About 72 hours after the change of leadership in the Department of State Services (DSS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arrested a former director-general of the DSS, Ita Ekpeyong. LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that operatives of the anti-graft agency arrived at Ekpeyong’s home at Number 46, Mamman Nadir Street, Asokoro before noon yesterday and took him away at about 3:30pm. An EFCC source who confirmed the arrest said Ekpeyong was taken into custody in connection with alleged misappropriation of N20 billion released from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the DSS during the Goodluck Jonathan administration for the 2015 general election. The source who did not want his name in print noted that EFCC arrested the former DSS boss in a bid to get information about unaccounted N17 billion left behind after the 2015 polls. EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, while confirming the search of Ekpenyong’s home, said the operatives went there to do the work that they were prevented from doing about ten months ago. Ekpeyong’s house, LEADERSHIP Friday recalls, was to be raided and searched sometime in November 2017, but the then DSS boss, Lawal Daura, prevented the security operation, a development which sparked a standoff that nearly turned fatal between DSS and EFCC operatives.
Lawal Daura was, however, fired as the director general of the DSS following a siege on the National Assembly by agents of the Service on Tuesday. The EFCC also accused Ekpeyong of being culpable in the arms purchase scandal during former President Jonathan’s administration. Meanwhile, there was a heavy presence of armed security men on both entrances to the street as well as by the house when leadership visited. Ekpeyong was the DG of the DSS between 2010 and 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari replaced him with Lawal Daura.
..DSS To Revisit Dasuki, Other’s Cases
Meanwhile,the acting director-general of DSS, Mathew Seiyifa, hinted yesterday that the Service will review the case of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, as well as other complaints of human rights violation against the DSS. The acting DG stated this in Abuja during his maiden press briefing where he reeled out his intended mode of operation. “The Service, under my watch, would respect and uphold the legitimate rights of all Nigerians without promoting the individual rights of any person above the interest of the country”, he stated.
Seiyifa also said the Service will improve on intelligence gathering and proper analysis in order to properly carry out his duties effectively.
On the need for proper partnership, the acting DSS DG pledged to collaborate with other security agencies, especially the EFCC in order to protect and preserve national interest.
“The service is ready to partner with all stakeholders to contain all forms of national threats in the country. The service would also protect its constitutional mandate as its reviews the issues which portray the DSS in a bad light,” Seiyifa explained.
He further stated that the Service has already initiated this collaboration, adding that he met with the leadership of the EFCC on Wednesday after taking over as the head of the Service.
He also added that while the DSS would ensure its best to protect the rights of the citizens, it would not tolerate the abuse of freedom of speech by any person.
While speaking on the political tension generated by the forthcoming 2019 elections, the DSS boss said the Service will not be intimidated or cowed in the discharge of its constitutional duties.
The DSS, under its former boss, Lawal Daura, had always come under attacks by Nigerians over alleged violation of human rights.
Dasuki’s continued detention, the raid of judges homes, alleged victimization of perceived enemies of the government and laying siege to the National Assembly were some of the issues raised against the secret police.
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