President Muhammadu Buhari in a recent letter, as his response to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria regarding the indictment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, defended the SGF and gave reasons why he could not remove him from office as requested by the lawmakers.
In December 2016, following the interim report of the Senate ad-hoc committee on “mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East” led by Senator Shehu Sani, the Senate had asked President Buhari to suspend Mr. Lawal and ensure he is probed for allegedly breaching the Nigerian laws in handling contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE).
The Senate ah-hoc committee had stated that Rholavision Nigeria Limited, a company belonging to Mr. Lawal, received contract worth N200million to clear “invasive plant species” in Yobe State.
The lawmakers noted that based on the Nigeria Code of Conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 constitution, Mr. Lawal who remained the company’s director until September last year, a year after his appointment as SGF, breached the law.
An allegation which the SGF vehemently denied describing it as “balderdash”.
However, according to the letter read by the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, Buhari said that the senate did not give Mr. Lawal fair hearing before the indictment. Mr. President stated that neither the SGF nor Rholavision was invited by the senate.
Mr. President also noted that out of nine members of the ad-hoc committee, only three (3) signed, making the report a minority report.
However, Senator Shehu Sani, the leader of the ad-hoc committee noted that Buhari’s claims were wrong, noting that seven (7) members of the committee signed the report and not three (3) as stated by Buhari.
He added that “Corruption in the Judiciary and others is treated with insecticide while corruption in the government is treated with deodorant.”
Shehu also noted that his committee had evidence to back their report and that Buhari’s letter was full of misinformation and falsehood.