Again, Presidency Asks Malami to Rein in Obono-Obla

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By Tobi Soniyi

As the presidency continues to receive petitions against the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, it has directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to query him.

The directive to query Obono-Obla was contained in a letter dated April 11, 2018, and written by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice-President, Mr. Ade Ipaye.

A copy of the letter which was sighted by THISDAY, stated: “I am directed to refer to your letter No: SGF/PS/SPIPRPP/733/1 dated 16 March 2018, on the above-stated subject, and inform you that His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, has accorded the submission due consideration.

“Flowing from this, I am to advise that you initiate appropriate action to request the Chairman of the Panel to respond to the issues raised in the several petitions written against him within a specific time frame. Further, his response earlier conveyed vide the attached letter dated 17 November, 2017.

“In view of the apparent need to review the mandate and methods of the committee, I am also to advise that you request a detailed report of the activities of the committee from inception, endorsed by all members, to provide the requisite basis for informed action.”

This is not the first time the presidency would direct the AGF to call Obono-Obla to order.

Last year, the presidency‎ had directed Obono-Obla to stop carrying out any operation in his capacity as head of the panel.

Despite the warning, the presidency continued to be inundated with petitions against Obono-Obla.

Salihu Isah, the media assistant to the AGF, in a statement last year had said Obono-Obla’s actions at the time were contrary to the Act which established the panel.

Isah said his statement was based on a letter dated November 1, 2017, and addressed to the panel’s chairman by the justice minister.

The presidency then said the activities of the panel also contravened established administrative procedures and protocols in the nation’s civil service structure.

It directed that the panel must ensure strict compliance with its directives.

Obno-Obla was also instructed to henceforth seek clearance from the AGF before granting any media interview or issuing press statements on official matters.

The letter had directed him to promptly provide a detailed up-to-date report on the activities of the panel to the minister for onward transmission to the vice-president.