Citing Double Standards, PDP Says SGF, NIA DG Should Have Been Arrested

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Ahmed Makarfi
Ahmed Makarfi
  • Demands independent probe panel as Magu meets Osinbajo

 

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

 Citing double standards, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi has rejected the three-man investigative panel constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke, adding that both men should have been arrested by the law enforcement agencies.

Lawal and Oke were suspended by the president on Wednesday for the alleged mismanagement of the funds meant for humanitarian aid in the North-east and the discovery of N13.3 billion in an apartment in Ikoyi by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), respectively.

The president also set up a panel to be headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, with the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), as members to investigate both men.

Reacting, the opposition party said while Nigerians may see the action as signposting a new commitment by Buhari to fight corruption without fear or favour, the PDP sees it as “another ruse to deceive Nigerians and dress up the failed anti-corruption war in a new garb”.

In a statement issued by the spokesman of the caretaker committee, Dayo Adeyeye, the party said that it has no confidence in the three-man probe panel, because its members are in the same cabinet with the SGF and are most likely to be biased.

It said the present situation amounts to the government being a judge in its own case.

“We do not believe that justice can be served that way. 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 government. Where is the transparency in that?” PDP asked.

According to the party, the Senate had recommended the resignation of the SGF in December 2016, after its investigation into contract awards for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-east and had asked Buhari to prosecute him.

“But in a swift reaction, President Buhari, in a letter dated January 17, 2017, discredited the Senate recommendations and refused to sack or prosecute Mr. Lawal and instead cleared him of all wrong doing.

“In this context, we are alarmed 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 has 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 suspended and a committee set-up to investigate him. This is to say the least, double standards.

“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 travelled down this road when the president asked the attorney general to investigate the SGF (on this same matter) and (Ibrahim) Magu, the acting Chairman of the EFCC.

“That investigation cleared the SGF of all wrong doing in the grass cutting scandal.

“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 party stated.

PDP said it was pertinent to know if 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.

“If that is the case, then the president needs to come clean with Nigerians by formally repudiating and rejecting the report. He must then tell Nigerians why the author of such a dastard, useless and worthless report should be included in the new panel.

“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 sets of rules.

“The present situation amounts to the government being the judge in its own case. We do not believe that justice can be served that way,” said the party.

As the PDP reacted to the investigative panel set up by the president, activities in the Office of the SGF ran smoothly yesterday despite Babachir’s absence.

However, Magu was seen at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, entering the vice-president’s office.

When he was asked by State House correspondents if he had come to brief the vice-president on the cash discovery in the Ikoyi apartment, he said he was there for the assets recovery meeting.

Meanwhile, the presidency thursday condemned news reports alleging that the suspended DG of the NIA had cried during his visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the president’s media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, who spoke on what actually transpired, described the reports as “unfair and uncharitable”.

He stated that witnesses to Oke’s visit to the vice-president on the fateful day and his own personal account clearly indicated that the DG did not cry as widely reported in the social and some traditional media.

Shehu, who narrated how the incident happened, said: “The widespread reports that Oke of the National Intelligence Agency had cried are unfair and uncharitable.

“Witnesses to his visit to the vice-president and his own personal account, said that Oke arrived to a swarm of journalists which he wanted to avoid.

“He asked his driver to make a quick turn and instead, he headed to the Glass House, the headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS).

“From there, he put a call to the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and requested that he help to clear the journalists so that he can make a quiet entry to the VP’s office and that is what happened.

“In an SUV with darkened windows, no one could have seen an occupant crying.”

Osinbajo on Wednesday had met separately with Lawal and Oke, barely an hour after the announcement of their suspension.

The closed-door meeting was in connection with the work of the panel set up to investigate allegations of misconduct against both of them.

The SGF refused to comment on the outcome of his meeting with the vice-president.

 

  • Milito

    Nigeria , a theatre of the absurd! What a shame this administration has eventually metamorphosed to. I am heart broken because we first derided the PDP and now the APC we hoped on have proved worst and more disastrous . I think the issue in Nigeria is beyond partisan affiliation but more cultural and forgive me to say even spiritual!

    We need a revolution or restructuring ….as simple as that !

    • kinsly

      What are you waiting for? Start the revolution and stop hiding behind your keyboard.

      • darebakky

        Abi oooo my Broda, hahahahaha. I like your response jooo

    • Mexy

      I agree

  • Benny agafa

    My joy is that, APC is bold enough to suspend its member but PDP under Jona could not even equation “learner” in the office talk more SGF. APC is working.

  • MANOFgod

    Did the AGF really “absolve the SGF of all wrong doing in the grass cutting scandal”? I recall that the demand for the sack of SGF was refused on the spurious excuse that the Senate report was interim, a decision i suspected was taken by the “cabal” purporting it to come from Buhari. Now the real Buhari is talking.

  • xto

    The investigators are all APC members. More investigators who are experienced and independent shouild be added to bring the number to 5 or 7. These three men may not be able conduct invstigation alone. Also, 40 days is quite a long time. Three weeks is sufficient to come up with areport.

    • Jah Ninety Ninety

      I think the timeline is 14 days

  • RumuPHC

    The spokesman of the caretaker committee of the PDP is absolutely right in his observation. The suspension of SGF and DG NIA by the presidency smack of double standards .

    The allegations against both officers are not administrative issues but on corrupt practices and criminal in nature. They should have been handed over to the EFCC for investigation and possible prosecution just like the former NSA .

    • Zico

      Even before Dasuki was handed over for prosecution, a committee on arms procurement was put in place and investigated the matter. There is no double standard here. After all, Oke is not an APC member and was even appointed by a PDP Government.

      • Daniel

        Are you insinuating the Senate ,with its constitutional powers, lacks the legal capacity to indict a person for criminal offences?

        This so-called committee headed by the VP is doing a concluded job.

        Just hand the duo to the EFCC for prosecution, if they have no skeletons in their cupboards.

        Hypocrisy is one of the signposts of this government.

      • Dauda

        There was no committee. Name the head and members of the committee

  • josvinco

    Tales of my country would make one cry… The laws of the land should be able to take its due process. Why can’t the law enforcement agencies effectively investigate the wrong doings of corruption levelled against these top government functionaries? If the likes of Dansuki where to be in good books , he would have longed be released and cleared despite court rulings. In a culture of injustice , corruption thrives and this begets future uprising. We are beginning to be a laughing stock of the global community.

    • emmanuel

      Whether Dansuki or Oke, they are wicked men. I can only praise APC led administration for what it has done bcos what I thought was impossible in the past administrations is made possible now. To also suspend SGF was a tough thing to think of in past administrations. It was a carry go affairs. In last administration CBN gov was suspended for saying what was before him, but the accused remained in office to coverup or manipulate the audit processes. Today huge monies are traced to thesame accused and her cohorts. Let us praise when have need to do so. Remember the same constitution has been there in theses administrations

      • Milito

        I disagree with you . There is nothing to praise here except God who is exposing and ridiculing all of them. Beyond your sentiments, tell me how this administration or the former or any of the past has really improved our life….

        The truth is they have all failed us and the worst is that they have also succeeded in depleting our mental capacities and thus dividing our cohesion as a people which is why we all come here and take sides with them.

        All of them are the same . The same actors have been in government since 20 years ago . The difference is that they have only been rotating their roles ….if we don’t wake up, they will still come up in another name and role in the next dispensation and the gullible followers will again start taking sides.

        • emmanuel

          You cannot all at once phase them out but can gradually achieve that.