PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has directed the Department of State Services (DSS) to immediately vacate the Lagos office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The directive was disclosed in a statement released by Tinubu’s media aide, Tunde Rahman, on Tuesday, May 30.
The President said any issues between the two government agencies should be resolved amicably.
“President Bola Tinubu has directed the Department of State Security Service to immediately vacate the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Ikoyi, Lagos.
“The President gave the directive when reports that DSS officials stormed the EFCC office located on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on Tuesday, preventing officials of the anti-graft agency from accessing their workplace, was brought to his attention.
“The President said if there were issues between the two important agencies of government, they would be resolved amicably,” the statement said.
The ICIR reported that DSS operatives reportedly prevented staff of the EFCC from gaining access to their offices on Tuesday, May 30.
It was gathered that the EFCC and the DSS shared office spaces in the building at No. 15A Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.
According to reports, EFCC employees carried out their duties calmly on Monday, May 29, believing that the DSS agents were there to keep the peace during the inauguration.
However, they were surprised on Tuesday morning when the DSS officials prevented them from gaining access to the premises.
The DSS responded to the situation on its official Twitter page on Tuesday, claiming there is no rivalry between the Service and the anti-graft organisation.
In a statement signed by the spokesperson of the DSS, Peter Afunanya, the security agency said it did not stop EFCC staff from having access to their offices.
Rather, the DSS said the building in question belonged to it.
“It is not correct that the DSS barricaded EFCC from entering its office. No. It is not true. The Service is only occupying its own facility where it is carrying out its official and statutory responsibility.
“By the way, there is no controversy over No 15A Awolowo Road as being insinuated by the media. Did the EFCC tell you it is contesting the ownership of the building?
“I will be surprised if it is contesting the ownership. Awolowo Road was NSO headquarters. SSS/DSS started from there. It is a common knowledge. It is a historical fact. Check it out,” the statement said.
The DSS restated that there is no rivalry between it and the EFCC over and about anything.
“Please do not create any imaginary one. They are great partners working for the good of the nation. Dismiss any falsehood of a fight,” the DSS added.
In its reaction, the EFCC described the siege on its Lagos office by the DSS as shocking.
The EFCC claimed that the action of the DSS has wider implications for the nation’s fight against economic and financial crimes.
The EFCC’s reaction was contained in a statement signed by the Commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, on Tuesday.
“This development is strange to the Commission given that we have cohabited with the DSS in that facility for 20 years without incident.”
The anti-fraud commission said it had cohabited with the DSS in the same facility for 20 years without any fracas.
The EFCC said the siege is inconsistent with the synergy expected of agencies working for the same government and nation and noted that there are ongoing discussions on the matter.
Meanwhile, Channels TV reported that shots were fired within the premises during the altercation.
According to Channels TV, the shots appeared to have been fired in the air as a warning to journalists who had approached the locked gate of the premises to get close-up video shots.
In a video posted by Channels TV on its Twitter page, sounds of sporadic gunshot could be heard coming from within the premises of the building as a group of journalists stood outside the locked gate.