Even though the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had valid arrest warrants, agents of the commission were prevented by the Department of State Services (DSS) from effecting the arrest of the former Directors General of the DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong, and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ayo Oke.
The DSS officials assisted by the police were at Ekpeyong’s Asokoro, Abuja residence on Tuesday morning to arrest him. They blocked entrances into the street, even preventing residents of the street from driving in. However, up to 35 officials of the DSS manned Ekpeyong’s gate, with more inside the compound and others patrolling the street in vans.
The 25 police officers drafted by the EFCC to arrest Ekpenyong were no match for the number or firepower of the DSS. Men of the two agencies were involved in a heated argument but in the end, there was simply no entry for the EFCC.
Here is how Thisday reported the story:
According to a source, Ekpenyong had been invited by the EFCC about two weeks ago in respect of an investigation into the procurement of arms and equipment by the agency he once headed.
The investigation by the anti-graft agency was believed to have had the nod of the presidency, but invoking respect for institutional integrity, the DSS asked its former DG not to honour the invitation.
The source explained that the DSS in giving the directive to Ekpenyong, was asserting its independence, adding that the secret police reports solely to the presidency and not to any other agency.
He added that the investigation by EFCC is so far reaching that even the incumbent DG of DSS, Mallam Lawal Daura, might be the real target.
He further explained that the position of the DSS was predicated on the “sensitivity of its expenses and operations”.
Citing the global practice of the intelligence community, the source said that there were also very “expensive things” involved.
For instance, the source said that one of the items of equipment involved had a maintenance contract running into billions of naira, saying that Ekpeyong, who left office more than two years ago, had been internally investigated at home and abroad by the DSS as part of its internal routine without any indictment.
Besides, intelligence sources close to the committee, which investigated arms procurement by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, said that the ex-DSS boss was never invited for questioning on the purchase of any item for the DSS.
“The hierarchy as well as the rank and file of DSS believe that their bosses are about to be humiliated by the EFCC as revenge for blocking the confirmation of Mallam Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the anti-graft agency by the Senate with a security report.
“This was reflected in the mood of the operatives of both agencies in the stand-off at the residence of Mr. Ekpeyong,” an intelligence official disclosed.
Another government source said that the EFCC got the green light for the arrest of the former DG of DSS from the presidency, referring THISDAY to the statement by the president’s media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, when he said that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the EFCC to investigate the former NIA chief, over the cash discovered in a private apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Following the recent sack of Oke, THISDAY gathered that the EFCC made a second attempt to arrest him at his Asokoro residence Tuesday but the move was also thwarted by the DSS.