By Tobi SoniyiÂ in Abuja
The South-east Advocacy Group (SEAG) has described as a â€˜wicked lieâ€™ the claims by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, that the immediate past Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, refused to quit office after her removal.
The group accused the presidential aide of diverting attention from the real issue, which it said, was the announcement of Alhaji Aliyu Dikko from Kaduna, as Anohu-Amazuâ€™s successor in a clear breach of Section 21(2) of Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, which requires the president to appoint a person from the South-east to complete her remaining tenure.
In a statement signed by its Deputy National Coordinator, Mr. Francis Nwodo, and made available to journalists, the group said: â€œIt is on record that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) announced Anohu-Amazuâ€™s removal on April 13, 2017.
Â â€œWe also have it on record, as was widely reported in the media, that she summoned an exit meeting onÂ April 18, being the first workday after the announcement and Easter holiday where she directed all heads of department to prepare handover notes pending the receipt of her disengagement letter directing her on whom to hand over to.
â€œIt is now public knowledge that the said letter datedÂ April 20 arrived after the close of work on April 21, while she handed over to the most senior officer as directed in the letter onÂ April 24. This order of events does not portray a sit-tight mentality as falsely canvassed by Obla, but further amplifies the breach of Section 21(1)(j).
Â â€œMoreover, contrary to Oblaâ€™s claim that she was removed based on Section 21(1)(j) of the PRA 2014, it is public knowledge that her removal letter relied on Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution to negate the consequences of her removal, which violated Section 21(1)(j) on written notice and Section 21(2) on the appointment of a successor not from the South-east.
â€œOur major concern, therefore, is for Obla and the presidency to address the real issue of appointing Â Dikko from North-west as Anohu-Amazuâ€™s replacement in contravention of Section 21(2), which provides that â€˜in the event of a vacancy, the presidentÂ shallÂ appoint a replacement from the geopolitical zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.â€™â€
The group said failure to make the necessary redresses would amount to impunity and a furtherance of exclusion of the South-east from the scheme of things in the country.