Buhari asks EFCC to proceed with investigation of Babachir Lawal, Oke

PRESIDENT BUHARI SACKS SGF BABACHIR LAWAL
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal briefing State House Correspondents after leaving the Presidential Villa Abuja after the announcement of his suspension in Abuja on Wednesday (19/4/17). 02296/19/4/2017/Callistus Ewelike/NAN

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday night said he was aware of the investigation of two sacked officials by anti-corruption agencies, saying the investigation should continue.

Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in a statement said “the position of the President therefore is that investigation agencies which have already commenced the investigation of the two officers removed from office will go on with their work of investigation without any interference or hindrance.”

Mr. Shehu added that the president “who is fully conversant with the provisions of the constitution will not stop the investigation of anyone because he has no such power under our laws. This is a decision of the Supreme Court.”

The spokesperson was reacting to criticisms that trailed the sack of Babachir Lawal and Ayodele Oke, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and former head of the National Intelligence Agency respectively.

President Buhari had ordered the sack of both men earlier on Monday following a review of a panel report that investigated allegations against them. The panel was headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Many Nigerians, though commended the dismissal of both men, asked that Mr. Buhari order their arrest and prosecution.

Mr. Shehu, however, indicated that the two men were already being investigated by the anti-corruption agencies.

“Based on his wish and desire for a strict observance of the law, the President expects the EFCC, ICPC and such agencies to proceed with ongoing investigations,” the spokesperson said.

“When and where they have reasonable grounds to charge former or serving officers to court under our laws, they do not require the permission of the President to do so,” he added.

THE INDICTMENT

The spokesperson for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached for comments about the status of the investigations.

However, the panel headed by Mr. Osinbajo found Mr. Lawal culpable in a slew of allegations that included questionable diversion of funds meant for the internally displaced persons in the North-east.

Consequently, the investigative committee, which included Attorney-General Abubakar Malami and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, recommended termination of Mr. Lawal’s appointment, the presidency said in a statement.

Mr. Oke was the head of NIA when the EFCC found N13 billion belonging to the foreign intelligence office in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, on April 12.

As with Mr. Lawal, Mr. Osinbajo’s panel recommended Mr. Oke’s dismissal after looking into the circumstances surrounding the cash haul.

The panel submitted its report on August 23, but Mr. Buhari did not act on it until Monday. Another presidential aide, Femi Adesina, told Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ Monday evening that the president was being painstaking with the content of the report.

Before their appointments were ultimately terminated, Messrs. Lawal and Oke had beenplaced on suspension since April 19. They appeared before the panel on several occasions during its 14-day, closed-door sitting. 

DEMAND FOR PROSECUTION

While welcoming their sack on Monday evening, a civic rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, admonished Mr. Buhari to reassert his anti-corruption posture by calling for a thorough prosecution.

“This is a positive development in the fight against grand corruption, although this decision is coming rather late,” SERAP said in a statement signed by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale. “Buhari now has to go a step further by making sure that both Lawal and Oke are promptly brought to justice in fair trials.”

“What the government needs at this time is a revolutionary approach to the fight against corruption if Buhari is to show his commitment to ‘kill’ corruption before corruption ‘kills’ Nigeria.

“Without effective prosecution of high-ranking public officials charged with corruption, this government’s fight against corruption may sadly turn out to be all motion and no movement, and this will eventually undermine the legitimacy of the anti-corruption efforts,” Mr. Adewale said.

The group also reminded Mr. Buhari to pursue criminal charges against the fugitive former head of presidential task force on pension reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Mr. Maina was revealed by PREMIUM TIMES penultimate Friday as having sneaked back into the public service four years after he was sacked for alleged pension fraud.

Mr. Buhari ordered Mr. Maina’s dismissal with immediate effect and called for an investigation into how he was recalled.

“Buhari also has to move swiftly to publish a report of the investigation into the secret reinstatement of the fugitive former civil servant, Abdulrasheed Maina, and without delay identify and bring to justice anyone suspected to be involved,” SERAP said.

PAST ARREST CALLS

While President Buhari did not authorise the immediate arrest of Mr. Lawal and Oke, he has ordered arrests of persons indicted of corruption in the past.

When Mr. Buhari received the reports of the presidential arms probe panel in 2015, he ordered immediate arrest or former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and other officials of the last administration who were indicted.

Mr. Buhari raised the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces on August 24, 2015, in furtherance of his “determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service.”

The panel submitted its interim report on November 17, 2015, finding Mr. Dasuki culpable in the award of “fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50; 1,671,742,613.58 dollars and 9,905,477.00 Euros,” amongst others.

Soon after receiving the report, Mr. Buhari “directed the relevant organisations to arrest and bring to book, all individuals who have been found complicit in these illegal and fraudulent acts,” according to a State House statement on November 17, 2015.


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  • king alex

    Next, EFCC will declare Babachir Lawal and Ayodele Oke “wanted” and they may never be found,not even by INTERPOL. The more you look…

    • bbounce

      And that would be Buhari fault too as he could just arrest them if only he was a good man. lol

  • Fadama

    I am not moved by the ‘gragra’ from the presidency. They are simply playing to the gallery

  • Dawood

    What about Jonathan and his 40 thieves? When are they going to be arrested?

    • Frank Bassey

      If you are justifying this action on the basis of “Jonathan and his 40 thieves”, you deserve an early death. Nigerians voted Jonathan/PDP out of office. We voted Buhari to effect a change, which he promised us. Here is a case where a man used his office to siphon over N200 million from funds meant for the helpless inmates of IDP camps. Families that are wallowing in hunger, disease and penury. The man used his ICT firm to award contracts to himself and garnered so much money to himself without pity. Our President who claims to be fighting corruption is treating them with a kindergarten touch unlike the others. And you are here justifying it. May the fates of the IDP inmates be your lot.

      • Netanyahu

        Amen and Amen.

    • citizen b

      May you and your loved ones find themselves in IDP camps

  • Mentus

    One would have thought that EFCC was an independent agency who could investigate indicted individuals. So Buhari now needs to give permission before EFCC can investigate. Unfortunately he will never give permission to have his nephews and relatives and the likes Barutai, Idris, Baru and those who smuggled in Maina to be investigated. I do hope the media will relent until we see the end of these cases.

    • Frank Bassey

      That shows you the pretentious characters we have as leaders.

      • Julius

        It pains you to see that the government /Buhari is doing the right thing. Now, get another talking point..abegi.

        • Frank Bassey

          If Buhari is doing the right thing, then my wish is that may his “right” things be your portion. A man who calls himself Mr Integrity, will give a nod to the re-instatement of a thieving fugitive with salary arrears of over N20 million paid from tax payers fund? London H….. is awaiting all of you.

  • Frank Bassey

    THIS IS A LIE. THERE IS NO WAY EFCC WOULD HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATING THIEVES THAT WERE/ARE BEING PROTECTED BY THE PRETENTIOUS CHARACTER CALLED PRESIDENT. EFCC IS NOT, WILL NOT AND CANNOT INVESTIGATE LAWAL AND OKE. AND THAT IS WHY NEMESIS MUST CONTINUE AND COMPLETE ITS TASK.

  • MRnaijawantalk

    Sad could not get myself to read this article to the end ! but really EFCC gets the nod on whom to investigate even after all the outcry on this matter ! Well , we await to see them chains for their day in court !

  • Angry Niaja

    Why, o why, does the EFCC have to take instructions from the president before they do their job, what sort of country is Nigeria. If the law enforcement agencies have to be told what to do by the president before they do the right thing, that’s really sad, and it’s the same reason the war on corruption CAN never be won.

    • Someone

      freedom of speech. now go to the toilet

      • Netanyahu

        You can lie down in the filthy gutter.

      • man leader

        Another bastard revealed

    • Julius

      Read it again he plaining said that he has no power to stop them from doing their job. I guess you didn’t see that. Now people are seeing you people as demagogue that cares for nothing other than noise making online. You losers are simply not interested in facts. We can see that.

  • ???????¾

    @angryniaja:disqus

    The 250 million Naira is not to be recovered from Babachir Lawal, according to President Buhari?

    Is that what this crass press statement from the presidential villa means, when all is said and done?

    • Godwin Oliha

      @disqus_EkZWB7P0Qm:disqus

      This Momodu Buhari of a man don tire me, my brother. E get as e be. It is like tragedy.
      How can somebody say he is president and just messing up all over the place like this?
      He went to Germany to talk on television that his wife belongs to the other room for sex.
      Is that a responsible person saying that kind of thing to world press, like BBC and CNN?
      This Buhari is not it, my people, just fake and counterfeit, very dull and useless person.
      No sense, no idea, no education, no knowledge, very lazy, and clueless and empty too.
      Nigeria deserves better than this, please, why go and bring such illiterate from Daura?

      • Osakue

        Thank God it is just your opinion. Your words are not cast in stone just mere opinion

      • pambegua

        You Godwin Oliha a FIRST CLASS DEGREE GRADUATE OF UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, FIRST CLASS MASTER DEGREE OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY, FIRST CLASS GRADUATE OF PHD IN SEVERAL UNIVERSITIES such as CAMBRIDGE, YALE, OXFORD can you please come forward and do better than ILLITERATE PMB in military and politics. SHUT UP!!!! Who no know no go know. If BUHARI is an illiterate after becoming A General in the Army, Becoming Head of state in the Military and now a President in a Democratic era I will rather die an illiterate like BUHARI than a Godwin Oliha(PhD) who sells spare parts in ONITSHA MARKET

        • Julius

          Lmaooooooooooooooooo, gbam ! God bless you bro ! That’s Igbo man life for you. Soon he will be correcting your grammar and calling you illiterate tho he may not be able to spell illiterate without spell check on the comp. Na so ooo, Buhari wasn’t an illiterate when he was in biafraud land kicking their asses !

  • E dey happen

    @disqus_EkZWB7P0Qm:disqus

    “President Buhari was fully aware of MAINA’s reinstatement”

    “Please note that the Office of Head of Service was never in agreement
    with the reinstatement and consequently never conveyed approval of the FCPC
    to Mr. A. A. Maina, nor approved his posting to the Ministry of Interior or any
    other MDA. Rather, I sought an audience with His Excellency, Mr. President
    (Buhari) on Wednesday, October 11th , 2017 after the FEC meeting where I
    briefed His Excellency (Buhari) verbally on the wide-ranging implications of the
    reinstatement of Mr. A. A. Maina, especially the damaging impact on the
    anti-corruption stance of this administration.”

    …………………..Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita

    (Memo reference number HSCSF/HCSF/LU/COR/FCSC/750/T, dated October 23, 2017.)

    • Frank Bassey

      This is severe pain on the body of ordinary Nigerians. People are suffering; families now sell their children to feed or pay debt; top civil servants now commit suicide for not being able to feed for their families …. Buhari, in his clear conscience and religious uprightness, gave nod to the re-absorption of Maina who was also paid over N20 million salary arrears …? God has seen the tears of the poor and will never keep silent. It is good Buhari was given chance to rule to prove his Integrity was grossly OVER-RATED.

  • Mark M

    Window dressing.

    • man leader

      This one sef na toilet dressing

    • Julius

      Yep, why would you believe anything after all you do not see anything good coming from the government and Buhari. All you want is your fake referendum…right ?

      • Solomon Brown

        At times like this you should tuck your tail in and cover your face in shame.

  • Powerlessconscious

    Shut up. whether it is late or not. PDP IS A DEAD PARTY. and they will never come back to power again. We dont want thieves and WICKED PEOPLE in power again.

    • Angry Niaja

      Why bro, why the insult? what’s your gripe with what I wrote, did I in anyway say I wanted PDP back, did you actually read what I said, about voting for PMB in the last elections, take it easy o