The unnecessary rivalry between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Services is condemnable and totally uncalled for. This war of supremacy which has been going on for over a year now came to limelight when the DSS issued two security reports signed by a Director in the agency indicting the Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu accusing him of corruption and other sundry allegations. The Nigerian Senate relied upon the security reports issued by the DSS to deny the confirmation of Magu as EFCC Chairman. The President instead of calling both men to order since they are both his appointees and also because they answer directly to him chose to side with Magu mandating him to continue in the office in an acting capacity even though lawyers, lawmakers, public affairs analysts and other stakeholders have given varying interpretations to the EFCC Act as to the legality or illegality of the President’s directive. The latest clash between the two agencies is the widely reported refusal of the DSS to allow the EFCC arrest it’s immediate past Director-General, Dr Ita Ekpeyong and also the recently sacked Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke,
What baffles me is the fact that two different agencies with unrelated duties and mandates could bicker and squabble publicly over issues which are yet to come to public light. Is there personal animus between Magu and Lawal Daura, Director-General of the DSS? If there are personal grievances, is it right for both of them to use the apparatus of state to settle personal scores? Why has the President not intervened to settle the rift between both men just as he did recently in the case between Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, and Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President? Is the non-intervention by the President due to the fact that Daura, the DG of the DSS is his nephew? These questions seem somewhat rhetorical as only 3 men have the answers to these questions- Daura, Magu and President Buhari and until such a time that they chose to reveal the answers to these questions, we will perpetually remain in the dark as to the truth of the whole matter.
Inter-agency rivalry most especially in the security sector is not limited to Nigeria alone as we also saw the rivalry between the FBI and the CIA in the US in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But it was not done in the crude form that we are witnessing between the DSS and the EFCC. The security agencies in the US chose to hoard information from one another so as to create the public perception that they were working optimally thereby placing them in a vantage position to receive a bigger budget from Congress. However, in Nigeria, it is nothing but a crude power play in order to satisfy the over-bloated egos of some power hungry officials.
It is fortuitous that the Nigerian Senate has risen up to the occasion by roundly condemning this show of shame by agencies which are supposed to be working for the interest of Nigerians. Both agencies should focus on their core mandates rather than engaging in trivialities. President Muhamadu Buhari should intervene lest he gives credence to allegations by the Opposition that he is not only weak and ineffective but also that he is not in control of the government. This rivalry is also capable of setting a wrong precedent which some unscrupulous government officials might want to emulate in the future. Finally, the intervention by the President would destroy the myth of a cabal existing in the President and pooh-pooh allegations of nepotism, tribalism, cronyism and clannishness which have dogged the President since his assumption of office in 2015.