The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, says presidential committee investigating the discovery of $43.4m in Lagos and the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East, is a ploy by President Muhammadu Buhari to give those in question a soft-landing.
The duo of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke, are being probed by the committee.
The committee, which has requested certain documents from Lawal and Oke, is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami and National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, are members.
CACOL in a statement by its Director, Debo Adeniran on Saturday, said while it commends action of the Federal Government for showing interest in tackling corruption, the committee was a waste of time.
CACOL lamented that the AGF has not really impressed many Nigerians by his shoddy handling of issues concerning the issue of the SGF in the past, especially in his conclusions that misled the presidency to believe that Babachir Lawal was not given fair hearing by the Senate committee.
The statement added: “This is where it was of public knowledge that Lawal only sent his secretary to the senators when he was invited and when given the second opportunity, he went to obtain court injunction against Senate invitation.
“It is our belief that if Babachir has any good defense for his action he would have been in a hurry to meet with the Senate committee to clear his name. But we think this is another chance for the AGF to redeem his image by proving critics wrong that he is capable of doing thorough job.
“The body language we are getting from the FG of recent is of a government now buckling down to serious business. We trust that the Vice President, as a man of proven integrity himself, must have assembled a team he believed would midwife foolproof investigation and come up with impeccable findings.
“The country is at the edge of a precipice and I don’t think this government has the time to elongate keeping those who are not in same spirit with it in office.
“There’s no need for the Yemi Osinbajo’’s Panel since the agencies established by the Nigerian laws are available and capable of handling the cases at hand.
“The trio of VP, CJN, NSA all have works of national importance to do; the VP for example has a lot of executive roles to play in supporting the President who is aged and cannot do much runnings around.
“The AGF has a lot of work to do prosecuting cases for the FG, supervising the Anti-Corruption Agencies and other Law Enforcement bodies too and advising the executive on legal cum judicial issues.
“The NSA on the other hand has a lot of security issues to monitor and tackle like the Boko Haram insurgency, Southern Kaduna killings, Militancy in NigerDelta, Ogun and Lagos States, Herdsmen invasion of several communities and several other security issues he needs to monitor and advise the FG on.
“However, while we hopeful of a thorough job, we call on government not to delay in dispensing justice when the crimes are established by the first-instance detectors; in this case, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Crimes, ICPC for the former SGF and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for the former DG NIA.
“The case of Ambassador Femi Oke is both an Economic and a Financial Crime, so his case is expected to be transferred to the EFCC.
“Babachir Lawal’s case on the other hand should be handed to the ICPC because his case bothers on Conflict of Interest, nepotism and misappropriation of Funds.”
“The Presidency should not use bureaucracy of the panel to buy time for these suspected Criminals of the Federal Republic to perfect their strategies of evading justice nor give anyone a soft landing benefits.
“If such is the reason for Osinbajo panel, it will rubbish the whole anti-corruption fight that the Buhari-led Administration is known for as well as the name and records the President, Vice-President and other cabinet members involved have built for themselves over the years.