said.

IPC Justice argued that if DSS continued to act in that way, it would only make it more difficult for it to do its job, advising that the state service needed to demilitarize its operations and focus on its primary function of protecting the country from threats.