Officials of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Tuesday morning prevented officials of the anti-graft agency, EFCC, from gaining access to the latter’s Lagos headquarters in Ikoyi, Lagos.
As of the time of this report, all the EFCC officials at the office in Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, were prevented from accessing the building by DSS officials, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
“They even placed an armoured tank just to scare us away,” one EFCC official told this newspaper.
PREMIUM TIMES later learnt that two armoured vehicles were actually placed by the DSS to essentially scare and deter the officials from the building. The armoured vehicles are believed to have been brought in in the early hours of Tuesday.
Sources in both agencies said there has been an ongoing controversy between both agencies over the ownership of the building on 15A, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
However, the building was shared by both agencies up until yesterday when EFCC officials who were present closed from work. None of them, including those who observed Monday’s public holiday, expected to witness what they met on Tuesday.
The EFCC was yet to speak about the incident as of the time of this report. Its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, did not return calls or reply a message by this reporter.
However, DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya told PREMIUM TIMES that his agency was the rightful owner of the building.
He claimed that the agency did not bar EFCC officials from entry on Tuesday but said the building belonged to the DSS.
“It is not correct that the DSS barricaded Efcc from entering its office. No. It is not true,” he wrote in a statement sent in response to our enquiry. “The Service is only occupying its own facility where it is carrying out its official and statutory responsibility.”
A source at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja told PREMIUM TIMES that the DSS had about two weeks ago notified the anti-corruption agency of its plans to fully take over the building. However, none of the two agencies has officially confirmed this notification and EFCC officials at the Lagos office were not informed of such.
The Ikoyi building
Located in the highbrow Ikoyi area of Lagos, the building on 15A Awolowo Road serves as the Lagos head office of the EFCC. The office is headed by the zonal head of the EFCC in Lagos.
It is separate from the EFCC office in Okotie-Eboh, also in Ikoyi, which also houses the agency’s detention centre in Lagos.
However, even though the EFCC uses the Awolowo Road building as its Lagos head office, the DSS had always used part of the building for its operations until Tuesday morning when it appears to have taken full control.