President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday ordered the suspension of the chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRP), Okoi Obono-Obla.
The suspension letter, which was signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, directed Obono-Obla to step down from office.
He was as directed to resolve himself to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for questioning,
He is to face probe over allegations of certificate forgery and other corruption-related charges.
The letter by the SGF asked the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, to take charge of the panel meantime, while other members of the panel will however remain in office.
Trouble was said to have started for MObono-Obla on Friday when a detachment of police officers from Force Headquarters descended on his Asokoro office and sealed off the building just after the official closed for the day. It was a preemptive move to block the official from removing evidence, one source familiar with the matter said.
An ad hoc panel set up by the House of Representatives, December last year, had asked President Buhari to sack Obono-Obla on the allegation that he forged his high school certificate. The panel also accused the official of corruption.
But Obono-Obla had said at the time that the forgery and corruption allegations against him were merely a witch-hunt by people who were uncomfortable with his anti-corruption fight.
Last week, the ICPC submitted a report to the presidency confirming that the official indeed forged his high school certificate.
Multiple sources familiar with the investigation said agency’s conclusion was that Obono-Obla fraudulently squeezed himself into the University of Jos decades ago.
“He did not secure requisite academic credentials to enter the University of Jos to study law or the Nigerian Law School,” the report found, according to sources. “He cannot build a career on fradulently-obtained credentials.”