Buhari’ll decide Babachir Lawal, Ayo Oke’s fate, says Osinbajo

Whether or not the duo of Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke will return to their respective offices after being probed by the Yemi Osinbajo-led panel is entirely the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The duo had been tainted with corruption allegations, following which a committee was raised to probe their activities as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) respectively.

Both men had since been suspended from office awaiting the outcome of the panel’s investigation.

Having completed its assignment, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday submitted the Report to President Muhammadu Buha­ri.

Lawal was suspended and in­vestigated for allegedly breaching due process and influencing grass-cutting contract awards running into millions of naira under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), to his companies.

Oke was also suspended and quizzed to explain the $43 million he claimed belonged to the NIA but was uncovered by the Econom­ic and Financial Crimes Commis­sion (EFCC) in a private resi­dence in Ikoyi, Lagos.

After submitting the report, Osinbajo, who chaired the three-man probe panel, spoke to State House correspondents, but refused to disclose the recommendations made in the report.

He, however, assured Nigeri­ans that just as his committee was fair and impartial in its work, Buha­ri would do likewise in taking a de­cision on the report.

Proded to divulge a bit of what the report contained, Osinbajo replied: “Of course, not. I mean this is a report which contains recommendations to the President. It is a fact-finding committee as you know and what our terms of reference were was to find out, based on the fact available to us and based on the interviews of witnesses, what transpired in those cases of the report: one in­volving the SGF and the other the DG of NIA.

“We have now concluded that and we submitted a full report with recommendations to the President. We cannot of course, give you any kind of details because the Presi­dent has to look at the report, study it and then make his own decisions based on that report,” he said.

On whether the public stand­ing of those probed could affect the final decision, the Vice President said, “as you can imagine, we are al­ways fair-minded and the whole approach is to ensure that justice is done in all cases.

“It is in the interest of the gov­ernment and also the interest of the nation that things are done proper­ly and that there is due process and that we are not unfair. You can be sure that we will do the right thing.”

He also was not forthcoming on how long Nigerians would wait for the final decision, but stressed that “it is a very detailed report as a matter of fact; and the President has to study the report and make decisions.”

Buhari had raised the investiga­tive panel on April 19, 2017, follow­ing allegations of corruption against the two men, and gave it a 14-day timeline to turn in its report.

Other members of the panel are Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and National Security Ad­viser (NSA), Babagana Monguno. The report was expected to be pre­sented to Buhari on May 8, 2017, only for the president to depart to London on medical vacation a day before.


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