The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency NIA, Ayo Oke over their alleged involvement in controversial matters as an afterthought and a deliberate cover-up.
Mr. Oke was suspended after his agency claimed ownership of over N13 billion cash recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos. The SGF, on his part, was suspended following allegations of his involvement in the shady award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on North East, PINE. Both men are also to be investigated by a presidential panel.
Mr. Fayose had earlier alleged that the money belonged to the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, whom he claimed owned the apartment in which the money was found.
The Ekiti governor claimed the setting up of a three-man committee to investigate the discovery of the money was diversionary and a prelude to the official cover-up of the original
owners of the money.
“Would the President have set up a probe panel if these scams were linked to anyone in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or those members of his party that are not in his good books?” the governor said in a statement by his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka.
“Most importantly, what business does Presidential Committee have with investigation of crime? Are they telling Nigerians that they have lost confidence in all the intelligence and investigative agencies of the government, including the EFCC and DSS?”
Mr. Fayose alleged there were various power blocks in the presidency.
“The Buhari-led Federal Government is operating like many governments within one government. There appears to be many Presidencies within the Presidency and this is the reason for the confusion everywhere.,” he said.
“Did the President not write a letter dated January 17, 2017, to the Senate, exonerating the SGF? So, what has changed in the case of the SGF? Was his announced suspension just for balancing?” he asked.
“Why waiting for this messy OsborneGate to act on the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) grass-cutting scam? Could it have been a case of one Presidency (Buhari) writing the Senate on January 17, 2017 to clear the SGF and another Presidency suspending him today?
“Whichever way one looks at it, it gives no other impression than that
of confusion in the government.”
Mr. Fayose also wondered why there was no presidential committee on abandoned N49 million cash in an airport that has CCTV cameras and that of the N448 million the EFCC said it found in a shop at LEGICO Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu
Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
“In all these, what I see is a government trying frantically to cover-up corrupt acts of its functionaries but like I said before now, even though we know that the APC-led federal government has the capacity to sweep it under the carpet like many others before it, Nigerians will have it on record that they are being ruled by a government of the more you look, the less you see,” he said.
The suspensions came days after a volley of confusion on who owned the huge cash found in the apartment and the subsequent claims by the NIA.
The presidential committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose 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 three-person committee also comprises the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Security Adviser.