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Osinbajo meets suspended SGF Lawal, NIA Director General evades journalists

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has met with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, barely an hour after the announcement of Mr. Lawal’s suspension from office.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal  briefing State House Correspondents after leaving the Presidential Villa Abuja after the announcement of his suspension in Abuja on Wednesday (19/4/17).02296/19/4/2017/Callistus Ewelike/NAN
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal briefing State House Correspondents after leaving the Presidential Villa Abuja after the announcement of his suspension in Abuja on Wednesday (19/4/17).02296/19/4/2017/Callistus Ewelike/NAN

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the closed-door meeting is connected with the work of the Presidential Committee set up to investigate allegations of misconduct against the SGF.

When accosted, Mr. Lawal refused to comment on the outcome of his meeting with the vice-president.

The Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ayo Oke, who was also suspended, was seen around the Vice President’s office immediately after the departure of the SGF.

The NIA boss, who noticed the presence of State House correspondents, however turned back and attempted to pass through Vice President’s exit gate.

He was prevented from going out through that point by security officials; the security also stopped Mr. Oke from passing through the service chief’s gate.

The NIA boss later left the Presidential Villa without seeing the Vice-President.

President Buhari on Wednesday ordered the immediate suspension of Messrs Lawal and Oke, pending the outcome of investigation of allegations levelled against them.

The presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the president ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against Mr. Lawal in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE.

The President also 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.

“The investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.

“The President has also directed the suspension of the Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation,” Mr. Adesina said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the NIA claimed ownership of the over N13 billion after the EFCC announced the money was found at an apartment in Ikoyi based on a tip by a whistle blower.

A court has since ordered that the funds be temporarily forfeited to the Nigerian governemnt.

A three-person committee comprising the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser, and headed by Mr. Osinbajo is to investigate Mr. Lawal ad Mr. Oke.

The committee is to submit its report to the president within 14 days.

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