The Senate ad hoc committee set up to investigate the November 21, 2017, showdown between officials of the Department of State Services and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Abuja began its investigative hearing on Thursday behind closed doors.
In attendance at the hearing were the Director General, Department of State Services, Mr. Lawal Daura; Acting Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu; and Acting Director General, NIA, Mr. Mohammed Dauda.
Daura, Magu and Dauda, who were at the venue long before members of the committee arrived and sat far apart, did not greet one another.
Magu was accompanied by officials of the EFCC deployed for the attempted arrest of the immediate past Director General of the DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong; and a former Director General, NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, on November 21, who were prevented by the DSS operatives.
The Chairman of the committee, Francis Alimikhena, after his opening remarks at the hearing on EFCC/DSS clash, asked if any of the heads of the agencies in attendance had any observations or questions.
The NIA and EFCC bosses said they had none but the DSS boss asked that the hearing be conducted in camera.
Daura said, “I will like to seek or ask the distinguished committee whether our testimonies will not be given in the presence of the press.”
Alimikhena agreed with the DSS boss, saying, “The Senate and indeed Nigeria want settlement and more cooperation between the three security agencies of this country. So, we will do all that is possible to make you feel comfortable to air your views.”
A member of the committee, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption, Chukwuka Utazi, also called for a closed-door session.
Other members of the panel, Shaaba Lafiagi and Fatima Raji-Rasaki, unanimously agreed to conduct the hearing behind closed doors, after which journalists left the Room 022 venue.
The Senate had on November 23 set up the panel to probe into the clash between operatives of the DSS and the EFCC for over 13 hours on November 1, when the operatives of the commission stormed Ekpenyong’s home to effect his arrest but were resisted by the operatives of the service.