By Soni Daniel
The feud between the leadership of the Department of State Services, DSS, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, reached its crescendo yesterday morning as operatives of the former prevented the anti-graft agency from arresting its former Director-General, Ita Ekpenyong and former boss of National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ayodele Oke.
It was learned that EFCC operatives had laid ambush around Ekpenyong’s home at Number 46 Mamman Nasir, in the highbrow area of Asokoro, as early as 6 am to pick him up to answer questions on what he knows about the amount of money the agency collected from the office of the embattled National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki retd, just before the 2015 poll.
But the operatives, armed with search and arrest warrants, were turned back by DSS operatives attached to Ekpenyong.
Vanguard learned that although the number of DSS operatives attached to the ex-DG’s home was not as many as those of the EFCC, who were about to arrest him, the DSS called for reinforcement from its headquarters.
A source present at the scene said no fewer than 30 well armed DSS operatives were dispatched from the DSS headquarters in Abuja to tackle the EFCC operatives and block them from taking their former DG away.
The source said: “Officers of the Department of State Services, DSS, today thwarted the attempt by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to arrest a former Director General of the agency, Mr. Ekpeyong Ita, who is being investigated.
“Detectives of the EFCC, armed with both arrest and search warrants, had stormed the 46 Mamman Nasir, Asokoro, Abuja residence of the former DG at about 6am today (yesterday) but were prevented from gaining entry by armed guards from the DSS.
“Shortly after the EFCC operatives arrived, the DSS reinforced its security presence at the property with the deployment of 30 armed operatives.
“The refusal of the DSS operatives to allow the EFCC execute valid search and arrest warrants is considered worrisome.
“I don’t know whether it is within their brief to prevent a law enforcement agency from executing arrest or search warrant on a property belonging to a retired staff of the agency.
‘’The suspect in question is not a serving officer of the DSS, which makes this action particularly reprehensible,” the EFCC source said.
It was learned last night that President Muhammadu Buhari would step into the matter and rein in the DSS to enable the EFCC bring Ekpenyong to account for his actions while in office.
Besides, operatives of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, NIA, also blocked the EFCC from arresting former DG of the agency, Amb. Ayodele Oke, who was sacked last month by President Buhari, after over $43 million was found in an Ikoyi apartment, which is believed to belong to his wife.
A source said the former NIA Director-General refused to submit himself to the EFCC for arrest because he had honoured their previous invitation before.
On the part of the NIA boss, Vanguard learnt from a source close to DSS, who said: ‘’Shortly after the DG was suspended, the President set up a committee headed by Babagana Kingibe to probe all the DG’s activities while in office and that committee is to report directly to the President. The committee has not completed its job, so the EFCC should wait until this is over.
”Besides, the current DG is still debriefing his predecessor on his activities while in office.”
But the EFCC was silent on the blockade of its officers and men at the entrance of Oke’s home, also in Asokoro.
‘The blockade notwithstanding, the EFCC has vowed to take necessary steps to bring the two men to justice.