President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war has consumed its first high-profiled in-house casualties with the suspension of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal; and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke from office.
Both were suspended in a statement on Wednesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
Adesina stated that Lawal is suspended in connection with the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on North East, while Oke’s suspension is against the backdrop of large sums in foreign and local currencies discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos which the NIA surprisingly admitted ownership.
The statement said President Buhari has ordered a thorough investigation into the allegations against the two top government functionaries.
According to the statement, “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.
Both investigations are to be conducted by a three-member committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) as well as the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno as members.
“The Committee is to submit its report to the President within 14 days”, even as the statement added that, “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 SGF has been in the eye of the storm over contract awards in the North-East with the Senate demanding for his immediate sack over alleged abuse of office.