OrderPaperToday – Senators on Thursday took turns to criticise inter-agency rivalry between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS), and National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
The Senators described the situation as embarrassing to the image of the country and aiding the current spate of insecurity across the country.
Various Senators made their remarks following the consideration of the report of the Ad-hoc Committee on “the investigation of arrest episodes of Tuesday 21st November, 2017 between Officers of the EFCC, NIA, and DSS.”
Recall that last November, operatives of the DSS and NIA reportedly botched an attempt to arrest their former Directors-General, Ita Ekpeyong and Ayo Oke respectively by agents of the EFCC, a situation which led to a shameful show of force that ruptured the peace of the neighbourhoods where the incidents took place. The red chamber had swiftly set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the matter.
The Ad-hoc Committee in its report today observed that there is acrimony between the Chief Executive Officers of the agencies.
According to the Chairman, Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo),“the Committee had to conduct hearings in camera and hold separate meetings with the security agencies. This lack of cooperation and cohesion is reflected at a secondary level with the EFCC and NSA belonging to one group while the NIA and DSS belong to another group, with no espirit de corps between the two groups.”
Contributing to the debate, the mover of the motion that led to the setting up of the Ad-hoc Committee, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi) said that while rivalries are permissible in other spheres of life, such conflicts between security agencies is embarrassing and responsible for insecurity in the country.
“There is international embarrassment as a result of the discordant tunes being sung by different security agencies in this country. Politicians can have disagreements but it is sacrilegious, abominable and unacceptable for sister security agencies to be at war with each other.
“The negative concomitant effect is the insecurity we have in this country. The problem of herdsmen, killings, kidnappings, and terrorism can never be resolved except there is cooperation among sister security agencies,” he said.
Also speaking, Senator Joshua Lidani (PDP, Gombe) called on the President to “wield the big stick” as the face-off between security agencies is “creating an image problem for the country”.
Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) in his remarks also urged the President to call the agencies to order as their rivalry is negatively affecting the security of lives and properties.
His words: “The country has suffered enough, bloodshed in every part of the country. Security agencies must be conscious of the need to work together for the betterment of the country. Personalities that man these agencies are involved in fighting against each other and at the end of the day, the criminals, the violence, the killings continue”
The Senate accordingly resolved that the EFCC when dealing with sister agencies that are clandestine in nature must conduct its activities with minimum publicity in order to retain the integrity of the institutions.
The upper chamber also stressed that public altercations as witnessed between the agencies must not occur again while calling on the President to intervene in the matter.
Furthermore, the Senate resolved that security agencies must be properly guided against blanket investigations as it can jeopardize security operations and bring the country into disrepute both locally and internationally.