The chairman of Arewa Youth For Good Governance, Mal. Jibril Lawal Tafida has condemned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC’s desperate bid to rope in the immediate past Director-General of the Department of State Services, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, into the $2.1 billion arms scam, three years after leaving office.
The youth leader who spoke in reaction to the failed move by EFCC operatives to arrest him on Tuesday morning in Abuja, described the move as strange, despicable and an afterthought since Ekpenyong was never invited or questioned in relation to the arms probe.
Tafida was miffed at EFCC’s disregard for its autonomy and expressed shock over the unholy attempt by the anti-graft agency to drag its former DG into the arms scandal in 2017 when the Presidential Panel on the Arms probe, which started work in 2015, neither questioned him because he had nothing to do with the military procurement.
He pointed out: “EFCC had never before now invited or questioned the former DG on any criminal breach, only for its operatives to barge into his home, with a view to arresting him as a common criminal. “Ekpenyong had made it clear that the DSS under his watch had no role whatsoever to play in the arms purchase since it was not within its remit to acquire arms for the military.
“He maintained that: “It is apparent that the EFCC is either actuated by ulterior motives to intimidate and blackmail the DSS through orchestrated media trial or simply trying to dent the image of the Service and its personnel for reasons best known to them.”
Tafida added that: “The DSS played no role at all in the arms purchase and that is the truth. The DG served this country faithfully and transparently and since leaving office in 2015, nobody has had any reason to accuse him of taking anything that does not belong to him. “As a tradition, the DSS makes returns to the Presidency on March 1 every year on its operations and nothing done by the agency can, therefore, be hidden from the government.
“Even assuming that there are issues with DSS management, which the EFCC needed to investigate, the current DSS DG is there to answer to such matters without storming Ekpeyong,s home with guns in the wee hours of the day. ‘’The equipment that were procured to secure this country during his tenure are there with their papers and the vendors are known. So, nothing is hidden, he postulated.
Tafida cautious EFCC against using politics to clampdown on people who have diligently served Nigeria without any blemish, adding that: “he wont hesitate to mobilise youth to protest against the unjust and unwarranted barging of Ekpenyong’s privacy for just no cause.”
It will be recalled that but for the timely intervention of the men of the DSS, the EFCC would have whisked Ekpenyong away from his Asokoro home on Tuesday morning, citing his alleged involvement in arms deal, as reason for the dawn raid on his property. After the failed bid by its operatives to arrest Ekpenyong, the EFCC issued a statement complaining of being blocked by the DSS from carrying out its assignment