The Department of State Services, DSS, on Tuesday partially returned some of its operatives who were withdrawn from the security team of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.Nine of the 15 operatives were withdrawn on Sunday, but four have now been asked to return to work.
This followed a series of interventions by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo who expressed concern over the growing tension in the polity.
Recall that we had reported that half of the DSS operatives attached to the senate president’s office were withdrawn on Sunday — the day police invited Saraki to answer questions over the Offa bank robbery of April 5, 2018 in which 33 persons, including pregnant women and 12 police officers.
However, we understand that the operatives withdrawn from the speaker of the house of representatives, Yakubu Dogara, are yet to return to their position.
Reacting to a report attributed to the DSS denying withdrawing its operatives, a member of the house of reps revealed that: “I can confirm to you that the DSS has withdrawn 50 percent of its security details attached to the speaker. If they say they didn’t withdraw them, the details that left were raptured?”
On Friday evening, Ibrahim Idris, the inspector-general of police, had informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his decision to invite Saraki for questioning as a “person of interest” in the probe of the Offa heist.
On getting wind of this, Lawal Shuaibu, deputy national chairman (north) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), swiftly sought audience with Osinbajo.
Osinbajo had been due to meet with the leadership of the nPDP bloc, to which Saraki and Dogara belong, on Monday.
Dogara was to lead a team of five to discuss the grievances of the bloc who claimed to have been marginsalised despite the role it played in helping APC win the 2015 presidential election.
After Shuaibu’s meeting, Osinbajo, according to presidency sources, also met with Buhari and expressed his worries that the efforts to reconcile the nPDP bloc might be compromised by the unfolding developments.
Osinbajo then met with Idris and Lawan Daura, the DSS director-general, on Monday over the unfolding political crisis.
We understand that the police were planning to also withdraw officers attached to Saraki, but the plan was shelved after the meeting.
It was also resolved that while Saraki is not above the law, he should be given the benefit of respect as the nation’s number three citizen and allowed to respond to the allegations in writing.
Osinbajo’s proposal was accepted and police later announced that Saraki would no longer have to report physically but should send a written response “within 48 hours”.