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Post Tinubu Inauguration: Tensions Flare Between Security Agencies as DSS Invades EFCC Office In Lagos

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LAGOS, Nigeria — A startling showdown between two of Nigeria’s foremost security agencies has occurred less than 24 hours after the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu, the country’s 16th leader, shedding light on an inter-agency rivalry that threatens national security operations.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused the Department of State Security Services (DSS) of barricading its Lagos office, disrupting normal operations and inhibiting its fight against economic and financial crimes.

Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson for the EFCC, described Wednesday’s scene as “shocking,” saying that DSS operatives “denied entry” to EFCC officials at their shared office on 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, where they have cohabited “without incident” for 20 years.

“By denying operatives access to their offices, the Commission’s operations at its largest hub with over 500 personnel, hundreds of exhibits, and many suspects in detention have been disrupted,” Uwujaren said on Wednesday, May 30, 2023. “Cases scheduled for court hearing today have been aborted, while many suspects who had been invited for questioning are left unattended.”

On the other hand, the DSS through its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, refuted the EFCC’s claim, insisting it was not blocking the EFCC but merely “occupying its own facility where it is carrying out its official and statutory responsibility.”

Afunanya further dispelled any insinuations of a property dispute over the Awolowo Road facility. “Awolowo Road was NSO headquarters. SSS/DSS started from there. It is a common knowledge. It is a historical fact. Check it out,” he said.

“There is no rivalry between the Service and the EFCC over and about anything. They are great partners working for the good of the nation. Dismiss any falsehood of a fight,” Afunanya added.

This incident underscores the challenges President Tinubu faces in fostering cooperation among security agencies as he begins his tenure.

The future of Nigeria’s fight against economic and financial crimes seems to hinge not only on policy but also on the ability of these agencies to navigate their relationships and shared responsibilities.

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