By Omoniyi Salaudeen
Nigerians from all walks of life have been reacting to the recent clash between the DSS and EFCC. In this interview, a renowned legal practitioner, Yusuf Ali (SAN), described the scenario as laughable and urged the president to immediately call heads of security outfits to order to forestall future occurrence that could lead to a disaster.
How would you react to the clash between the Department of State Security (DSS) and the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)?
A very serious matter is just being made to look as if it is a joke. It is now becoming a tit-for-tat. It is laughable that two important security outfits as EFCC and DSS could turn our space to a tit-for-tat relationship. In a normal setting, you don’t need any debate to know that when there is an issue between two security agencies, there are procedures that you have to follow. There is no need for any show of power at all. But this one is becoming like a power show. And it is quite unfortunate. I think it is high time the president called all these security outfits to order. People must understand their mandates and what they can do and what they cannot do.
But a former Director of DSS said that the act establishing the DSS does not give any individual or agency power to investigate the operatives except the president. What is the position of the law on this?
It doesn’t matter what the law says. The issue is more fundamental than the question of what the law says. For example, if you want to do something with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), because he is a sitting person, you don’t just invade his house and say you want to do this or that. I think people should first of all understand their mandates, understand the procedures, and let them create confidence in the minds of the citizens. I don’t want to join the controversy as to whether or not the EFCC has the power to investigate. It is beyond that. There should be some level of appreciation of the sensitive positions the heads of these agencies are holding. I can’t imagine what would have happened, if they started to shoot each other. Innocent bystanders or people who were going about their legitimate businesses would have become victims of exchange of bullets.
Could this be described as impunity?
Anybody who loves Nigeria will not like impunity of any type.
Who can we accuse of acting with impunity here?
There is no security agency in Nigeria that does not act on impunity. None! All of them are used to impunity. Court will give an order, they won’t obey it. They do what they like. The chicken will come home to roast. The leadership is the problem. It is better for all of us to follow the rule of law. Let us do things in accordance with the rule of law. It may take some time, but we will do it properly. It is unfortunate that everybody is doing what he likes. Like I said, the buck stops on the president’s table. Let him call the agencies to order.