The Department of State Services (DSS) played a role in the non-confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Now, the EFCC is also investigaing DSS officials.
Background: Ibrahim Magu is the head of the EFCC, but only in an acting capacity. He has been in this acting position for over two years. On two occasions (December 2016 and March 2017), his confirmation by the Senate was scuttled due to stinging letters from the Department of State Services (DSS), despite the fact that the presidency really wants Magu. The DSS reports raised quesions about Magu’s integrity.
Some DSS officials have been invited by the anti-graft agency over the alleged $2.1 billion arms scandal involving former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Although the DSS is yet to respond to the EFCC request for the release of officials, the EFCC has said the probe is not a witch hunt.
In a statement on Tuesday, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said the commission’s invitation to the DSS operatives is common practice in its operations.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to a report on the invitation of some DSS operatives. The report painted a picture of an imaginary feud brewing between the Department of State Services (DSS) and EFCC over the alleged invitation of some DSS operatives, which it claimed was an attempt by the Commission to ‘rubbish’ the Service since the DSS was not answerable to the EFCC. It is important to state that it is not strange for the EFCC to invite (for questioning) officers of other law enforcement agencies alleged to be complicit in any case being investigated by the Commission,” he said.
According to Uwujaren, ”In the course of investigating the arms procurement scandal in the Office of the former National Security Adviser, ONSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, the Commission has had cause to request the release of officers of other security agencies, including the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Navy and now the DSS, for questioning. All but the DSS have acceded to this request.”
Insinuations of Witch-hunt are mischievous: “For the avoidance of doubt, the arms procurement investigation is national in outlook, with alleged culprits cutting across the military, security establishments as well as the political class. It is not targeted at any institution. Consequently, the insinuation about a revenge-instigated investigation of the DSS by the EFCC over its role in the Senate’s refusal to confirm Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the EFCC is not only specious, but pure mischief contrived for motives that are unclear,” he added.