Four months after a committee was set up to investigate Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke, Nigerians are still waiting for its recommendations.
On April 19, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the suspension of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal and Director General (DG) of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.
Lawal was forced to exit office after the senate accused him of enriching himself from funds earmarked for the reconstruction of a terrorist ravaged north east region of Nigeria.
The senate had recommended Lawal's sack after he allegedly awarded a grass cutting contract worth N200M, in Yobe State, to a company in which he retains substantial interest.
Oke was suspended after the NIA claimed ownership of a staggering $50M stash of cash concealed in an apartment in upscale Ikoyi, Lagos.
The agency had claimed that the money was for covert operations.
HOME OF CASH
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives raided an apartment at the Osborne Towers Ikoyi on April 12, 2017; before making a show of their humongous find.
The money has since been returned to the coffers of the federal government as directed by a Judge.
In the statement announcing the suspension of Lawal and Oke, the presidency also detailed that it will be setting up a committee whose mandate will be to investigate the duo and recommend sanctions.
That committee, the presidency announced, was going to be headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with Attorney-General Abubakar Malami and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno as members.
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The committee was given 14 days to file in its report.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Some of the committee’s terms of reference included:
1. "A full scale investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the EFCC in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim".
"Enquiring 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".
While the Osinbajo committee has since completed its assignment--with Aso Rock insiders confiding in Pulse that an outright dismissal of the duo was recommended--the report is yet to be made public or acted upon, four months after.
BUHARI HAS FINAL SAY
An apprehensive public fears that the report like others before it, will end up in a dusty bureaucracy cabinet--to be feasted on by rats and roaches.
Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has threatened to sue acting president Osinbajo if the report of the investigation isn't made public and acted on.
However, in an exclusive chat, a top official in the Buhari presidency who pleaded that his name be left out of this story because he hadn’t been authorised to comment on the subject, told Pulse that only Buhari can act on the report.
The official also added that the report will only be made public when Buhari returns from what has turned out to be an open ended medical vacation.
“It is the Vice president that headed the investigative team and he can’t be the Judge”, the official told Pulse. “His brief was to submit the report as investigator, abi?”
The official also said it’s ethically wrong for Osinbajo to act on a report he helped put together.
“Acting president Osinbajo was the one who carried out the investigation; who headed the investigative panel alongside others and ethically, he can’t do anything about it.
“He’s supposed to submit the report to the president and that he has done. He was asked to head the investigative team, so it’s the president that will take action on this report, not the acting president”.
Pressed on whether the president has seen the report, the official responded in the affirmative.
“Buhari has seen the report, but no action can be taken until he returns. It’s not as though Osinbajo can’t take action on the report. He can. But as head of the investigative team, it’s ethically wrong for him to take action on the report. His panel can only recommend and that it has done”.
Pulse also asked our source if he is privy to the recommendations in the report.
“I have no idea about what was recommended..Allah...I haven’t seen what is in the report”, he swore.
A spokesperson in the presidency declined comments for this story.
President Buhari left Nigeria for the UK on May 7, 2017 and is reportedly convalescing rather nicely.
The Nigerian leader hasn’t set foot in his homeland in 90 days.
State Governors and government talking heads have said the president will return to Nigeria "very soon" ....when doctors hand him the all clear.