President Muhammadu Buhari has finally sacked the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has studied the report of the panel headed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, which investigated allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir David Lawal, and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke.
“The President accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate the appointment of Mr. Lawal, and has appointed Mr. Boss Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The appointment takes immediate effect.”
“President Buhari also approved the recommendation to terminate the appointment of Ambassador Oke, and has further approved the setting up of a three-member panel to, among other things, look into the operational, technical and administrative structure of the Agency and make appropriate recommendations.”
Mustapha from Adamawa State is a lawyer, management consultant, politician and businessman.
Buhari had in June 2016 appointed him the Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority.
The President had on April 19 suspended the two government officials and constituted a three-man committee led by Osinbajo, to investigate them.
The panel investigated allegations of violations of law and due process made against Lawal in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East while it probed Oke on the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, for which NIA is laying claim.
The committee had the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, as members. (Punch)
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has written the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, demanding the release of the report of the panel that investigated corruption allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir Lawal.
The Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum, who also demanded the release of the report on the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Mr Ayo Oke, threatened to sue Osinbanjo if he failed to meet his demands and “act expeditiously on the report.”
The governor stated this in a July 11 letter received at the Acting President’s office on July 13.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose told the Acting President “never to harbour the view that the matter can be swept under the carpet.”
He added, “The government’s war against corruption lacked credibility and had, thus floundered because of the government perceived penchant for sweeping allegations of corruption against top functionaries of the federal government and members of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
“I dare to say that this is one of the reasons the so-called war against corruption has not attracted public support. It lacks credibility and has, thus floundered. It is also the reason your administration has lost case after case in the court of law, even though administration officials have tried to cover government’s Achilles heel as well as their own howling incompetence under the pretence of corruption fighting back,” the governor said.
Fayose, who commended Osinbajo for “yeoman efforts” to quell agitation all over the country and stabilising the polity, said he had refused to join those promoting disunity for their selfish interests, and decided to queue behind him to assist his noble efforts.
“… let all hands be on the deck to salvage our beloved country, take solace and receive renewed strength, vigour and vitality in the fact that your efforts have begun to yield positive fruits and that the vast majority of the citizens appreciate and applaud your efforts and stand resolutely with you. As I have often said, the power of the people is greater than the power of those of us in power.
“In our own little corner, we, too, stand with you. And this being so, you can only succeed, and not fail!
“Therefore, every support and every advice that Your Excellency requires to succeed we promise we will not hide away from you, partisan politics notwithstanding.”
Fayose said it would be most unfortunate if the report is swept under the carpet.
“The preferential treatment given to the two top-notch members of your government is bad enough – and they are the only members of the ruling party that have got this slap-on-the-wrist treatment. So reckless and audacious had your government become in this regard that a serving Senator who is a member of your party said on the floor of the Senate that your government uses insecticides when dealing with alleged cases of corruption involving members of the opposition but applies deodorant when members of the ruling party are involved.
The governor urged the Acting President to do the needful and not let the absence of the president be the reason for not acting on the report.
The letter added, “Were President Buhari to be around, this issue would not have been any of your bothers. All that would have been required of you would be to turn in your report within the stipulated time and the ball would then have been squarely in the president’s court.
“Fortunately and unfortunately, President Buhari has been away on medical tourism for the most part of this year and as the Acting President, the buck now stops on your desk. Your Excellency, Nigerians demand two actions from you: First is that you release the report of the corruption investigation, which you presided over. Secondly is that you act expeditiously on the report. May I advise, Your Excellency, that you should never harbour the view that this matter can be swept under the carpet for two reasons.
“One is that Nigerians are not unmindful of the outcome of your investigation even if it has not been officially released. Two is that should you fail to release the report and act on it, I shall approach the law court to compel you to do so.
“Your Excellency, as a Law professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Your Excellency must not be associated with illegalities and cover-ups; not to talk of your highly exalted position as a man of God who must speak the truth at all times and uphold the Biblical admonition to let justice flow like the mighty river. I have refused to agree with those who, on account of your egregious stance on the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu’s continued but illegal stay in office; posit that the hood does not make the monk and a chain of titles and degrees does not translate to sound judgment. Kindly take up the challenge to prove those doubting Thomases wrong.
“Your Excellency, because of our dear country, Nigeria, the concern of all of its 170 million citizens as well as for the benefit of our friends the world over, permit me to make copies of this letter available to the media and other interested persons and organisations locally and internationally.” (Punchng.com)
London, United Kingdom. 5th March 2013 — General (Rtd) Muhammadu Buhari seen here delivering a speech at the 4th African Diaspora Conference in London. Buhari was a Major General in the Nigerian Army and a former military ruler of Nigeria. — Nigeria’s retired General Buhari gave a speech on the subjects of democracy, corruption and the economy at the 4th African Diaspora Conference hosted at the Houses of Parliament in London.
The confusion, denials and counter-denials surrounding the discovery by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of $43 million in an apartment in Ikoyi, may have been caused by President Muhammadu Buhari’s aversion to reading memos, a Nigerian Times investigation has revealed.
Chats with multiple sources in the highest reaches of Nigeria’s security community revealed that President Buhari has a strong aversion for reading documents and prefers verbal briefings.
Our sources say that even when such briefings take place, they are hardly understood by the president except the language used is Hausa or Fulani.
This, they say has been the pattern since President Buhari took office.
”The C-in-C may claim memory lapse, but he was fully briefed on all NIA on-going operations in and outside the country, verbally and in writing”.
“The president’s dislike of written memos particularly those that run into several pages is well known in government circles.
He has no time for “Turenchi” but prefers verbal briefings. Even at that, the President prefers such briefings in either the Hausa or Fulfude. He always has a disinterested look when he is being briefed in the English language and tends to forget most of what he had been briefed about,” a source said.
Our source said that such is President Buhari’s preference for Hausa and Fulfude, that during National Security Council meetings, the president would without warning and consideration for those who cannot speak the two languages, burst into any of the two languages and sometimes for one hour or more or even for the rest of the meeting, deliberations would be conducted in those languages with those unable to speak them, completely alienated from deliberations.
“When the president lapses into one of these languages, he is completely in his elements and gone is the bored look he wears when being briefed in English,” our source said.
Nigerian Times checks within the security community show that the president’s attitude has remained a source of worry for them given the often sensitive nature of their activities.
They told this paper that it was the realisation of this weakness in the president that the Presidency sought through a story it pushed out via a friendly online news medium, to stave off embarrassment and ridicule by denying President Buhari was briefed about the money found in the Ikoyi flat and operations it was being used for.
To underscore their position that there is no way President Buhari would claim to be unaware of the money discovered in the flat in Ikoyi, they told this paper that an incoming president usually receives two types of the briefing. The first of these briefings is contained in the handover notes prepared by the outgoing government.
The notes contain general matters of administration such as amount of money handed over, projects completed and ongoing, subsisting agreements (bilateral and multilateral) and other important matters to assist the incoming president to settle in quickly into governance.
After the handover notes have been handed over, the new president is specifically reserved for the president in his capacity as chief security officer of the nation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
These briefings are of a security nature and our sources say President Buhari was fully briefed about pending, ongoing and completed security projections and operations.
“In the weeks before Col. Dasuki, the former NSA was sacked, Nigeria’s top security and intelligence chiefs briefed President Buhari on all security projects executed and still being executed. He was briefed on such matters as weapons purchased by the Jonathan administration to fight the insurgency, listening devices, and equipment for the Department of State Services. These things were brought to President Buhari’s attention. Even if because of old age the president claims that he wasn’t briefed that does not alter the fact that he was brought up to speed on all security matters including operations by the NIA,” a source said.
The source disclosed that the broad outlines of NIA operations and plans were captured in the handover notes former NSA, Dasuki handed to his successor, Baba Gana Monguno.
The source added that NIA Director General, Ayodele Oke, made a written memo to President Buhari in his first month in office. The memo was submitted through NSA Monguno. He followed it up with a verbal briefing of the president.
Later in 2016, the NIA boss made another detailed presentation to President Buhari. Like the first time, the memo was submitted to the NSA for onward transmission to the president.
Our source said it took the NSA six full months to act on the memo. Each time the NIA boss asked the NSA if he had forwarded the memo to the president, the NSA would reply that he had yet to read it. Six months after unremitting pressure from the NIA DG, the NSA finally acted. He set up a commitee that went round the country to verify NIA projects like roads, drianages and other operations. It was learnt that President Buhari was appraised of these matters including the purchase of the flat in Ikoyi where it kept the milions seized by EFCC. The flat was reportedly boguth several months after Buhari came into office.
The whole confusion surrounding the NIA millions seized by teh EFCC and the attempt by the presidency to distance itself from the saga by denying knowledge of the cash, sources say, stems margely from the turf war between the NSA and the DG,DSS. UNlike in previous government where the NSA coordinated all security matters, the situation in Buhari’s government is different.Under Buhari, the DSS boss has on account of the filial relations with the president completely sidelined the NSA.
Where he ordinarily ought to channel his requests through NSA, he bypasses him and goes directly to the president.
As source said the DSS DG briefs the president verbally instead of via written memo and that he beriefing is conducted in Hausa and that the President usually nods his approval.
Add to that are Munguno’s personal failing. “Munguno plays hard, very hard that he is not always in the right frame of mind to attend to the demands of his office”, a source in the ONSA told us.
Prominent individuals and eminent persons, groups, on Wednesday, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for suspending the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Lawal; and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke.
Among the groups that commended the President for suspending the SGF are the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders.
The suspension of Lawal and the NIA boss was contained in a statement on Wednesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
While Lawal was suspended in connection with the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on North-East, Oke was suspended in connection with the uncovering of $43m (about N13bn) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the NIA has made a claim.
According to the statement, Buhari has ordered that thorough investigations be conducted into the allegations against the two top government officials.
The President therefore set up a three-man committee, comprising the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to investigate the allegations.
The committee has 14 days to submit its reports.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the SGF, Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East.
“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 EFCC in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency 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 AGF and Minister of Justice, and the NSA, headed by the Vice-President, is to conduct both investigations.
“The committee is to submit its reports 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.”
Drama as Osinbajo meets suspended Lawal, Oke
A mild drama played out at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, shortly after the Presidency announced the suspension of the SGF and the DG of NIA.
Lawal was in a meeting with Osinbajo as of the time his suspension was announced.
As he was descending the staircase of the Vice-President’s office after the meeting, the suspended SGF walked into the waiting hands of State House correspondents.
When he was asked to react to his suspension, he claimed he was not aware of the development.
The following conversation ensued between the reporters and the suspended SGF:
Your suspension has just been announced. How will you react to the development?
Who announced it?
Then ask them. Why are you asking me? Who is the Presidency?
Have you been informed of the suspension?
By who? About what? What about you? Have you been informed?
By the Presidency sir.
I have not seen it. I should have been given… I have not seen the press release; so, I cannot comment on it.
It is currently trending online. Are you doubting the authenticity of the statement?
I have not seen it.
Tell us the outcome of your meeting with theVice-President sir.
I am always here. I always meet the Vice-President. I used to come here even before I was made the SGF.
Shortly after, Lawal was driven out of the premises in his official car, Oke also arrived the Presidential Villa.
Immediately he stepped out of his official car and sighted journalists, he was also moved to tears and turned back.
His security operatives quickly shielded him from photojournalists as he was smuggled back into his car.
They made an attempt to drive him into the forecourt of the President’s office through the Service Chiefs’ Gate but his convoy was denied access by the security men manning the gate.
He was then driven out of the premises.
Officials from the media office later came out to appeal to journalists to leave the area and return to the Council Chambers’ Press Gallery.
Shortly after the area was cleared of journalists, Oke returned to meet Osinbajo.
Journalists were barred from interviewing him.
With the presence of the Monguno at the Vice-President’s Office, it is believed that the three-man committee, set up by Buhari to investigate Lawal and Oke, had started work.
SGF giving the administration a bad name –Minister
A minister, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said the decision to suspend Lawal was part of the consensus reached at a reconciliatory meeting being held by the Presidency and the leadership of the Senate.
The frosty relationship between the Presidency and the Senate has informed the decision of the lawmakers to suspend the screening of the President’s nominees for the positions of Resident Electoral Commissioners.
The minister said, “The President was advised to suspend the SGF because his issue was already giving the government a bad name.
“Apart from the fact that he is not known as a major part in the APC, he is also being seen as a cog in the wheel of the government anti-corruption crusade.
“Already, his issue has also polarised the party and the Presidency. So, in order to give a bite to the anti-corruption war, he needs to be suspended.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East, Senator Shehu Sani, on Wednesday, hailed Buhari for suspending the SGF.
Sani, in an electronic mail to The PUNCH stated, “It is commendable that the President has taken the Senate committee report and recommendations seriously. The sword of truth is not just cast and sharpened for the neck of foes but also for those of friends.
“The Senate and the committee have nothing personal against the SGF or any person affected but we simply did our job in conformity with our constitutional responsibilities and the moral calling of our conscience.”
When asked on the telephone if the SGF would still be expected to appear before the panel, Sani said the probe would continue and the lawmakers would decide when Lawal would appear before them.
Also, the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes described as a “welcome development”, the President’s suspending Lawal.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Kayode Oladele, told The PUNCH that suspending Lawal would allow for an unfettered investigation to be carried out into the contracts.
He explained, “It will appear that the Presidency has finally come to terms with the resolution of the Senate, calling for an investigation of the SGF.
“It is logical that in such a situation, suspension is the best step so that the SGF does not use his position to influence the investigation.”
On the NIA’ boss, Oladele noted that from the point of the EFCC and the law, the money found by the anti-graft agency was “slush funds” until proven otherwise.
“Both actions, as taken so far by the Presidency, are a welcome development,” Oladele said.
Groups, Nigerians react to the suspension of Lawal, Oke
In separate interviews with The PUNCH on Wednesday, some groups said the suspension of the Lawal came late.
But SERAP and CDHR urged the Federal Government to charge suspended SGF and the NIA boss to court if indicted after the investigations.
The SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in an interview, said, “Immediately the allegations against the SGF surfaced, I stressed that he should step aside. That is what obtains in saner climes and edifying environments. The same applies for the NIA DG.
“Buhari should step up his game and take decisive actions against them. If the two government officials are eventually indicted, they should be taken to court. Let them have their day in court. This should not just be suspension for suspension sake.”
The CDHR President, Malachy Ugwumadu, said though the Presidency’s action was belated, the two suspended officials must face court action if the allegations against them were established.
He said, “By and large, it goes to show that this is a government that still wants to fight corruption. We welcome this development. We urge the panel to thoroughly investigate the allegations.’’
In his reaction, the Executive Chairman, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said, “It is a step in the right direction. The suspension of the SGF is belated; it ought to have been done right from when the news broke out that he spent so much in cutting grasses at the IDP camp.
“As for the Director-General of the NIA, it is the best thing the government could do to save face and to prove that it is not treating corruption with deodorant rather than using insecticide. That is the way to go.”
A prominent lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), described the suspension of the SGF and the DG of NIA as a “good riddance to a bad rubbish”.
He said, “I am sure the government is beginning to listen to my critical but patriotic voice.
“We cannot continue to be a laughing stock in the international arena. The chicken is finally coming home to roost. I congratulate PMB on this move, even if belated.”
A former Chairman of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Chijioke Okoli (SAN), said although the suspension of the SGF was belated, it was a step in the right direction.
Okoli canvassed support for the President over the actions taken against Lawal and Oke.
The SAN said, “Regarding that of the SGF, my point is that it is extremely belated but it is welcome. It should have been done a long time ago. I think the SGF’s continued stay in office has done massive disservice to the government.
“On the NIA DG, for the President to have suspended him, now means that it is actually true as reported by the media that the NIA was laying claim to the money. I had said the NIA should tell its story that it had been keeping the money for covert operations, to the marines. The story doesn’t add up.
“I think suspending him in the present circumstance even without knowing the entire facts is justified.”
A member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said though the suspension of the SGF and the NIA boss was coming a little too late, it was better than nothing.
Mohammed stated, “As far as I am concerned, it is certainly better than nothing.
“But you can see clearly from the way the suspensions were announced, it was done out of pressure and a sense of appeasement for public opinion. He should take a step further by identifying others and flushing them out of the system.”
A SAN, Mallam Yusuf Ali, described the suspension of the SGF and the NIA boss as a good development.
Ali stated, “I think the President has done what is expected of him because the man is holding such a high office and he was indicted by the Senate for the IDP (contract) issue, he had no moral authority anymore.
‘‘Although his suspension was long overdue, the President did it eventually. I salute the President for that.”
The Executive Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Network, Ebenezer Oyetakin, said the suspension of the SGF was overdue.
He said, “The suspension of the SGF is coming rather too late, but it is better late than never. This is because, beyond the issue of corruption, he is making the government lack rhythm of governance due to total lack of co-ordination.’’
He stated that Oke’s case was outrageous, adding that the NIA seemed to have outlived its usefulness. Also, the Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (popularly called Intersociety), Emeka Umeaghalasi, said there was nothing wrong with the suspension.
‘‘The matter at hand is purely criminal, requiring the requisite criminal interrogation for the purpose of finding out criminal motives behind the possible guilty acts,’’ he said. (Punchng.com)
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.