Chairman of the Senate ad-hoc Commitee on mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East, Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) has described the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal as a welcome development.
This is even as Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke, who was also suspended by the President, betrayed emotions, weeping profusely at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Sani’s committee had in December last year indicted Lawal in a grass cutting contract scandal worth N200m involving the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE). The Senate in a unanimous resolution requested President Buhari to sack the SGF.
Rather, Buhari in letter to the Senate in January, said the Senators were unfair to him. The SGF issue is one of the causes of the feud between the executive and the legislature.
Sani in a statement said the suspension was commendable and that President Buhari had taken the Senate Commitee report and recommendations seriously.
Minutes after the announcement of his suspension, Babachir rushed to meet with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke, was seen weeping uncontrollably after he was denied access to President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
President Buhari yesterday ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), 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.
The President has ordered 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 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 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.