Close- up: Babachir Lawal, the engineer who got caught up in grass-cutting scandal
Born October 2, 1954, the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was appointed on August 27, 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He attended St. Patrick’s Primary School, Maiduguri in 1969 and was admitted into the Nigeria Military School Zaria in 1970 for his secondary education. He left the military school in 1974 to join the School of Basic Studies, ABU, Zaria from where he got admitted into Ahmadu Bello University to study Electrical Engineering in 1975.
He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) and also bagged a Bachelor of Arts (Christian Theology) at the ECWA Theological Seminar in Jos in 2007.
He worked with the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited and Data Sciences Limited before establishing his own ICT and Telecommunications consulting firm, Rholavision Engineering Limited in 1990.
Lawal joined active politics in 2002 when he became a member of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and worked very closely with the then General Muhammadu Buhari to pursue the latter’s presidential ambition.
Lawal has held the following offices while in ANPP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Buhari.
1, State Deputy Coordinator, The Buhari Campaign Organisation, Adamawa State (2002 – 2005)
2, State Coordinator, The Buhari Campaign Organisation, Adamawa State, (2005 – 2010)
3, Member, Congress For Progressive Change National Contact and Mobilization Committee (2010 – 2013)
4, Member, Congress For Progressive Change Renewal Committee, 2012
5, Member, All Progressive Change Merger Committee, 2013
6, Ex-Officious Member, All Progressives Change Interim Management Committee (2013 – 2014)
7, APC National Vice Chairman, North East (2014 to date)
8, Member, APC Presidential Campaign Committee, 2015
Babachir Lawal, has remained in the news as one of the top appointees of President Buhari with corruption scandals.
His case ranks among the most deliberated allegations of graft involving top officials of the present government.
Read also: IKOYIGATE: EFCC searches flats belonging to ex-Gov Obi, ex-PDP chair Mu’azu, others
The Senate had after discovering alleged corrupt activities involving the SGF asked Buhari to suspend and ensure his prosecution.
A report by a Senate ad hoc committee led by Senator Shehu Sani on the mounting humanitarian crisis in the north-east, accused him of breaching Nigeria’s law in handling contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE).
The report claimed that Mr. Lawal’s company, Rholavision Ltd., is one of the companies which benefited from inflated and phantom contracts or ones not executed at all, which were awarded by the PINE.
Mr. Lawal’s firm was said to have been awarded a contract worth over N200million to clear ‘invasive plant species’ at a camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Yobe State.
The committee further revealed that as of the time the contract was awarded in March 2016, Mr. Lawal was still the director of Rholavision and that he only resigned in September, 2016.
The committee also alleged more recently that about 20 companies listed as having been awarded contracts under PINE, supervised by Babachir, may be ghost firms after all.
Despite the allegation, Lawal was, however, cleared initially of any wrongdoing by President Buhari.
Babachir who had failed to honour Senate summon on two different occasions was seen as one of the reasons for the perceived face-off between the Presidency and the legislature.
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