By Ignatius Okorocha
To address the recurring rivalry among security agencies in Nigeria, the Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter.
The Senate said that because the matter was ridiculing the country at the international level, the security agencies must obtain the consent of Buhari and the National Security Adviser (NSA) before it carry out arrest of Nigerians in sensitive positions.
The resolution was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Investigation of Arrest Episodes of Tuesday 21, November, 2017 among officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), and Department of State Services (DSS).
There was a security threat on that day following the face- off amongst the EFCC, DSS and NIA officials over the attempt of the EFCC to arrest the former Director-General of the DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, and his NIA counterpart, Mr. Ayo Oke, in Abuja.
Presenting the report, the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Senator Francis A. Alimikhena (APC, Edo North), said: a�?Though the EFCC acted within the ambit of the law by obtaining all the relevant search warrants from the court of law in a bid to arrest these officers, it failed to obtain authorisation from the NSA or the President in accordance with Section 4 of National Security Agency Act, Cap 74 LFN 2004, before obtaining the search warrant.a�?
The report, according to Alimikhena, who is also the deputy chief whip of the Senate, urged the EFCC to be cautious when dealing with sister agencies which operate undercover in order not to expose it to publicity that may undermine its integrity, adding that public altercations as witnessed among these agencies must not be allowed to recur.
The security agencies, the committee said must be properly guided against blanket investigations as these can jeopardise the nationa��s security operations and bring the country into disrepute before the international community.
This is just as the Senate resolved that it would join the House of Representatives to initiate the amendment of a�?a��National Security Agencies Act Cap N74 LFN 2010a��a�� with a view to giving powers of co-ordination on national security over these agencies on behalf of the President.
The Senate warned that henceforth, the search and arrest operation that may be conducted on these agencies must first have presidential approval as it must also be done in a discreet manner rather than in full public glare.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said: a�?It was not in the interest of the security of the country for us to see this kind of unhealthy inter-agency rivalry; these are agencies that need one another.
a�?The issue of our security is of great concern. We charge these agencies to await the intervention of the President. As professionals, they should be able to rise above their individual differences,a�? he said.
By Ignatius Okorocha