President Bola Tinubu has assured his processor, Muhammadu Buhari, that he and his close aides will be spared in any anti-corruption war his government engages in, SaharaReporters can report.
SaharaReporters learnt on Tuesday that this was discussed during the meeting between Tinubu and Buhari in London, United Kingdom, on Monday night.
The President’s assurance to his predecessor comes amid repeated and ongoing moves by the secret police, the Department of State Services, to place a lid on further investigation of politically exposed persons by the anti-corruption body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Already, the DSS has carried out raids on EFCC offices in Lagos and Abuja, carting away sensitive files, documents and flash drives on investigations into alleged fraudulent activities of former governors, senators and ministers, SaharaReporters earlier reported.
SaharaReporters earlier reported that President Bola Tinubu returned to Nigeria on Tuesday ahead of Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, after spending a week in Europe.
The President departed Nigeria on June 20 to participate in the two-day New Global Financial Pact Summit, held in Paris, France.
Tinubu, who was initially scheduled to be back in Abuja on Saturday, proceeded to London, United Kingdom, for a “short private visit.”
On Monday night, Tinubu met with former President Buhari.
However, sources told SaharaReporters that part of what formed the subject of their discussion was an agreement that Buhari and his close aides would not be bothered by any probe or anti-corruption war during Tinubu’s tenure.
“Tinubu met Buhari to reportedly discuss that Buhari and his close aides will not be bothered with any ‘corruption war,’” a source told SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
SaharaReporters earlier on Tuesday reported that the DSS told the anti-corruption body EFCC to steer clear of political cases for now.
Sources told SaharaReporters on Tuesday that the recent raid on EFCC offices – first in Ikoyi, Lagos and later in Abuja – were more political than they were made to look.
“The DSS has told EFCC to concentrate on non-political cases for now,” a security source told SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
SaharaReporters also learnt that during the raids, DSS operatives carted away files and flash drives containing sensitive information about former governors, ministers and senators under investigation.
“During the secret raid of EFCC offices in Abuja and Lagos, the DSS carted away files and flash disks of ex-governors, senators and ministers under investigation,” one of the sources said.
On Sunday, June 18, 2023, SaharaReporters exclusively reported that the DSS raided the headquarters of its sister agency, EFCC on Friday night, June 16.
It was reported that the raid lasted till early Saturday morning.
The action was undertaken under the cover of the night to prevent the public from knowing about it, it was learnt.
EFCC personnel were also instructed not to mention anything concerning the raid to members of the public.
An insider had told SaharaReporters at the time that the DSS was working in the interest of someone “very important” to President Bola Tinubu.
However, another source said it might be linked to the recent closure of the EFCC office in Ikoyi, Lagos by the DSS.
“I heard the raid and partisanship of the DSS was the reason why they raised an alarm yesterday (Saturday) that some of their disgruntled officers are planning to shame the agency and embarrass the leadership,” the source said.
Some of the investigators handling the case of former Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle were to be summoned by the DSS for interrogation, it was further learnt.
“That is actually intimidation, symptomatic of what former Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami did during Ibrahim Magu’s time as EFCC chairman to get several suspects off the hook,” one of the sources had said.
It was revealed that Matawalle was being investigated by the EFCC in two separate cases.
One of them is a case involving his private company which got money from the National Security Adviser’s office without executing the contract, which was investigated under the chairmanship of Magu. The other case involves the alleged fraud committed by Matawalle while in office.
Someone close to President Bola Tinubu also informed our reporter that the president was aware of the moves being made by the former governor to stop the anti-corruption body from probing him, which includes obtaining court orders to restrain the commission and other agencies from carrying out their investigations.
It must be noted that President Tinubu recently suspended Bawa from office indefinitely.
In the June 18 report, SaharaReporters noted that it was not clear what the agenda of Tinubu and the DSS were regarding the detention of Bawa and the carting away of sensitive documents relating to the commission’s investigations.
But revelations made by sources on Tuesday showed that the raids were political with the carting away of files and flash drives related to the probe of former governors, senators and ministers.
Last month, operatives of the DSS stormed the Lagos office of the EFCC, preventing officials of the anti-graft agency from gaining access to their office in Ikoyi.
SaharaReporters learnt from top sources in both agencies that hundreds of EFCC personnel were locked out of office due to what was widely believed to be centred on office ownership disagreements.
“The EFCC officers are shocked; they have been using the building for more than 20 years. Several suspects are there and there are fears that some might have been illegally released,” a top source had said.
President Tinubu later ordered the DSS to vacate the EFCC office immediately, saying if there were issues between the “two important agencies of government”, they should be resolved amicably.
Reacting to the incident, the EFCC in a statement on its official Facebook page described the siege as shocking, saying it had wider implications for Nigeria’s fight against economic and financial crimes.
“The operatives of the Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrived at their office on No. 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, this morning, May 30, 2023, to be denied entry by agents of the Department of State Services, DSS, who had barricaded the entrance with armoured personnel carriers.
“This development is strange to the Commission given that we have cohabited with the DSS in that facility for 20 years without incident.
“By denying operatives access to their offices, the Commission’s operations at its largest hub with over 500 personnel, hundreds of exhibits, and many suspects in detention have been disrupted.
“Cases scheduled for court hearing today have been aborted, while many suspects who had been invited for questioning are left unattended.
“Even more alarming is that suspects in detention are left without care with grave implications for their rights as inmates.
“All of these have wider implications for the nation’s fight against economic and financial crimes.
“The siege is inconsistent with the synergy expected of agencies working for the same government and nation, especially when there are ongoing discussions on the matter,” the statement read.