Buhari buckles under pressure, Suspends SGF

Babchir Lawal

President Mohamed Buhari surprised pundits by coming hard on some of the musketeers in Aso Rock, Babchir Lawal and Ambassador Ayo Oke. Lawal was axed due to the long standing case of Grass cutting at the Internally Displaced Person’s, IDP, camp. It was gathered that the president was being blind shielded as to the true situation of things by those who would want to rule on his behalf and feed him false information. sources indicated that the rubbishing of the anti corruption war- the only program the APC government is clinging to-is beginning to worry the presidency. Critics have seen the war as lopsided, insisting that it is more of vendetta and opposition witch hunt than anti corruption war.
In a press release by the presidential image maker, Femi Adesina, the president was said to have suspended the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).The President has also directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigations.
In a related development, the President has ordered a full scale investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim.
The investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.
The President has also directed the suspension of the Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation.
A three-man Committee comprising the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the National Security Adviser, headed by the Vice President, is to conduct both investigations.
The Committee is to submit its report to the President within 14 days.
The most senior Permanent Secretary in the SGF’s office, and the most senior officer in the NIA, are to act, respectively, during the period of investigation.”
The IDP camp scandal has been the subject of an invitation by the Senate, for him to explain the circumstances under which N270 million was used to clear grass within the IDP camp. International donor agencies have been involved in the resettlement and welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons.Previously,President Muhammadu Buhari, had in January, written to the Senate clearing Lawal of wrong doings, which necessitated the summons by the senate Ad-hoc committee. Lawal snubbed the Senate, only later to accept the invitation for a later date. It was believed that the current volt-face of the presidency was because of the current flexing of muscles between the executive and the Senate on the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, who the Senate has rejected twice but who the presidency insists must be the chairman.It has resulted in the leadership of the Senate meeting with Buhari, where it was gathered that the current change of mind is part of shifting ground on the side of the Presidency, whose actions are being perceived more as dictatorial than Democratic. But it is unlikely to sway the Senators, who are said to be mulling the Supreme court option for the interpretation of whether it is mandatory for Magu to be cleared by the Senate. Vice President Osinbajo had insisted it is not necessary, since the constitution does not make it mandatory, while the act setting up the EFCC made it mandatory.
Another thing that may have influenced the decision was the Memo by Nasir El Rufai,the Kaduna state Governor. El Rufai has described Lawal as corrupt, arrogant and unfit to occupy his office-apparently a hit back on the one who is a stumbling block to his attempts to see the president in recent times.
The action of the President has sent jitters down the spine of the Dramatis Personae of the Osborne Towers saga, where N13.3 billion was found in flat 7b,. Allegations were that it was owned by the Minister of transport, Rotimi Amechi, an allegation that the Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike ballooned, insisting that it be returned to Rivers state while Amechi denied ownership. The National Intelligence Agency later claimed ownership, and now their boss ended up the fall guy, because, according to sources, he was trying to protect the real culprit.So much confusion has since surrounded that saga.
In recent times, the EFCC has been deep in discovering monies at strange and odd places. Last month, they discovered monies that were being ferried through the Kaduna Airport just before Magu’s screening by the senate. Since then, Nothing has been heard of it. And now the Osborn Towers, and Cemeteries. The frequencies and unlikely reasons made critics to allege that some of the monies may have been planted to boost the image of the body,since media trial is not strange to them, and not one legal conviction has been had since the anti corruption war started.

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