SAN FRANCISCO, April 20, (THEWILL) – The Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has expressed dissatisfaction with the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, stating that he should have been arrested instead.
This was as it described the suspension of Lawal as well as the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ayo Oke, as an attempt to dress up a “failed anti-corruption war”.
On Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the suspension of the two. While Lawal was suspended over allegations of violations of law and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE, Oke is to be investigated over the circumstances in which the NIA came to be in possession of the Ikoyi cash as well as how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA.
THEWILL had exclusively reported that the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, had claimed ownership of the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 seized last Wednesday by the EFCC from Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos, said to be owned by ex-National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Adamu Muazu.
But in a statement issued on Thursday by its spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, the Makarfi faction of the PDP expressed alarm “at the suspension of the SGF at a time that Nigerians and the international community are excitedly enjoying the theatre of the absurd playing out with the recovery of huge sums of money without owners”.
“Now the APC-led federal government suddenly realised the corruption allegation levelled against the SGF; and instead of arresting and detaining him as the government has been doing to PDP members and other Nigerians, he was rather suspended and a committee set-up to investigate him. This is to say the least, double standard.
“Some Nigerians have applauded the suspension as indicating a new commitment by President Buhari to fight the anti-corruption war without fear or favour but we are constrained to point out that it is another ruse to deceive Nigerians and dress up the failed anti-corruption war in a new garb,” the statement read in part.
While stressing that there was no transparency in the setting up of a committee comprising cabinet members to investigate the SGF, Adeyeye said, “We are at a loss why the president would set up a panel comprising members of his cabinet to investigate other senior very powerful members of the same executive.
“Where is the transparency in that? Not that we doubt the integrity of the vice-president (for whom we have the utmost respect) and other panelists but it appears the matter is being settled within the government closet without the transparency, independence and impartiality necessary in a situation like this. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to have been done.
“This is especially important given the fact that we recently traveled this road when the president asked the attorney-general to investigate the SGF (on this same matter) and Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC. That investigation cleared the SGF of all wrong doings in the grass cutting scandal as stated above.
“It is amazing that the president who swiftly accepted the recommendations of the attorney-general would now suddenly set-up another panel comprising the same attorney-general to investigate the matter again.
“The pertinent question is whether the president has now realised that the initial investigation by the attorney-general was not thorough or a cover-up to protect a fellow cabinet member.”
The PDP faction demanded the setting up of an independent commission of inquiry “comprising of people of integrity and competence”, pointing out that it was only by this way that they and Nigerians would be assured that a thorough investigation would be carried out.
According to Adeyeye, “Against this backdrop, we are constrained to express our lack of confidence in the new panel headed by the vice president.
“Instead, we demand an independent commission of inquiry comprising eminent Nigerians of proven records of integrity, independence and competence.
“This is the only way by which we can have confidence that a thorough and impartial investigation will be conducted and by which the president also can reassure the general public that there are no sacred cows in his government for whom there are different set of rules. The present situation amounts to the government being the judge in its own cause. We do not believe that justice can be served that way.”