- EFCC quizzes, releases ex-DG, SSS, Ekpenyong
- Seiyefa promises to review illegal detentions, rights abuse
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has submitted to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, an interim report on former Director-General of State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Lawal Daura, who was dismissed on Tuesday over the siege to the National Assembly by hooded operatives from the secret service.
The interim report, a copy of which THISDAY sighted, made its way to the acting president, just as unconfirmed news had it that Daura might have been released but his passport seized as further investigations were still being conducted by the police.
More troubles, however, seem to be in the offing for the former secret service chief, as his predecessor, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, was arrested thursday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to through more light on his stewardship as well as clarify the finances of the service he handed over to Daura.
Daura was dismissed on Tuesday by Osinbajo, who directed a thorough investigation into the incidence the acting president said was an unacceptable assault on the rule of law.
In a memo dated August 8, 2018 with reference number: CR:3000/IGP-SEC/ABJ/VOL 131/782, addressed to the acting president, the police boss apprehended Daura as the mastermind of the siege to the National Assembly, suggesting that he might have acted the script of ‘’some highly placed politicians to achieve selfish political goals, hence his unilateral and unlawful decision to invade the National Assembly.’’
The IG confirmed in his memo that Daura was still undergoing further interrogation at the police facility and was currently placed on house arrest at a private property in Abuja, while awaiting further directive from the acting president.
Stating the due process in the investigation, Idris said that following a petition letter no. OVP/SGF/7818/381, dated August 7, 2018 from the presidency to investigate and report findings against Daura, a team of cracked operatives headed by Commissioner of Police, CP Garba Baba Umar, were deployed to respond immediately and take Daura into custody for interrogation and further investigation.
Idris said Daura, in his statement, confessed and accepted to have deployed operatives of DSS, claiming he got intelligence report that unauthorised persons were planning to smuggle undisclosed dangerous weapons and incriminating items into the National Assembly complex.
‘’He did not inform the Acting President, neither did he share the information with the Nigeria Police Force or other sister security agencies,’’ the interim report stated.
According to the report, ‘’So many distinguished senators, Honourable members and staff of the National Assembly, who wanted access to the National Assembly complex, suffered humiliation, intimidation and were forcefully chased out of the Assembly complex at gun point by operatives of the State Security Service wearing hoods and masks.’’
The report said, the DSS operatives acted like mercenaries, hired to carry out executions. ‘’The claim of purported intelligence report by the suspect cannot be substantiated as the personnel deployed were not EOD experts or specialists in this regard,’’ it stated.
The IG said all communication gadgets, such as phone and other electronics devices of the suspect (Daura) would be thoroughly analysed to get to the root of the matter, promising to also search houses and premises of identified suspects.
EFCC quizzes, releases ex-DG, SSS, Ekpenyong
Meanwhile, the EFCC yesterday raided the residence of Daura’s predecessor, Ekpenyong, arresting and detaining him briefly.
He was, however, reportedly released later yesterday after interrogation by the operatives of the anti-graft agency.
The Head, Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed to THISDAY in Abuja yesterday that Ekpenyong had been arrested by the operatives of the anti-graft agency, did not give details of his alleged infractions.
“Yes our men went to his house to search and interrogate him,” Uwujaren said.
A source, however, said Ekpenyong’s arrest was in connection with the huge fund alleged to have been released to the SSS and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
The money, the source stated, was not fully utilised and Ekpenyong was said to have left behind over N17 billion, which his successor, Daura, could not account for.
Meanwhile, the security agencies are said to be investigating Daura over the huge fund.
THISDAY gathered that the sacked DG was released on Wednesday night, where he was placed on house arrest – after interrogation, since the acting president ordered his dismissal.
The police could, however, not confirm his release yesterday, as calls and a text message by THISDAY to the phone of the Force Public Relations Office, ACP Moshood Jimoh, were not returned.
The Presidency had asked Daura to be remanded in custody, following allegation that he might have committed serious crimes, which bothered on national security.
Seiyefa Promises to Review Illegal detentions, Rights Abuse
Moving away from the impunity of his sacked predecessor, Daura, the Acting Director-General (DG) of the SSS, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa, said yesterday that the service would review all cases of alleged illegal detentions and human rights violations by the intelligence gathering service.
Seiyefa, who was appointed Tuesday by Osinbajo, after terminating the appointment of Daura, for unauthorised deployment of the security operatives to lay siege to the National Assembly complex, disclosed this during his maiden press conference in Abuja.
He added that the service would remain focused and professional in in the discharge of its mandate in the national interest.
According to the spymaster, “We are reviewing all issues that have brought about unhealthy perceptions about the service in recent times, including detentions and perceived human rights abuses.
“We will respect the rights of groups or individuals as long as they are legitimate. We will work on the basis of our core roles and mandate, which are the detection and prevention of threats against the internal security of Nigeria.’’
He said the service would not tolerate the abuse of freedom of Nigerians, saying however that members of DSS will neither be intimidated nor cowed in the discharge of their mandate.
Promising to promote and protect the national interests and not individual or sectional agenda, Mr Seiyefa explained that the service would do its best to diffuse the perception about it, adding that it was critical to the security architecture of the country.
He vowed to redouble the service’s efforts to improve on intelligence gathering and analysis — to guide policy formulation and security management and partner with other security agencies and relevant stakeholders in the country to provide security to the citizenry.
Speaking on the continued detention of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), Mr Seiyefa said it was early to make any definite decision as he was still studying cases before him.
He, however, said that the service would work closely with the media to project the activities of the service, promising that the appointment of a spokesperson for the service was under “active consideration”.
He added, “The issue of having a spokesperson to respond to media inquiries is under active consideration.’’