Uncertainty over Buhari’s aide, Obono-Obla’s status as police seal off office
There is an uncertainty about the status of a senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the Chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) on the Recovery of Public Property, Mr Obono-Obla, as his Asokoro office has been sealed off since Friday.
Tribune Online sources confirmed that the office, located in Asokoro, Abuja, was sealed on Friday afternoon by some armed police officers.
During an interaction with a senior police source on Sunday night, it was gathered that the directive to seal of the office was given directly by Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Adamu.
It was not immediately verified however, if Obono-Obla was also sacked from office by President Muhammadu Buhari.
As his phone could not be reached, a colleague of the embattled SPIP boss in the Office of Attorney General of the Federation told Tribune Online that Obono-Obla has had a long standing running battle with powerful forces even in the Presidency.
Premium Times had also reported that Mr Obono-Obla was aware of the communication relieving him of his appointment but that he has been dodging it so he could use the holiday period to persuade people close to President Buhari to talk the government into rescinding its decision.
“They have asked ICPC to start investigating corruption allegations around him.
“The police were brought in to restrict movement in the office, so nobody would tamper with evidence while investigation is going on.
“The panel is still in place, it’s only Obla that has been removed,” the source said.
“They have built a case of corruption and overzealousness against him over time, it’s not an emergency action, so it may be difficult for the decision to be rescinded,” the source said further.
Mr Obono-Obla told a correspondent on Sunday “I don’t know about that,” he responded when asked if it was true he had been sacked from office.
“If they removed me, they would give me a letter? Is it not so?”
Mr Obono-Obla, however, confirmed his office had been sealed by the police.
He said he was in his office on Friday but later left for the holidays in his hometown in Cross River State before he received information about the sealing of the office.
“People at the office told me somebody came there, said he is the area commander, he has instructions that nobody should enter and nobody should leave. But that is rubbish. Is that how things are done?
“I am in Cross River, not Abuja. I don’t know what’s happening in Abuja. If they want to remove me, they should give me a letter. I am in Cross River enjoying my holiday,” Mr Obono-Obla said.
The police spokesperson at force headquarters, Frank Mba, did not respond to calls and text message sent to his phone line by a PREMIUM TIMES as at the time of filing this report.
Mr Obono-Obla’s anti-corruption job has often been steeped in controversies which overshadowed some of the successes recorded by his office.
At some point, he had to spend time to fight off allegations that he forged his secondary school certificate.
An ad hoc panel set up by the House of Representatives, December last year, had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Mr Obono-Obla over the forgery allegation.
The panel had also accused Mr Obono-Obla of corruption.
But Mr Obono-Obla had said at the time that the forgery and corruption allegations against him were merely a witch-hunt by people who were uncomfortable with his anti-corruption fight.
Mr Obono-Obla is known in the past to have disobeyed the directive of Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo regarding his anti-corruption job.