Nairametrics| The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, could not be having a worse day. Just as it looked like he was immune to all calls for his removal, President Muhamadu Buhari has eventually suspended him. His suspension may be surprising to many, but this timeline shows that Babachir Lawal always had it coming.
Lawal claims lawyers and judges are frustrating efforts of the Federal Government to fight corruption and impunity. “From recent revelations, corruption is usually aided and facilitated by conniving civil servants and professionals in the public and private sectors. It is no news that most stolen funds are laundered through our banks and other offshore entities that are owned and managed by professionals.” Pulse claims Lawal said through his representative, Tor Tsavsar.
October 4, 2016
The Senate takes a decision to investigate monies released to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) so far and as well the alleged diversion of grains and other food items from the Strategic Grains Reservers, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other sources for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East, Pulse reports.
December 2, 2016
Senate orders Lawal to appear before its ad-hoc committee on IDPS in Borno to answer questions regarding his involvement in the IDPs corruption saga. He does not appear.
December 5, 2016.
Vanguard reveals Lawal allegedly awarded spurious contract of N220 million for the removal of wild grass and the provision of 115 hectares of simplified village irrigation in Yobe State and how the company allegedly subsequently transferred the money into another firm, Rholavision Engineering Limited, said to be owned by the SGF.
Lawal claims that the Senate is ‘abusing its powers’ by investigating the claim. “Who is investigating? The Senate? These are also part of the issues of separation of powers that people abuse. I do know that I don’t have immunity to accuse you without proof but the members of the National Assembly can say anything on the floor and are immune to prosecution but people are abusing it and in this case people are maliciously abusing and wickedly abused their privileges in the National Assembly.” he asserted.
December 14, 2016
Senate calls for resignation and prosecution of Lawal, following the presentation of interim report of the Adhoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East, by the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Shehu Sani.
The report alleged contravention of the provisions of Public Procurement Act and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations pertaining to award of contracts by Lawal.
Senate found out that Lawal resigned directorship of Rholavision after he had executed the contract and awarded the company with a consultancy. He was still a signatory to the account.
December 17, 2016
Lawal dismisses the Senate’s call for his resignation, labels it as “balderdash”
December 19, 2016
Buhari orders Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top official involved in misappropriating funds meant for IDPs in Borno, reveals Daily Trust.
January 24, 2017
President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to bow to pressure from the Senate to suspend Lawal. He accused the committee of failing to give the SGF a fair hearing, adding that the Senate report was signed by only three out of the nine committee members. This effectively clears Lawal of all wrongdoing, according to Vanguard.
Senator Shehu Sani responds by claiming President Buhari uses ‘deoderants’ to fight corruption in the Executive, Punch says.
March 23, 2017
Lawal refuses to appear before the Senate Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in North East again. He claims that he has filed a suit challenging his summon, Punch reported.
Senate postpones its investigative hearing as Lawal refuses to appear before it.
March 24, 2017
Babachir makes a U-turn, decides to appear. Senate postpones the hearing to ‘a later date’, according to Premium Times
April 19, 2017
President Buhari suspends Lawal and orders an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
A 3-man committee comprising of the Vice-President, Attorney-General of the Federation and National Security Adviser is setup to ivestigate the allegations and report within 2 weeks.
April 24, 2017
Babachir Lawal appears before the Osinbajo-led committee to answer questions regarding the allegations. Lawal claims to come out unruffled.
April 29, 2017
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also appears before the committee to answer questions regarding the release of funds for the projects under contention.