The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has demanded a comprehensive investigation by the National Assembly into allegations that the Department of State Services (DSS) clandestinely removed case files implicating President Bola Tinubu and his associates from the custody of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
In a statement issued by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the civil rights advocacy group called for the identification, public disclosure, dismissal, and prosecution of individuals involved in the alleged criminal and undemocratic actions. The statement emphasized the need for the implicated officers, who are reportedly part of intelligence agencies such as the DSS, Department of State Services, National Intelligence Agency, and Defence Intelligence Agency, to be held accountable if the allegations are found to be credible and substantiated.
HURIWA acknowledged that the initial report regarding these allegations came from a controversial online news outlet. However, as the agencies mentioned in the report have neither denied nor confirmed the allegations after several hours, HURIWA insists on a thorough investigation to ascertain the veracity of the claims. If the allegations are proven to be true, the group asserts that those involved should face legal consequences, emphasizing the importance of upholding the rule of law in Nigeria.
Additionally, HURIWA demanded that if the allegations are substantiated, there should be an immediate call for the removal of the Director General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi. The group argues that retaining Bichi while other service chiefs and heads of security agencies were retired last month raises suspicions of an alleged attempt by the current administration to shield certain individuals with pending corruption cases from scrutiny.
According to a report by Sahara Reporters, the DSS allegedly removed incriminating files related to President Bola Tinubu and his close associates from the CCB and ICPC. The secret police reportedly instructed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to avoid political cases for the time being.
In a separate incident, immediately after Tinubu’s inauguration, the DSS allegedly raided the EFCC office in Lagos under the pretense of recovering a property that housed hundreds of exhibits for ongoing investigations.
Tinubu has faced legal proceedings in the past, with his arraignment before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in September 2011 on charges of operating foreign bank accounts while serving as the governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007, which contravened the constitution. Although the case was dismissed in 2011, it was later reopened in 2016.