A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal, was on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, arraigned before Justice Okeke of the Federal High Court in Abuja on a 10-count charge bordering on fraud.

Lawal was first detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before his appearance in court.

Arraigned alongside Lawal were Hamidu David Lawal, Sulaiman Abubakar, Apeh John Monday, Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited.

Lawal was accused of awarding a contract worth N544, 119, 925.36 for the removal of invasive grass species in the northeast, to a company in which he retains considerable interest.

President Muhammadu Buhari with Babachir Lawal when he was Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) (Presidency)

On April 19, 2017, President Buhari suspended Lawal pending the outcome of investigations into the allegation bordering on conflict of interest.  

On October 30, 2017, Buhari sacked Lawal as SGF alongside then Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb Ayo Oke.

Lawal was first indicted by an ad-hoc senate committee set up to investigate the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

'Blessing in disguise'

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, September 17, 2018, Lawal had said his dismissal from government has been a blessing in disguise as he's now earning more money than he was before he was appointed SGF.

He said, "Let me shock you, before I came into government, I have been in business, I was a very successful businessman. I am a world-renowned IT consultant and I have a very large farm, spanning over 1,000 hectares, which I abandoned to join governance.

"I was earning N930, 000 monthly as the SGF, now that I have returned to my farm and reactivated it after my sack, I now have 4,000 hectares under cultivation.

President Buhari and Babachir Lawal (Presidency)

"Last year, I earned close to half a billion naira from my farm proceeds, I have a cattle ranch that I am developing gradually and I am back to IT consultancy, life is now good.

"Everything that happened to a man is for his own good; my sack I would say is rather a blessing in disguise."

Lawal has also repeatedly maintained his innocence, saying the charges against him were false.