By Clifford Ndujihe, Deputy Political Editor
THE polity is still astir over President Muhammadu Buhari’s sack of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke. President Buhari suspended the former SGF on April 19, 2017, over graft and alleged involvement in the N200 million grass-cutting contract of Presidential Initiative in the North East, PINE. The NIA DG was suspended over the discovery of N13 billion in an Ikoyi apartment, said to belong to NIA and a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was set up to investigate them.
Apart from sacking them, the President handed them over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC. The move is still eliciting commendations from eminent Nigerians and groups in the country. However, while saluting President Buhari, some leaders have urged him to tackle a series of other graft allegations against some elected and appointed members of the administration, to deepen the war against corruption.
War against corruption
Apart from the Lawal and Oke cases, the reinstatement and redeployment into the civil service of Mr. Abdulrasheed Mains, former head of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, who had been in hiding after being declared wanted by the EFCC, for alleged N100 billion pension scam, is still raising dust in the polity. The Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, SAN; Interior Minister, Lt. General Abdulrahaman Dambazzau, retd., and Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Oyo-Ita, have traded words over their roles in Maina’s recall.
President Buhari ordered Maina’s sack but not without the Presidency blaming the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for his recall. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Malam Garba Shehu, described Maina as one of the monsters created by the PDP, adding that some influential officials loyal to the previous government may have been the invisible hands in the scandal that saw Maina’s return.
There is also the messy fight between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Group Managing Director, GMD, Mr. Maikanti Baru. Kachikwu’s petition to President Muhamnadu Buhari, accusing Mr. Baru of insubordination, reorganising the corporation, awarding contracts to the tune if $26 billion and making appointments without input from the minister and the NNPC Board, which Kachikwu chairs, brought the simmering feud to public knowledge.
Kachikwu said he took to petition writing, after many botched attempts to see President Buhari one-on-one. The Kachikwu-Baru tango elicited controversies over whether or not Buhari approved the NNPC contract while on medical vacation in London with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo taking responsibility. Apart from Kachikwu and Baru other fights between and among elected and appointed officials of the President Buhari-led Administration bordering on corruption include: the Senate versus EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu; the Senate versus the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Professor Itself Sagay, SAN; the Senate versus Customs CG, Col Hamid Ali; Police IG versus Senator Isah Hamman Misau; and the graft petition against the SGF following spats in the presidency.
There are also the allegations of Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai and his two wives buying houses worth thousands of dollars in Dubai; of President Buhari Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari collecting N500m bribe from MTN to reduce the company’s fine.
Nigerians want total cleansing of Buhari’s govt — Fayose
Speaking on the sack of Lawal and Oke, Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose said it was face-saving and an afterthought, carried out ‘’because of the outcry of Nigerians, especially over the fraudulent reinstatement of Maina.”
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said: “What Nigerians expected from a President who rode to power on the basis of integrity is a total cleansing of his government, not setting up panel to investigate corruption allegations involving his men and reluctantly sacking a few of them because of public outcry.
“As far as I am concerned, sacking the SGF and NIA Director General is just an afterthought and it is not enough. Let them be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution just like other Nigerians that they have accused of corruption. Apart from prosecuting the sacked officials, Nigerians are interested in the full details of the report on the $43 million discovered in an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos. The report should be made public.
“They also want to know what happened to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu’s allegation of award of $25 billion contracts without following due process against the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Dr. Maikanti Baru.
“Nigerians are interested in the report of the panel that looked into the Department of State Service (DSS) report that indicted Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu of corruption. They want to know why the former Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, who was accused of corruption by the Senate, removed from office unceremoniously and declared wanted is now the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos.
“Also, the people are interested in the rationale behind the appointment of Ahmed Gambo Saleh; the Supreme Court Registrar who was indicted and put on trial for alleged over N2 billion fraud as the Secretary of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee.
“Most importantly, Nigerians are not carried away by the sack of Babachir Lawal and Oke. Rather, they want to know what President Buhari has done to those behind the fraudulent reinstatement of Maina since report on the reinstatement was submitted last week Tuesday as directed by the President.”