Osinbajo’s panel meets on suspended SGF, NIA DG

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, met with members of the presidential committee constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate allegations that led to the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.

Buhari had, on Wednesday, suspended the SGF over allegations of violations of law and due process made against Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

The president also suspended the NIA DG following the discovery of $43.3 million N23.3 million and $27,800 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the NIA has made a claim.

Those who attended the meeting with Osinbajo at the presidential villa are the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Mongunu (rtd); Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawan Daura; Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and the acting DG of the NIA, Ambassador Arab Yadam.

The panel is investigating the suspended SGF over alleged violations of laws and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East (PINE).

It is also probing 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 agency, 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 committee, headed by Osinbajo, is expected to submit its report within 14 days.

Yadam has taken over as the Acting Director General of NIA. Yadam, who was the Deputy Director General in charge of Administration, took up the mantle of leadership on Wednesday and has been holding consultations with other top ranking officials to chart a new course.

A source close to the agency told New Telegraph that the two Deputy Director Generals next to the suspended DG did know about the money that was kept in Ikoyi.

According to the source, a preliminary investigation has revealed that the money was approved by the former President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 general elections.

The source also stated that the Presidency would soon commence appropriate investigation against other security agencies that collected money for the 2015 general elections and how the monies were spent.

It will be recalled that Lawal was indicted by a Senate Committee probing the disbursement of funds meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the North-East.

The committee alleged that Lawal awarded a N200 million contract to his company, to cut grass at an IDP camp.

The Senate had further demanded for Lawal’s sack and prosecution. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has, however, commended the Federal Government over the suspension of Lawal. Dr. Peter Eson-Ozo, NLC General Secretary, said the move showed that there were no sacred cows in the fight against corruption by the present administration.

“Even though President Muhammadu Buhari has just taken the decision at this point in time, it was a good one as a lot of people and the NLC have wondered why no concrete steps had been taken.

“In fact, at this stage, Mr. President has now found enough cause to suspend him; we think it is a step in the right direction, even though it is a little delayed.”

Although, New Telegraph gathered that the meeting between the vice president and the security officers was part of the investigation committee on the two suspended officers, Magu told reporters that he was at the villa to attend an Assets Recovery Panel meeting also headed by Osinbajo

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