The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has stated that the dispute between the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) is counterproductive to the anti-corruption war in the country.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, by deputy director of SERAP, Timothy Adewale, the prevention the EFCC from arresting Ekpeyong of the DSS and Oke of the National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), is an obstruction of justice.
Charging President Muhammadu Buhari to act on the clash, Adewale said Buhari should order the leadership of the DSS and NIA to give way for the anti-corruption agencies to carry out their mandate without obstruction.
Adewale said, “The face-off between Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) officials and officials of the State Security Service, (SSS), and National Intelligence Agency, (NIA) as counter-productive to the fight against grand corruption.
“Preventing the arrest of a former director-general of the Department of State Services, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong; and a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, ambassador Ayo Oke so that they are unavailable to answer the charges of corruption against them amounts to abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
“It is patently contrary to Nigerian law and international standards such as the UN Convention against corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.
“Obstructing the work of anti-corruption agencies is a text-book case of interference with the orderly administration of law and justice, which can send a particularly damaging message that the government may not be truly committed to the fight against corruption.
Adewale cautioned that obstructing the operations of the anti-graft agencies would have a counterproductive effect on the whistle blower policy. He also noted that DSS’ and NIA’s action apparently indicates they have something to hide.
“This may in turn affect the government’s whistle-blower policy and discourage the public from coming forward and providing the authorities with useful evidence of grand corruption.
“By moving speedily to stop this kind of behaviour by the SSS and NIA officials, Buhari would be making clear that under his watch those accused of grand corruption would not be allowed to circumvent the law no matter their status in the society.
“Protecting suspected perpetrators from facing justice for corruption may suggest that officials of SSS and NIA are trying to cover up allegations of corruption against those involved.”
On Tuesday, the secret police prevented the anti-graft agency from arresting Ita Ekpeyong, former director-general of DSS, and Ayo Oke, sacked director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).