President Muhammadu Buhari has been under fire by the opposition, which accuse him of being selective in his fight against corruption. All those who hold this view say that only members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are being persecuted in the name of prosecution.But President Buhari proved his critics wrong during the week, precisely on Wednesday, when he demonstrated that there are no sacred cows in his anti-corruption war.The week started in the Villa on a rather calm and sluggish note, apparently because of the Easter holidays.
Nothing remarkable happened on Tuesday. On Wednesday, as is the usual practice, was the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, but the meeting surprisingly didnt hold.
The rumour mill went on overdrive again with claims that the presidents health may have gotten worse. That Buhari did not attend last weeks FEC meeting (so they think) was all the peddlers of the health rumours needed to substantiate their point.
Issues of his health began to crop up again.However, the senior special assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, tackled the speculations. He told journalists that the FEC meeting could not hold due to issues of logistics. He explained that the meeting was cancelled because FEC secretariat workers were unable to distribute the necessary documents for the meeting as a result of the Easter holidays.
Shehu pointed out that by practice, the ministers must receive memos two or three days ahead of meetings to enable them undertake research, if necessary.Just as State House correspondents were wondering what other assignment would take place that Wednesday, a statement was released by the office of the special adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, Mr Femi Adesina, announcing that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal and Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke have been suspended.The statement reads: President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE). The President has also directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigations.In a related development, the President has ordered a full scale investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim.Obviously unaware of his suspension, Lawal was in a meeting with the vice president when the statement by Adesina, announcing his suspension was released.Emerging from the meeting shortly after the news had gone virile, Lawal confirmed that he didnt know of his suspension before State House correspondents accosted him on the staircase leading to Osinbajos office.Asked if he was aware of his suspension by the Presidency, Lawal said: Which Presidency’ As correspondents continued to fire more questions, the reality of the development dawned on him and his countenance immediately changed as he pushed his way through them to leave.Still not getting the desired responses, the reporters continued to throw more questions at him, and he soberly asked: Can I be allowed to enter my car’Minutes after the suspended SGF drove off, the Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who was also asked to go on suspension along with Lawal by President Muhammadu Buhari drove into the State House to meet with Vice President Osinbajo.But on sighting State House correspondents, he immediately retreated and was rushed to a corner so as not to be seen and interviewed by the anxious press. When the correspondents rushed outside the entrance in search of the embattled DG, he was quickly pushed into his car and driven off towards President Buharis office but he was turned back as the security men at the gate refused to allow him access, forcing him to hurriedly leave the Villa.It took the intervention of Adesina who had to appeal to the correspondents to retire to their work room so as to make the atmosphere conducive for the estranged NIA-DG to have his meeting with Osinbajo.
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