Buhari Suspends SGF Babachir Lawal, DG NIA Over Alleged Fraud

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The Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke, have both been suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The order for their suspension was revealed in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday, April 19, by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

Recall that the Senate recently found Mr. Babachir Lawal guilty of complicity in the finances meant for the welfare of the Internally Displaced persons, IDPs in the northeast and called on the president to remove him. Lawal was indicted by the Senate report for allegedly contravening the provisions of the public procurement act and the federal government’s financial rules and regulations pertaining to the award of contracts.

Oke, on the other hand, was suspended in relation to the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the NIA has made a claim.

According to the statement, the president has ordered that thorough investigations be carried out on the allegations against the two top government officials.

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The President, as a result, set up a three-man committee made up of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, and headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The committee has 14 days to submit its reports.

The statement read;

“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.

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“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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Babachir Lawal had rushed into Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s office few minutes after his suspension was announced, feigning ignorance of the new development.

On his way out of the meeting with Osinbajo, Lawal was quoted as telling State House correspondents that he does not know about his suspension and further requested to know who wrote the statement announcing his suspension.

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