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Binance Executive’s Escape From Custody An Embarrassment To Nigeria, Says Former DSS Director Ejiofor

Former DSS Boss Mike Ejiofor says many questions are yet to be answered regarding Binance Executive Anjarwalla’s escape.

The former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor has stated that the escape of Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla from custody has sparked national and international concern, casting a shadow of embarrassment over Nigeria’s image.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday, Ejiofor while expressing skepticism, said the incident occurred either as a result of negligence or compromise. He also questioned the decision to keep the suspect in the custody of the NSA and not the EFCC.

“Honestly, this is a national, if not international embarrassment for our own image as a country. It raises a lot of questions. Who was prosecuting the executives, EFCC of course and he should have been in the custody of the EFCC, so why the custody of the NSA? Does the NSA have facilities to keep suspects? A lot of questions really. So, I have come to the conclusion that it is either gross negligence on part of the part of the officers on duty or compromise.

“But, more likely, it is the issue of compromise. Somebody in custody ordinarily, shouldn’t have come in with lots of materials. You are given basic amenities in custody. So, how did they now have access to go to the mosque to go and pray? Somebody who is in custody? Where was he kept? A lot of questions have been left unanswered.

“Now the reason I said the issue of compromise is more likely is that, if he went to pray and absconded, the people on duty should have raised the alarm that we cannot find this man because he cannot just move out of custody, straight to the airport.

“So, the period with which he escaped and it was noticed, he must have gone to his house to pack his things and possibly have access to another passport that was not in the knowledge of the security agencies. So, compromise is more likely than negligence.”

He however commended the NSA for swiftly issuing a statement and initiating an investigation, but said the escape has raised broader concerns about the accountability of security agencies.

“But I am also happy the office of the national security adviser came up with a statement instead of allowing people to speculate because it would have been worse when social media and other people begin to speculate.

“They must be commended at least for issuing a statement and owning up to their own negligence and the issue like they said is being investigated and it must be thoroughly investigated to know the circumstances surrounding his escape or release. The issue of illegal detention does not justify his escape.”

The DSS boss also stated that the executive’s escape has exposed apparent lapses in security procedures.  He also criticized the decision to house the suspect in a guest house, saying it “goes against all known procedures and practice.”

He said if the case was handled by the State Security Services, Anjarwalla’s name would have been placed on watchlist, which will make it difficult for him to leave the country via the airport.

“The state security service places suspects on watch list and it is unless you make a request or the case is being handled or investigated by the SSS, you don’t just place or put people on watch list. So, if the NSA had contacted the SSS that this man is being investigated, they would place him on watchlist but it would have been a different thing.

“This man travelled through the normal route from the information we have. Investigation will reveal if he actually traveled as being alleged through a middle east airline and if that is the case and it has been confirmed that he traveled through the airport, then there are lapses.

“That is why I am saying it is a compromise. It must have been arranged if he was to escape. They made such an arrangement and allowed him to travel on his passport. Was it not in the knowledge of those he was in their custody that he had two passports? The two passports would have been impounded.

“So, there are lots of issues to be investigated and I think the earlier the NSA does that, the better. Efforts must be made to bring him back to face trial. That’s the most important thing because if you see the enormity of the crimes he allegedly committed, affecting our economy and so on, the man must be brought to trial.

“This issue is shrouded in a lot of controversy and mystery that the office of the NSA is now investigating the case. It goes against all known procedures and practices. He must be brought back., like the office of the NSA and the federal government has announced that they are liaising with the Interpol to ensure his rearrest. As we speak, nobody has heard of him, nobody knows where he is, he hasn’t made a statement but I can tell you that with the collaborative power of agencies and the Interpol, I have the confidence that he would be rearrested”

Ejiofor emphasized the need for Nigerians to learn from past mistakes and ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.

“The problem with Nigeria is that we learn from our mistakes and there are no consequences for wrongdoings but in this case, the people are in custody and are being interrogated and I expected the people who are on duty now must be more vigilante and the remaining executive must be sent into proper custody either by sending him to the prosecuting agency which is the EFCC or the state security service custody because this sabotage is crime against the state.”

Chioma Kalu

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