There was confusion on Tuesday morning at the Ikoyi, Lagos office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) prevented EFCC officials from accessing their offices.
Many of the EFCC officials were seen hanging outside around the premises, as it is yet unclear what prompted the DSS action
The officials of the heavily armed secret police reportedly blocked all access to the EFCC office denying staff and visitors entry into the premises located on No 15A Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, in what insiders say is the result of a long standing ownership claim.
It was gathered that the DSS operatives had arrived stationed themselves along the road on Monday, but the EFCC authorities had felt it was part of security measures put in place because of the May 29 inauguration activities.
However, when they resumed work on Monday at about 7:00am, they were surprise to see that the armed DSS had barricaded their premises, preventing them from accessing it, and that the refused to leave despite pleas by senior officials who assured them that the matter would be resolved at the management level.
An official of the EFCC who spoke to journalists on the condition of anonymity said the issue of ownership of the property has been long standing and has caused tension between the two agencies.
“There’s been a running battle between us and the DSS over who owns the office because the office was used by them before the EFCC came on board and it was handed over to us.
“But it’s been an administrative issue, and the matter is not in court and hasn’t caused any fracas before now.
“But we don’t understand why they have to block our office and deny our officials access when a new government just came in.”
Meanwhile, the DSS, in a statement by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, has denied that the operatives invaded the EFCC office.
Afunanya said the DSS was only occupying its own facility where it is carrying out its official and statutory responsibility.
“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,” the statement said.
“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.
“There is no rivalry between the Service 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,” he said.
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