UPDATE: Buhari suspends SGF, NIA DG

•Osinbajo heads probe committee •I'm unaware of suspension —SGF •As weeping Oke denied entry to president's office

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Secretary by Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Ambassador Ayo Oke and has ordered a full scale investigation into their activities.

Lawal’s suspension is in connection with contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) while that of Oke is in connection with the staff of currencies recently discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a flat on Osborne Road in Lagos.

The president has raised a three man committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to investigate the suspended officials.

It has two weeks to submit its report.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, on the issue in Abuja on Wednesday, said the men will be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

It added that the most senior officers in their offices to take temporary charge of their affairs.

The statement read: “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.

“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 Ayo 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 the Vice President, 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.”

Meanwhile, the suspended SGF, has said that he was unaware of his suspension as he emerged from the Office of the Vice President moments after the development was announced.

Approached by State House correspondents for his reaction after his meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, he said he had not heard of the suspension.

Below is his exchange with reporters.

Your suspension has just been announced. How will you react to the development?
Who announced it?
The Presidency
Then ask them. Why are you asking me? Who is the Presidency?
Have you been informed of the suspension?
By who? About what? What about you? Have you been informed?
Yes sir.
By who?
By the Presidency sir.
I have not seen it. I should have been given… I have not seen the press release so I cannot comment on it.
It is currently trending online. Are you doubting the authenticity of the statement?
I have not seen it.
Tell us the outcome of your meeting with the Vice-President sir.
I am always here. I always meet the Vice-President. I used to come here even before I was made SGF.
The entry of the suspended NIA DG, Oke, was dramatic as he was not able to see either President Muhammadu Buhari or Vice President Osinbajo.

It was not clear why he could not enter the Vice President’s office through the Administration Entrance used by staff and visitors as he attempted to go through the back gate reserved for the Vice President.

But Oke, who was seen shedding tears, was denied the use of the gate causing his convoy of two Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) to turn towards the Service Chiefs Gate ostensibly in an attempt to see the president.

Again, he was denied entry.

Oke thereafter turned the vehicles around and drove out of the Villa under the full glare of television cameras.

About 30 minutes later, the Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, ordered journalists out of the Administration Gate to enable the suspended NIA DG to return to see Osinbajo without prying eyes.

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About Online Editor 2015 Articles
Seyi Gesinde, Online Editor, Tribune Online, the online publication of African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) PLC.