President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, and Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke.
According to Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, the president 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 directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigations.
In a related development, the President has also 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 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 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, 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.
It would be recalled that the Senate had asked Buhari to suspend Lawal over his alleged role in the award of contracts by PINE for cutting of grass in some Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDPs) in North East Nigeria.
He was accused of having awarded spurious contracts of N220 million for the removal of wild grass and the provision of 115 hectares of simplified village irrigation in Yobe State and how the company allegedly subsequently transferred the money into another firm, Rholavision Engineering Limited, said to be owned by the SGF.
On its part, the NIA under Amb. Oke claimed that the humongous sum of foreign currencies and Naira notes to the tune of $43.4m, £27,800 and N23.2m in cash found in an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi belongs to the agency, and that it was meant for covert operations outside Nigeria.
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