President Muhammadu Buhari has given the all clear signal to the EFCC and ICPC to investigate sacked Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal and former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ambassador Wale Oke over the Osbourne Tower billions and PINE contract.
In a statement confirming the directive, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Shehu Garba said that President Buhari was committed to the rule of law and will not shield anyone from investigation.
Shehu said, “Based on his wish and desire for a strict observance of the law, the President expects the EFCC, ICPC and such agencies to proceed with ongoing investigations.
“When and where they have reasonable grounds to charge former or serving officers to court under our laws, they do not require the permission of the President to do so.
“The position of the President therefore is that investigating agencies which have already commenced the investigation of the two officers removed from office will go on with their work of investigation without any interference or hindrance.
“All other actions will be taken by relevant government agencies”.
“The President who is fully conversant with the provisions of the constitution will not stop the investigation of anyone because he has no such power under our laws. This is a decision of the Supreme Court.
“The President under our laws can, through the Attorney General enter a ‘nolle prosequi’ to stop an on-going trial. He may upon conviction, order a pardon.
“Beyond these, the president cannot order investigation agencies to not investigate anyone and does not intend to do in this or any other circumstance”.
Meanwhile, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s sack of the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Babachir Lawal, and the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke as a face-saving measure and an afterthought.
Fayose said the President only acted because of the outcry of Nigerians, especially over the fraudulent reinstatement of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdullahi Maina.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said, “Enough of using probe panels to shield people accused of corruption in Buhari’s government. Rather, they should be arrested, detained and prosecuted by the EFCC as being done to others perceived as the President enemies.”
“Once again, Nigerians have proved that the power of the president is not greater than that the people who elected him.”
“What Nigerians expected from a President who rode to power on the basis of integrity is a total cleansing of his government, not setting up panel to investigate corruption allegations involving his men and reluctantly sacking a few of them because of public outcry”.
“As far as I am concerned, sacking the SGF and NIA Director General is just an afterthought and it is not enough. Let them be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution just like other Nigerians that they have accused of corruption.
“Apart from prosecuting the sacked officials, Nigerians are interested in the full details of the report on the $43 million discovered in an apartment at Osbourne Towers, Ikoyi. The report should be made public.
“They also want to know what happened to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu’s allegation of award of $25 billion contracts without following due process against the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Dr. Maikanti Baru.
“Nigerians are interested in the report of the panel that looked into the Department of State Service (DSS) report that indicted Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu of corruption.
“They want to know why the former Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, who was accused of corruption by the Senate, removed from office unceremoniously and declared wanted is now the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos.
“Also, the people are interested in the rationale behind the appointment of Ahmed Gambo Saleh; the Supreme Court Registrar who was indicted and put on trial for alleged over N2 billion fraud as the Secretary of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee.
“Most importantly, Nigerians are not carried away by the sack of Babachir Lawal and Oke. Rather, they want to know what President Buhari has done to those behind the fraudulent reinstatement of Maina since report on the reinstatement was submitted last week Tuesday as directed by the President.
“Not until President Buhari fumigates his own bedroom and rid it of corruption, it will remain in the mindset of the people that President Buhari is aiding and abetting corruption, and only acts when it becomes difficult for him to close his ears to the outcry of Nigerians.”
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