Social critic and former member of the House of Representatives, Dr Junaid Mohammed, yesterday hailed the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal and the Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ayodele Oke, describing the development as the exit of two top officials from the government in one day.
Mohammed, a medical doctor and one of the most vocal critics of the current administration, said that while the suspension of Lawal was long overdue, Oke had proven that he did not deserve the office he had occupied for many years. According to him, both men got to where they were through the foul route of nepotism and manipulation of the system.
“The suspension of the Secretary to the Government, Babachir David Lawal was long overdue.
He was only being covered by, friend or relations of President Muhammadu Buhari and his nephew, Mamman Daura who recruited them and imposed them on Buhari and the country. I firmly welcome the action and I believe it must be a boost to the anti corruption war.
“I strongly support the suspension of the DG NIA because frankly speaking, the NIA is supposed to be the creme la creme of the Nigerian security service.
Normally it is the best of the best who are familiar not only with security issues but with international politics and have proven themselves as indomitable lions in the defence our national interest. They are normally very reserved and very professional.
“I believe that Oke acted who has been suspended has been a DG for far too long and he was manipulated by his own relation who came from the same state like him who happened to have been a former DG of NIA. It was not done on merit, but on lobbying the institutions of the Federal Government and I think that is why he has proven to be a very corrupt and callous person.
“So it’s two scoundrels out of government in one day. It refreshes and renews the anti-corruption fight. Unfortunately, I must disappoint you by telling you that that is not enough to give greater impetus to the anti corruption war.
I believe Buhari has to do more,” he said. A policy expert and Head of the Human Rights Project at the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Comrade Olanrewaju Suraju said the action taken by the government should have been taken long ago on Lawal and other public office holders implicated in corruption cases.
Suraju said that it was an indication that the government was to feel the heat from the civil society and the public on the need to strengthen the anti- corruption war.
“There is no doubting the fact that the reasonable thing to have been done, like in previous other cases, would have been to suspend the appropriate public office holder that is connected to the Ikoyi loot. It was a national and international embarrassment to the government that an agency could be keeping that kind of money under a government where you have the Treasury Single Account policy.
The policy stipulates a limit to what an agency can have and any government agency that has that kind of money could have warehoused it with the Central Bank of Nigeria. An agency having physical cash up to that amount, irrespective of whatever security or covert action that is being undertaken has breached the rule. So for us, the government is getting is bearing,” he said.
The suspended NIA DG, he said, violated the TSA and the Money Laundering Act and what was expected of any government was to suspend such a person pending the outcome of investigations. According to him, the government was expected to have taken action against Lawal over the N200million grass cutting contract long ago.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Committee ordered earlier last week by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe certain allegations against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General of the NIA, Mr. Ayo Oke has commenced its work in earnest.
President Buhari last Wednesday established the three-man panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, (SAN), with Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami and National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Munguno (rtd) as members, to investigate allegations of legal and due process violations made against Lawal, and the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a residential apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos.
In the discharge of its work, the panel is expected to invite all relevant officials and private individuals who may be connected to both cases. It will also obtain and scrutinize documents that may throw some light on the issues raised in both cases. All its proceedings will however be in closed sessions to avoid speculations, allow for full disclosure and enhance the pace of proceedings.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande said the panel which is expected to submit its report to the President at the expiration of the 14-day deadline, will conduct its work with utmost diligence and without fear or favour.
Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:26:31 +0000
SOURCE :African Spotlight