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We’ll arrest ex-bosses of NIA, DSS, Magu says

Two former bosses of Nigeria’s intelligence agencies who resisted their arrest lately will be picked up in the coming days, the head of the anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu vowed yesterday.

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Former Director-General of the Department of State Services, Ita Ekpeyong and a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke had refused to report for questioning over corruption allegations, the anti-graft agency said.

Ekpeyong who headed the DSS from 2010 to 2015, was alleged by  the EFCC to be involved in the billions of naira arms scam in the office of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

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The EFCC said other service chiefs from that period had since been charged to court for the same offence but that Mr. Ekpeyong has refused to turn himself in for questioning.

Similarly, Mr. Oke who was recently sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly stashing away N13bn in a house in Ikoyi, had for over three weeks failed to respond to EFCC summons, the anti-graft agency said.

Efforts to arrest them at their highbrow residences in Asokoro by EFCC agents were blocked by DSS guards. After a standoff that lasted for over ten hours yesterday the EFCC agents withdrew from Mr. Ekpeyong’s house. 

However, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, told reporters yesterday that the former top intelligence officers will be arrested as planned.

He spoke at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday after attending the inauguration of the audit committee on the recovery and management of stolen assets by President Buhari.

Magu said the anti-corruption agency had concrete evidence against Ekpeyong and Oke, and that there is no going back on the plan to apprehend them.

“There must be reasons, strong reasons before we go for an arrest.” 

Asked if he was discouraged by the failure to arrest them, he said “Never, Never; I am not discouraged at all; rather, it energises me to do more and I am telling you, nobody is above the law.  

“We are not discouraged at all. The law must take its course, nobody is above the law.

Senate orders investigation  

The Senate yesterday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to probe the incidents. 

This was sequel to a point of order raised by Senator Dino Melaye (APC,Kogi). 

Melaye described the clash as a national embarrassment and a recipe for disaster and called on the President to intervene.

“We have been embarrassed before the international community. That two sister agencies will engage in a fisticuff; arrest and stoppage of arrests. Mr. President, this is a recipe for national disaster,” he said.

 Contributing, the Deputy Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi(Ekiti PDP) called on President Buhari to be up and doing. 

“Right now, we have a situation whereby nobody is in charge of anything and we cannot honestly blame anyone for what is happening. The truth is that you cannot go to the house of a security agent, a man who had kept the secrets of Nigeria for so long and just try to arrest him like chicken.

“Mr. President, there has to be someone that we can hold responsible when two brothers are fighting. The person that is supposed to be held responsible has not done anything, is not doing his work. 

“This is the first time we’ll see gross irresponsibility in government whereby there is no arbiter; no one to come in between two agencies that belong to only one person. The two agencies report to one person, the Presidency and now we find them fighting on the pages of the newspapers, it’s a shame,” he said.

But the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan cautioned his colleagues against apportioning blames and called for a thorough investigation of the matter.  

“It is one rare motion brought by Sen. Dino Melaye. I support that position. But let me say this, President Muhamadu Buhari is in full control of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 ”Even when Mr. President was away to attend to his health, the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo was in full control. The statement by our colleague is unacceptable.

“This senate is highest lawmaking body in Nigeria. I would urge us to calm down especially the opposition, as it appears rather here nor there. Let there be an investigation before we apportion any blame,” he said.

 In his remark, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki aligned himself to the position of the Senate leader on the matter. 

“Leader has said it all. Anything we are adding now is just assumption. Let us take the prayer. The ad-hoc committee will report back in two weeks,” he said.

Members of the committee would be named today.

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