President Buhari suspends Secretary to government, NIA boss

Timothy Choji, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari 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 has also directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigations.

In a related development, the President has 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.

According to a Presidency statement: “The investigation is also to inquire 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.”

President  Buhari also directed the suspension of the Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation.

A three-man Committee headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is to conduct both investigations.

Other members of the committee are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (Retired).

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.

Meanwhile, the suspended Secretary to the Government, Mr Babachir Lawal and the NIA boss made brief appearances at the State House on Wednesday.

First to visit was the SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, who told Journalists he was not aware of the suspension.

Shortly after he left, the suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency NIA, Mr Ayo Oke also drove into the Presidential Villa.

On his part, Mr Oke could not speak to Journalists, as his aids shielded him completely.

Both Officers held separate brief meetings with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his office.