Better late than never, the saying goes. It may have taken several months but finally, President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended with immediate effect, the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Modibbo Kawu.
Remember Kawu had been recommended for suspension September last year after months of investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) over corruption and intent to defraud the federal government.
However Kawu did not only retain his seat, but exacted revenge, not least against his deputy and other staff of NBC who dared to testify against him in court. Following the indefinite suspension given to former Director General, by the President, his deputy, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba whom he redeployed and effectively demoted has been directed to take over as the most senior director of the commission, who is In a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe. Prof. Idacahaba was asked to oversee the operations of the commission, pending when a substantial Director General would be appointed
It went against the ethics of justice that Kawu would sit atop the affairs of the NBC while he facing trial for criminal wrong doing. However, he has now been sent packing.
The ICPC on May 2, 2019 arraigned Kawu and two others, Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa, over alleged N2.5 billion fraud. The trio, who are being prosecuted on 12-count charges, allegedly conspired with each other to use the position of Kawu to confer a corrupt advantage on Omoluwa, his friend and associate.
Kawu allegedly asked Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, to approve payment of N2.5 billion to Pinnacle Communications Ltd owned by Omoluwa as “Seed Grant” under the Digital Switch-Over Programme of the federal government.
Mohammed had told anti-graft investigators that he approved the payment based on expert advice he received from the NBC. The anti-graft agency charged Kawu for allegedly “deceiving” Mohammed to sign the deal.
Kawu should face his trial squarely and prove his innocence, until then he should swallow the bitter pill of suspension, which turns out to be worse than what he meted out to his deputy and others.