President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday April 19, 2017 suspended the secretary to the federal government, (SGF) Babachir David Lawal and the director general of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Mr Ayodele
Oke respectively from office. A statement by the special adviser, Media to the President, Femi Adesina announcing their suspension said 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 also 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.
According to the statement, 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
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.
Recall that the Senate Committee that investigated the contract awards under the PINE had indicted the SGF. The Committee headed by Senator Shehu Sani had recommended for sanction against the SGF for his role in the saga.
Instead of sanctioning the SGF, the Presidency wrote a letter to the Senate clearing him of all allegations. The action of the Presidency became a big dent on the integrity of the anti-corruption war of the administration.
Similarly when the EFCC discovered over $43million in a residential apartment in Lagos, without declaring the name or names of the owners, Nigerians on social media and elsewhere began to allege cover-up of the culprits because they are close to the government of the day. It was also another dent on the anti-corruption war.
However, by suspending the key actors in the two corruption incidents, the President seems to be on the verge of revitalising the anti-corruption war before it hits the doldrums. By his action the government has shown that the war is total, no matter whose ox is gored. This is likely to send jitters to the spines of corrupt elements in the government who may think that the anti-corruption war is only meant to be targeted against those who served in the previous
administration of Goodluck Jonathan. This new development has added impetus to the war against corruption. We commend the federal government immensely even as we wait for the report of the committee set up to investigate the allegations against the suspended Lawal and Oke. We also commend the Nigerian people whose voices were loud and clear that these issues must not be swept under the carpet like other similar incidents in the past.