The Senate was Wednesday thrown into commotion when Senator Biodun Olujimi accused President Muhammadu Buhari of not being in charge of affairs in the country while speaking about the stand-off between operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Services Commission (EFCC) over the attempted arrest of former Director-General of the DSS, Ita Ekpeyong, and recently sacked Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.
Olujimi’s comments were in response to a motion on the stand-off by Senator Dino Melaye.
Presenting the motion, Melaye called on the Senate to take urgent action on the incidents which he described as “recipe for national disaster”.
He said, “Mr. President, the media and the social media, print and electronics have been awash with a disaster that took place yesterday. The EFCC went to the residence of the former Director General of the SSS, Ita Ekpeyong, to effect an arrest and the Directorate of State Security stopped the EFCC from arresting him. That created environmental brouhaha. The whole environment and neighbours were stopped from lawfully gaining entrance into their homes because of this confusion.
“Same yesterday, the EFCC wanted to arrest the former DG NIA, Mr. Oke. Also, the officers of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency stopped that arrest. We are not here to say who is at blame. We have been embarrassed before the international community. That two sister agencies will engage in fisticuffs, arrest and stoppage of arrests. Mr. President, this is a recipe for national disaster.”
Speaking, Olujimi said “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. We are calling on the President, he has to sit up, he should be up and doing. Call these people to order.”
She also blamed the president for the absence of a substantive chair of the EFCC, saying, “Mr. President, you will remember that we rejected Magu as Chairman of EFCC and up till today nothing has been said about it. The Senate is divided. Nobody has come out to say we need to resolve the issue.
“After all, there are 170 million Nigerians, all of a sudden, we are saying only one person can do this job. Mr. President, something has to be done, the presidency has to be called to order. Nobody is in charge of this government. Nobody is in charge and somebody needs to be in charge.”
Olujimi’s statemen sent the upper chamber into a rowdy session as senators mostly argued along party lines.
The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, cautioned Olujimi against making careless statements, stating that Buhari was 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. It’s not right, it is wrong,” he said amidst a roar of ‘Yes’ from senators who raised their voices in support.
“My opinion about what happened is that, could it be that EFCC did not get the right kind of document to arrest those people?
“If they did, then the security agencies are wrong. Only the investigation would reveal this”, he added.
The senate resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the clashes involving the DSS, EFCC, and NIA over the arrest of Oke and Ekpeyong and to report its findings in two weeks.
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