Binance: Anjarwalla’s escape, national embarrassment — Ex-DSS boss, Ejiofor

Former Director of the Department of State Services, DSS, Mike Ejiofor, has described the escape of Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, from custody as a national embarrassment to Nigeria.

Ejiofor, who stated this in an interview on Arise Television yesterday, said the incident occurred either as a result of negligence or compromise, questioning also the decision to keep the suspect in the custody of the NSA and not the EFCC.

He said:  “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 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,” he said.

The former DSS boss also stated that the executive’s escape has exposed apparent lapses in security procedures, adding that the decision to house the suspect in a guest house was against known procedures and practice.

He said if the case was handled by the DSS, Anjarwalla’s name would have been placed on watchlist to make it difficult for him to leave the country through the airport.

Ejiofor added:  “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.”

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