Senate continues probe of SGF, tells him to appear Wednesday.

The senate ad hoc committee on the “mounting humanitarian” crisis in the north-east, has issued a fresh summon to Babachir Lawal, secretary to government of the federation (SGF), to appear before it on Wednesday March 22.

This was contained in a letter signed by Shehu Sani, chairman of the committee, and addressed to the SGF

According to the letter, Lawal is expected to appear as part of the ongoing investigation into claims that funds earmarked for humanitarian crisis in the north-east were mismanaged.

“The senate at its sitting on 4th October, 2016, debated on a motion “mounting humanitarian crisis in the north east” after which an ad-hoc committee was constituted,” the letter read.

“The committee was to conduct a public hearing in order to ascertain how much has been released to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) and also to ascertain how these funds have been utilized from inception to date.

“The committee was also expected to investigate the diversion of grains and other food items from the Strategic Grain Reserves, NEMA and other sources for the IDPs.

“Consequently, the committee held a three day public hearing between December 6 and December 8 2016, even though some of the invited stakeholders refused to attend.”

In January, President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the senate in defense of Lawal.

Consequent upon that, Senate President Bukola Saraki mandated the committee to carry out a fresh public hearing and invite relevant stakeholders, including the SGF to defend themselves.


Source: The Cable

SGF Babachir Lawal appears before Senate committee

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs on Monday, days after he failed to honour the committee’s initial invitation to defend his office’s proposed budget for 2017.

The initial schedule for Mr. Lawal to defend his office’s proposed budget of N9.88 billion was last Thursday.

He was represented by the permanent secretary (general services), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mohammaed Bukar, whose appearance was rejected by the committee which insisted that Mr. Lawal must appear in person.

On Monday when he eventually appeared, Mr. Lawal said his initial absence was a result of the death of the wife of the Sports Minister. But his absence fueled suspicions that he took the decision as a result of his ongoing row with the Senate.

The Senate had last year asked President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve Mr. Lawal of his position and get him prosecuted after the legislature accused him of breaching the country’s law and code of conduct for public officers in handling of a “grass cutting” contract awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East, PINE, under his office.

Mr. Babachir later dismissed the Senate as saying “balderdash” and accused the lawmakers of desperation to “pull him down”.

In January, the president replied the Senate, saying Mr. Lawal was not given fair hearing and that the report of the Senate committee that indicted Mr. Lawal was a minority report as it was allegedly signed by three of nine members of the committee led by Shehu Sani.

But, Mr. Sani lambasted the president and his anti-corruption campaign.

Then, the Senate vowed to release a full report and that it would prove the culpability of Mr. Lawal when it resumed later this month.

During his appearance before the Tijani Kaura-led committee on Monday, Mr. Lawal said that out of the N9.9 billion proposed for his office, N3.4 billion was proposed for personnel costs, while N3.8billion was proposed for overhead, representing a N2 billion increase from the 2016 provision.

He said the amount proposed for overhead was meant for activities and programmes of other offices headed by various permanent secretaries in his office, as well as funding of activities and programmes of political office holders such as the special advisers and senior special assistants to the president.

He added that N2.7 billion would go to capital projects.

He however decried the provision for his office as inadequate.

Following questions from the Senators, Mr. Lawal assured that funds to care of former leaders had been “sufficiently” budgeted.

Babachir Lawal Should Have Resigned – Professor Odekunle

A member of the Presidential Committee Against Corruption, Professor Femi Odekunle, says the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, should have resigned.

Professor Odekunle, who spoke on Sunday Politics, believed that Mr Lawal should have stepped aside, following the Senate panel report on the allegations of the grass-cutting contract scandal.

“In a reasonable country, the President (Muhammadu Buhari) should have asked Babachir Lawal to step aside or Babachir Lawal himself should have either resigned or step aside.

“It is a dent (as far as I’m concerned) on our anti-corruption fight; on the struggle of the Presidential Advisory Committee to actually do what is good (and) to forge ahead with this anti-corruption position,” he said.

The criminologist hailed the President’s anti-corruption war, saying it is on track and alive.

He, however, faulted the manner in which the allegation against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was handled.

“The Presidency does not seem to put the right foot forward on this matter of the SGF (because) the least that should have been done was to have asked the man to step aside pending investigation,” he maintained.


Source: Channels TV

Activist, Former Lawmaker React To Buhari’s Letter On Magu, SGF.

Observers, such as a rights activist and a former Lawmaker, have continued to react to re-nomination of the EFCC Chairman and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Babatunde Ogala, a former Lawmaker in the Lagos state House Of Assembly, faults the interim report sent to the presidency by the Senate as not sufficient enough to throw out the candidacy of both men.

“The president has not said u were right or wrong, it has only pointed out that there are procedural errors.

“A legislature takes resolutions to the executive – You do not send interim reports, he stressed, adding that the Senate had sent an incomplete report.”


Questioning the actions of the Senate, he said: “Supposing the man had been sacked in your interim reports and your final reports now prove that its not even liable, what would have happened.

He then noted that although he was not exonerating or condemning the SGF, the votes and proceeding and interim reports, did not suggest that he was given a fair hearing.

The rights activist, Richard Nwankwo, on the other hand, believes both the SGF and the Anti-graft agency boss, ought to step down from office to allow for proper investigations into allegations leveled against them.

Nwakwo stressed that in the fight against corruption, there should be an elaborate, comprehensive and an intellectually driven campaign; which he believes is not what is playing out in reality.

“Éven if there is no merit from the allegation from the Senate, I expect that the gladiators involved ought to step aside for a thorough investigation to be done.”

They both gave their opinions while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.


President Buhari had on Monday, re-submitted the name of Mr Magu to the Senate to for confirmation as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In that letter, the President explained that the nominee had satisfactorily clarified the allegation, which led to the earlier rejection by the Senate.

The President also rejected the recommendation of the Senate, asking for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir, over allegation of corruption.

Different Circumstances

Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has highlighted what it called differences in the circumstances surrounding both situations involving Magu and Lawal.

In a statement made in reaction to President Buhari’s letter, the spokesman for CACOL, Mr Wale Salami, explained that “there is the imperative need to separate Magu’s case and that of Babachir”.


Source: Channels TV

SGF’s clearance will send the wrong message to Trump – By Ebuka Nwankwo

The kind of clearance the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, received from the presidency will not only cast immense doubts on the sincerity of  Buhari’s fight against corruption, it is likely to define the image of this government, especially with the new administration in the U.S.

It is not a question about the SGF’s innocence or culpability, but about how he was ‘’cleared’’ of other related allegations without convincing explanations.

And since the funds that were investigated by the senate have a lot to do with the rehabilitation of displaced citizens, who are suffering from the hardship created by Boko Haram, major international donors would certainly be watching, attentively.

This will certainly shape their opinion on Buhari’s presidency, especially the new government in America which is trying to understand how U.S taxpayers’ money is spent abroad.

For instance, Trump’s transition team recently asked the State Department why the US was bothering to fight Boko Haram and why the Chibok girls have not been found, according to a New York Times report.

Part of the tone of the four-page letter was this: “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when we are suffering here in the U.S.?”

Here’s is one point foreign governments might underline: The President’s letter to the senate exonerating the SGF from allegations of corruption did not attempt to explain the reasons for the transfer of over N200 million naira to Rholavision, the SGF’s ‘former firm’.

TheCable newspaper had exclusively obtained Rholavision’s bank statements, with evidence of transfers from Josmon Technologies—a company which was awarded a grass clearing contract by the SGF’s office.

Even though the SGF claimed that he had written to his lawyers relinquishing his shares in Rholavision in August 2015, before the transfers from Josmon Technologies, there are evidence in the public domain that the letter written to CAC – the body which should have been the first to be put on notice – was in September, 2016, after about N200 million had been transferred.

Besides, the president’s letter would have tried to explain how Josmon Technologies obtained the N200 million it paid to the SGF’s former company. Such clarification could reinforce the SGF’s innocence.

Also, the questions about the missing funds allocated to the Presidential Initiative on the North-East, which is managed by the SGF’s office, has to be addressed convincingly. If this is done, the SGF’s innocence would be further established.

There are also issues of ‘due process’. Is it true, as it is reported, that the N248 million contract to Josmons required only N48 million to execute? The company seemed to have had extra N200 million to play around with.

Meanwhile, the president’ letter has provoked varied reactions, with Senator Sani challenging the president’s claim that the SGF was not given ample opportunities to clear his name. In fact, the senator, who is from the president’s party, re-echoed the mood of the populace: he questioned the genuineness of the current fight against corruption.

The manner with which the investigations on the SGF was conducted does not do this administration any good. It will not only reinforce the argument the opposition has been making concerning the current fight against corruption, it might also affect international funding to displaced people and the fight against Boko Haram.

America would not want humanitarian aids diverted. And if the president does not come up with clarifications on why he thinks the SGF is innocent, these aids might start dwindling.

President Buhari rejects senate’s recommendation for SGF’s sacking

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the recommendation of the senate for the sack of Babachir Lawal as secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).


Buhari said his decision was informed by the failure of the senate ad hoc committee on humanitarian crisis in the northeast to give Lawal a fair hearing.


He conveyed his decision in a letter read by Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday.


In December 2016, the senate recommended the sack of Lawal for alleged corruption.


In its report, the senate ad hoc committee, which investigated the diversion of funds for internally displaced persons in the northeast, and was chaired by Shehu Sani, a senator from Kaduna central, accused Lawal of receiving a kickback of N200m through his company, Rholavision Limited, from a company he awarded a contract for the clearing of invasive plant species in Yobe state.?


But Buhari dismissed the document as a “minority report”, saying that “the senate committee comprised nine members” but only three persons signed it.?


“The review of the interim report showed that only three members signed the report. ?This makes it a minority report of a senate committee?,” he said.


He said Lawal was not given the opportunity to clear himself of the allegations, and that the company linked to him was not accorded the chance as well.?


“The current report does not meet the principle of fair hearing? required in cases of abuse of office by public officer,” he said.?


Reacting to the letter, Sani, chairman of the committee, described the current anti-corruption war of the president as a farce.?


“This letter is a funeral service of the president’s anti-corruption war,” he said.?


“When it comes to fighting corruption in the national assembly and the judiciary, the president uses insecticide, but when it comes to the presidency he uses deodorant?.”


He also explained that the SGF was invited personally and through the media?, but that he chose to ignore the invitation.


He added that seven of nine members of the committee signed the interim report, and that Buhari’s letter absolving L?awal of guilt was full of lies.


Source: The Cable

I was not removed, I finished my assignment – SGF Babachir Lawal

The Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal has said that he was not removed as chairman of the presidential committee on the reconstitution of federal government boards.


President Muhammadu Buhari on 16 July 2015 dissolved the Governing Boards of many of the Federal Institutions and inaugurated an eight-man committee headed by Babachir on October 26 on the reconstitution of all the boards.


Other members of the committee are Alhaji Mai Mala Buni (North-East), Alhaji Zakari Idde (North-Central), Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir (North-West), Chief Hillard Etagbo Eta (South-South), Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West), Chief Emmanuel Eneukwu (South-East) as members while Mr. Gideon Sammani is the Secretary.


Speaking through the Director, Press in the SGF office, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi, Babachir said it is natural for the president to act on the report of the committee which he chaired and that it is impracticable for him to still be the one to implement the recommendations of the committee if the president did not asked him to do so.  He said the SGF committee successfully completed its assignment and duly submitted its report appropriately.


“If the committee satisfactorily completed its assignment as given by Mr. President and submitted its report, the same committee cannot still be the one implementing the report unless authorized by Mr. President to do so. And if Mr. President is taking actions on the report of the committee by a higher authority this cannot be taken as an indictment of the SGF or members of the committee that produced the report, or that he was replaced,” Adebiyi said.


He added: “There are many factors in the work of the committee, like others that may be asked to carry out a mandate. Mr. President may still have other inputs based on being contacted by persons or groups. After the submission of the committee report, it is the prerogative of Mr. President and not that the SGF committee to decide what to do with the report.

Grass Cutting Scandal: ‘Independent Report’ Clears SGF Of Corruption

A civil society organisation, Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) has described as “unfortunate lies”, the interim report by the Senate ad-hoc committee which indicted the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir Lawal, over alleged abuse of the Public Procurement Acts in contract awarded by the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE).

Co-convener of the group, Ibrahim Garba Wala, while presenting the report of its independent investigations on the grass cutting scandal in Abuja Tuesday, stated that the contract was carried out contrary to the Senate ad-hoc committee report.

“CATBAN can assert with authority that the contract was indeed carried out. The claims that it was meant to clear grass in IDP camp or that nothing has been done are nothing but unfortunate lies,” Wala said while presenting the report on CATBAN’s facts -finding mission to the North-east region.

Wala said the testimonies of people they met and the evidence before them proved that it was a worthwhile contract that was executed for the benefit of the people.

The report showed that the said grass cutting contract was originally tagged “Award of contract for removal of invasive plants along river channels  and 115 hectares of simplified village irrigation operation in Your state.”

The findings from the report also revealed that Rheolavision Engineering, which is linked to the SGF, was not the main contractor that got the job.

“Rheolavision was engaged only as a consultant even though the Senate committee created the impression that the company of the SGF executed the contract,” the report added.

The report also revealed that the SGF actually resigned from Rheolavision Engineering and all the other companies he had shareholdings in through a letter of resignation to his lawyers,  D. D Azura and co, on August 28, 2015.

[NAIJ]: Buhari moves to sack SGF Babachir Lawal, gets likely replacements.

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently looking for a new secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) following the indictment of Babachir Lawal by the Senate for alleged corruption, according to recent reports.

Babachir has been on the spot since the Senate indicted him of sharp practices in expending funds meant for alleviating the sufferings of the displaced in north east

The Senate on Wednesday, December 14, called for the resignation of the SGF after the presentation of a report on mounting humanitarian crisis in the north-east by the Shehu Sani-led ad hoc committee, which linked Babachir to a N2.5billion fraud at the Presidential Initiative for the North East, (PINE).

Daily Post citing a source, reports that persons tipped as possible replacement for the SGF include the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, and some senior serving and retired federal civil servants.

According to the source, the chances of Ogbeh getting the job are strong because he was initially one of those penciled down for the SGF job before powerful forces urged the president to settle for Lawal.

The source said: “Ogbeh was considered just after the APC won the presidency. He is a chieftain of the party that worked hard to help the president win, APC also won governorship in his state.

“He was a former deputy speaker and former Minister; both elective and appointment based positions. Thus, that he has the requisite experience is not in doubt.

“Being one of the top Northern leaders who formed APC and has friends across the country, the belief then was that the president would give him the seat.

“Eventually, Lawal was brought, perhaps because he is not a core politician like Ogbeh and others.

The source noted that if Ogbeh doesn’t become the next SGF, then Buhari might select a top technocrat for the job.

He said the president had asked the DSS to carry out discreet profiling of some technocrats for the position.

When asked how soon Buhari may the sack of the SGF, the source said Lawal will remain in the position till 2017.

But he pointed out that the removal of Lawal was almost certain because of other misconduct the SGF had carried out in time past.

It won’t be sudden but it will happen. I do not think the president will overlook some of Lawal’s actions which have been piling.

“One of such was his private abroad trip which sent tongues wagging. The SGF was discovered to have collected money to cover his expenses as if it were an official trip.

“This and other allegations, I believe are distracting him lately. The office of the SGF is too sensitive and it is most likely the president will deal with the situation once and for all in a matter of weeks,” the source said.

Meanwhile, Babachir Lawal has faulted the Senate for linking him to the alleged diversion of the funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast and accused them of being in the habit of bringing down people.

Source: NAIJ

BREAKING: SGF, Magu: Buhari, Saraki in closed-door meeting.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki are currently meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The meeting is being held behind the closed-doors of the president’s office.Recall that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami met behind closed-doors with President Buhari on Monday.

Malami, who had been instructed to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrongdoing, declined addressing journalists who sought to know what he discussed with Buhari.

A statement on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu said any of the top officials accused of corruption will not escape prosecution if found liable.

The statement said President Buhari remains relentless in his fight against corruption.

“The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to a number of reports in the media, in which various accusations of corruption have been levelled against some top officials in the administration.

“In that regard, President Buhari has instructed the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrong-doing. If any of them are liable they will not escape prosecution,” the statement said.

The Senate last week accused the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal of corruption in the award of contracts at the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE).

A report by the Senate ad-hoc committee on mounting humanitarian crisis in the North east headed by Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) indicted the SGF in a N2.5billion fraud at PINE. Following Babachir’s indictment by the panel, the Senate resolved that he should resign and face prosecution for alleged fraud. The Senate also said it would provide evidence against Babachir to President Buhari.

The Senate also last week declined confirmation of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu. Senate based its decision on a security report from Department of State Security (DSS), which indicted Magu of financial misconducts.
The report said Magu failed integrity test and would constitute a liability to the anti-corruption fight of the Buhari administration if confirmed head of the EFCC.

Senator Wabara calls for resignation of Magu, Lawal.

The Former President of the Senate, Sen. Adolphus Wabara, has called on the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, to resign his appointment following indicting security reports about him. Wabara. who made the call in an interview on Monday in Abuja, also called for the resignation of on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal.
The Senate had called for the resignation of Lawal for his alleged involvement in diversion of funds meant for humanitarian services in the North-East. Wabara urged the duo to resign on moral grounds, adding that it didn’t matter if the allegations against them were proved or not. “They should go.
When Obasanjo alleged corruption matter against me I resigned, I resigned to face it. So I mean you resign. Magu and Babachir “Whatever position anybody is occupying is not his father’s position. If there is a moral issue, it doesn’t even have to be proven.
You give way to fight it. “One thing is very clear, it is not witch-hunting. If it is happening to a senator, Nigerians will say yes go ahead and do it but this reports are coming from outside of Senate. “ They did not go there to write or originate the reports and it is their right, it is the right of the Senate to work on any report that they receive judiciously. “What is constituency project when you have very damning and damaging report against the SGF. It is for them to investigate and determine the veracity of that report.
“If the report is really against the SGF, for moral reasons he should go,’’ he said. On whether or not the recent development was a witch-hunt on the part of the lawmakers against Magu, Wabara said the Senate had powers to carry out its responsibilities for the sustenance of democracy. “The Senate has every power to confirm or not to confirm. In this case it is not now a senate problem, or senate issue.
There were security reports from outside the senate for the consideration of the senate. “There were security reports that they received that led to what happened. So, I don’t want to blame the senate. “The senate did not originate the security report on Magu, Magu is a very amiable character but if you as a journalist should go into the authenticity of the reason and the report that the senate received, they did not originate it. “If they had originated it would have been a different ball game.
They had to work with the reports and they took that decision,’’ he said. On the fight against corruption, the former president of the senate said it was not holistic. According to him, “I think the administration is fighting corruption unfortunately it looks as it is about just one man that is doing that. “To me the only man fighting corruption is only the president.’’ In a similar development, the former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Mrs Pauline Tallen, told NAN that anybody found wanting should be brought to book.
“Whatever are the issues surrounding the non-confirmation of the Acting Chairman, by the grace of God it will be resolved between the Presidency and the National Assembly. “So, I don’t think people should break their heads over this issue, it will soon be resolved by the grace of God.
“If one is found guilty on anything concerning corruption he should face the music, once the facts are there, nobody should be above the law,’’ she said. The Senate had rejected the nomination of Magu as Substantive Chairman of the EFCC over indicting security reports.

President Buhari Orders Investigation Of Magu, SGF Babachir Lawal

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the investigation of top officials of his administration who have been accused of corruption.


A short statement by Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, indicated the president’s directive.


“The attention of the presidency has been drawn to a number of reports in the media, in which various accusations of corruption have been leveled against some top officials in the administration,” Mr. Shehu said in the Sunday statement.


“In that regard, President Buhari has instructed the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrong-doing. If any of them are liable they will not escape prosecution.”


Although the statement did not mention any specific officials, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Acting Chairman of the anti-graft EFCC have both been accused of corrupt practices.


Mr. Lawal was indicted by the Senate of making millions of naira of public funds from non-executed contracts in the troubled north-east using one of his companies.  The Senate has since asked for his suspension and prosecution, although he has denied any wrongdoing.


Mr. Magu’s confirmation as substantive chairman was blocked by the Senate last week. The Senate based its decision on a “security report” believed to have emanated from the State Security Service, SSS. A fact-check of the content of the report by PREMIUM TIMES, however, revealed most of the allegations were false.

SGF, Nigerian senate and faulty steps – By Okanga Agila

In its customary and baseless umbrage, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has indicted the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Babachir David Lawal over alleged contract scams. Flowing from this, the Red Chamber has also issued a matching order in a resolution calling on his resignation or suspension.

Precisely, the indictment of the SGF is over alleged contract infractions from the Presidential Initiative on the Northeast (PINE) on Internally Displayed persons (IDPs) camps. The Senate also directed President Muhammedu Buhari (PMB) to ensure his prosecution for contravening Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

Nigerians need no soothsayer to remind them of the absence of a Senate, which can proudly lay claim to the status of truly venerated parliamentarians of Nigeria.  It has been the unfortunate situation since the return of democracy in 1999.

It explains former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s (OBJ) constant criticisms of the National Assembly. He adamantly and consistently describes them in derogative terms as crooks and unarmed robbers. Weeks ago, OBJ at the Akintola William Annul Lecture series in Lagos renewed the bellicose in these words;

“The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time. Members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and offices they do not have or maintain. Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption…the National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.”

Like OBJ’s vexations, what is however novel today is the realization of the current Senate headed by Senator Bokula Saraki, as incomparably worse than preceding Senates. Many a times, they are seen indulging in responsibilities which at best seek to usurp the duties of other arms of government, while their cardinal job of legislation suffers neglect.

There is nearly nothing this senate has set out to do that it has done cleanly to the applause of all. It is famed in scandals and the blackmail of the executive.

When some Senators queued up to pressurize the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) against prosecuting Senator Saraki for alleged violation of assets declaration laws for public officers, it gave an inkling into their mindset. The egoistic refusal to consider President Muhammedu Buhari’s (PMB) about $39 billion loan request to salvage Nigeria or Sen.  Dino Maleye’s verbal assaults to Senator Remi Tinubu have cleansed the Senate of any vestige of integrity.

The Senate’s grudge against Babachir is his alleged fraudulent handling of the contract awards emanating from PINE, an initiative domiciled in  the SGF’s office for supervision.

The Senate’s ad-hoc committee chaired by Senator Shehu Sani  which conducted an inquest into the mounting humanitarian crisis in the Northeast affecting IDPs claimed its findings suggest Babachir awarded fake and inflated contracts to his company,    Global Vision Ltd. The Senate report alleged the SGF awarded the N200 million contract to clear ‘invasive plant specie’ in Yobe State to his company, where he presided as a director until last September, while holding the position of SGF.

It also accused PINE of exploiting the critical and deplorable conditions in IDPs in camps in the Northeast to allegedly award fraudulent contracts, as realities on ground in the camps showed a chasm between spent funds and remedied problems.

The Senate marketed their pre-conceived intentions on PMB through Senator Isah Misau who called for SGF’s suspension and prosecution. Misau claimed Buhari administration have difficulties with performance delivery “because of people like the SGF,”   noting that “Without the prosecution of the SGF, this anti-corruption fight will go nowhere.”

In Babachir’s reaction to the Senate’s altercation with him, he described the lawmakers as people infested with the pull-him-down syndrome which they unleash on the best people unjustifiably, insisting that the Senate resolution was gibberish. Reminding Nigerians of the familiar imprints and antecedents of the Nigerian Senate, Babachir insisted that the Senate resolution is balderdash insofar as the committee never deemed it necessary to accord him the opportunity to defend himself over the allegations before nailing him in court of public opinion, after concocting outright blatant lies.

His words, “It is therefore, surprising that they devoted a whole session of today (yesterday) at maligning me, claiming what is not true without even giving me the chance to come and put my own case before them.”

The SGF made a valid point at this juncture.  The validity of his submissions can be gleaned from the fact that as lawmakers, Senators are privy to the stipulations of law which demands fair hearing from all parties to a dispute before a verdict of condemnation is issued. But since today’s Nigerian senate is increasingly turning towards the absurd, extending such luxury to the SGF, who is perhaps, their arch-enemy, is unthinkable. So, they rushed like ravenous wolves in all directions to devour him with a verdict of guilt.

Anyway, Babachir is a man who is not given to the niceties of groveling before arrant rubbish, bluntly told the Senate “I will not resign.” The scenario brings to the fore for the umpteenth time, the Senate’s obstinate nude dances in the market place.  It is a chamber that has so far stripped itself of any modicum of integrity and respect in public estimation.

It is a Senate that allegedly forges House Standing rules; it is a Senate whose leader, Senator President Saraki has engaged tricks to evade trial for his alleged false assets declaration and it is a Senate with the least consideration of the feelings and the pains of the masses; they preach patriotism but settle for foreign official cars, worth millions,   in the time of the country’s economic recession.

Sometimes, without any scruples, they anoint themselves with the wigs and robes of members of the Bar and the Bench, by conducting investigations into everything, everywhere to pass damnable verdicts. But sensitive bills affecting the lives of Nigerians gather dust on the shelves.

It is the proclivity to pursue the mundane, instead of the germane that the PIB has survived many sessions of the Senate untouched; the bill for the establishment of the National Poverty Eradication Commission is still at its virgin stage and for sure, a bill for the establishment of Special anti-graft and other related offences, as contemplated by PMB would be stalled and frustrated, because it would speedy the trial and conviction of the corrupt ones among them.

But when they resolved to protect Saraki from prosecution or whittle down the powers of Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), amendment to clauses in the enabling Act received expeditious attention and passed overnight. The 2017 Appropriation Bill is likely to be passed mid next year again, as they would devote more time to chase the SGF. Can these Senators excuse Nigeria from their profane tendencies?

Okanga writes from Agila, Benue State.

How SGF Babachir’s company got N200m payments from ‘grass’ contract – Report

Rholavision Engineering Ltd, a company owned by Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government of federation (SGF), got suspicious payments of N200m from a contract he awarded for the clearing of “invasive plant species” in Yobe state.

Rholavision’s bank statements and other documents seen by TheCable showed that Josmon Technologies Ltd, a company that got the contract from Lawal’s Presidential Initiative on Northeast (PINE) to clear grass for N248, 939, 231, made cash deposits of N10m into Lawal’s company’s account 20 times from March 29.

Lawal awarded the contract to Josmon Technologies on March 8, and the company made the cash deposits until September when he resigned from Rholavision.

bank statement

Lawal’s company’s bank account showing payments by Josmon Technologies Ltd from March to September 2016

These suspicious payments are thought to be bribes by the investigators.

Also, the SGF, while reacting to a call for his resignation by the senate on Wednesday, claimed that he resigned from his company on August 15, 2015, and as a result was not a party to whatever business it contracted.

But a document from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) seen by TheCable showed that Lawal was a director of Rholavision until September 16, 2016 when he wrote to the commission informing it of his intention to relinquish 1, 500, 000 ordinary shares.

The senate had called for the resignation of Lawal over alleged corruption in the management of funds for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northeast.

PINE, which was under Lawal, could not account for N2.5bn allocated to it for the alleviation of the suffering of IDPs in the northeast.

CAC shares

Lawal’s resignation letter from Rholavision in September 2016, not August 2015 as claimed by the SGF

The senate indicted PINE of wanton corruption and abuse of procurement process.

But Lawal denied the allegations, describing them as “balderdash”.

When contacted, Zainab Mogaji, Lawal’s secretary, promised to get back to TheCable on the allegations.

In October, PINE and the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI) were collapsed into the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI), and it was placed under the supervision of Theophilus Danjuma, a retired general.

The Senate’s report that indicted SGF, Babachir Lawal [DOWNLOAD]

An ad-hoc committee of the Senate on “mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East” led by Shehu Sani submitted its interim report on Wednesday and indicted Mr. Lawal for allegedly receiving N233 million contract to clear invasive plant species in Yobe State through a company, Rholavision Nigeria Limited.


The Senate had on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Mr. Lawal and ensure his prosecution over alleged breach of Nigerian laws in handling contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East, (PINE).


You can DOWNLOAD the full report here

You are a liar, Senate hits back at SGF Lawal; insists on his removal

The Senate on Thursday hit back at the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, after he dismissed the legislative body as saying “balderdash” over the call for his removal and prosecution.

The Senate had on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Mr. Lawal and ensure his prosecution over alleged breach of Nigerian laws in handling contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East, (PINE).

An ad-hoc committee of the Senate on “mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East” led by Shehu Sani submitted its interim report on Wednesday and indicted Mr. Lawal for allegedly receiving N233 million contract to clear invasive plant species in Yobe State through a company, Rholavision Nigeria Limited.

The Senate alleged he remained a director of the company till September 2016, over a year after his appointment, in breach of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.

Rholavision was incorporated in 1990 by Mr. Lawal, he confirmed, to carry out information and communication technology services.

But it was found by the Senate to be handling a N233 million bush clearing contract in the North East in 2016.

The Yobe State Government said the contract was never executed.

But less than an hour after the Senate indicted him and called on authorities to punish him, Mr. Lawal accompanied his principal, Mr. Buhari, to the National Assembly to present the 2017 budget proposal.

After the presentation, Mr. Lawal told journalists the Senate was only victimising him and trying to “rubbish” his personality.

“The senate is talking balderdash; it has developed the habit of bring-him-down syndrome,” he said.

“I have the report of the senate committee in which it was said that I didn’t resign from Rholavision Nigeria Limited. Let me tell you, Rholavision was formed by me in December 1990, and it has been a company that was run very successfully.

“Now, when I was appointed secretary to the government of the federation, I resigned from that company on 18th August 2015. I can see that in their report, they are talking about 2016. I don’t know where they got their facts.

“By the way, it is very instructive that when the committee was sitting, no effort was ever made to invite me to come and make submission. It is therefore, surprising that they devoted a whole session of today (Wednesday) at maligning me, claiming what is not true without even giving me the chance to come and put my own case before them.”

But on Thursday when the Senate resumed, Dino Melaye brought the matter up, saying his privilege and that of his colleagues were breached by Mr. Lawal.

The Senate insisted on its committee’s findings and Senators took turns to lambast Mr. Lawal.

“President should review how somebody like Babachir Lawal managed to get into this government,” said Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu).

Also commenting, Mr. Saraki said the Senate had played its role of exposing Mr. Lawal and that the onus was now on the executive “in a government that is fighting corruption” to do the needful.

“But I know Nigerians are watching,” said Mr. Saraki, adding that the Senate would directly communicate its resolutions that Mr. Lawal should be suspended and prosecuted to the President.

Later, the chairman of the committee that indicted Mr. Lawal, Mr. Sani (APC-Kaduna), spoke with PREMIUM TIMES exclusively and insisted Mr. Lawal lied in the claims he made.

He said Mr. Lawal was invited contrary to his claim.

“We invited him but he sent a representative,” said Mr. Sani.

On the claim of resigning from the company last year before the contract was even awarded in March 2016, Mr. Sani said, “we got to know from the Corporate Affairs Commission (that he held directorship till September 2016).

“We wrote the Corporate Affairs Commission and they supplied us the information.”

He said there was more the committee would reveal regarding how officials and companies criminally benefited from the North East crisis when the Senate resume next year.

Senate says SGF used personal companies to siphon funds meant for IDPs

The Senate on Wednesday indicted the Secretary to the Government to the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal over alleged fraud involving funds meant to cater for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-east.

Senate decision followed the adoption of a report of its adhoc committee on North-East Humanitarian Crisis presented by Sen. Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna), Chairman of the adhoc committee.

The report which was unanimously adopted by Senators with some slight amendments, recommended that the SGF be suspended and prosecuted by relevant anti-corruption agencies for violating the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations pertaining to the award of contracts.

Senator Sani in his report said the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE) took undue advantage of the provision of emergency situation contract award in the PUblic Procurement Act, 2007 to over inflate contracts.

He said: “Contracts were awarded to companies belonging to top government officials’ cronies, family members and close associates. For example, Rholavision Engineering Limited incorporated in 1990 with RC No. 159855 at the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja to carry out information and communication technology services, anchored by David Babachir Lawal, the current Secretary to the Government of the Federation was awarded consultancy contract for the removal of the invasive plant species in Yobe state on 8th March, 2016.

“Although, Lawal resigned the directorship of the said company in September, 2016, it is on record that he is still the signatory to accounts of the company. About 95 to 100 per cent payments of all contracts awarded by PINE have been paid even as some contracts are yet to be fully executed, e.g, payment of One Hundred and Eight Million naira (N108 million) only for the supply of 1100 units of temporary tarpaulin carbines at Three Hundred and Two Thousand naira (N302,000:00) per unit made to Dantex Nigeria Limited despite the fact that 125 units valued at N37.7m were yet to be supplied.”

Confirming the alarming humanitarian crisis in the area, Senator Sani said: “lt is absolutely true, that there is serious humanitarian crisis in the North-East as evidenced by the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) both in camps and within the host communities.

“There is hunger, disease, squalor, deprivation and want amongst the lDPs. This observation is corroborated by a statement accredited to the United Nations’ Deputy Coordinator of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr. Peter Lundberg to the effect that ”a projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the (Boko Haram) conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers from planting for the third year in a row, causing a major food crisis in the North East”.”

Speaking on the non-availability of Federal Government’s health workers in almost all the camps visited, Sani said: “There was vivid absence of the Federal Ministry of Health in all camps visited, however, while the few critical government agencies like National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as well as States Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) were noticed, but without synergy with other agencies. However, the Nigerian Air force medical , team was found rendering medical services to the lDPs with the little equipment at their disposal.”

He continued: “Despite the claim by some Federal government agencies to the effect that huge sum of money is being spent on lDPs in the North East, what is on the ground as seen by the Committee does not justify/reflect the claims. For example:

“Over 70 per cent of displaced children both in camps and with host communities were out of schools due to lack of classroom infrastructure, inadequate teaching materials and even teachers. They were also seen loitering in the camps mal-nourished, sickly, and poorly dressed.

“Generally, there is acute shortage of food amongst the lDPs, as observed in one of the lDPs visited, three(3) bags of rice of 50kg each, a bag of beans of 50kg and a 4 liter of palm oil were given to 30 people for 15 days. These were considered too insufficient as confirmed by many lDPs that interacted with the Committee.”

In their contributions, senators lampooned the SGF and backed the position of the interim report which called for the suspension and prosecution of Mr. Lawal.

Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi) while making his contribution said: “The SGF rushed to the Corporate Affairs Commission in September only when the Senate started investigating him. He awarded a contract to his own company where he is a signatory. The SGF has exhibited anti-Buhari tendencies.

“This is a gross abuse of office. I call for the immediate resignation of SGF and after that, he should be prosecuted by the Federal Government. It is time to call a spade a spade. It is time for the Senate President to act.”

Melaye got dramatic when he said “yesterday I felt like crying but today I actually need to cry,” and was promptly handed a white handkerchief by a colleague which he used to dab his face.

Incidentally, at same time the presiding officer, Bukola Saraki also raised a handkerchief to his face as if to also wipe a tear.

Senator Adeola Solomon (APC, Lagos) on his part, said: “While the SGF was giving his testimony to the committee, what he was saying was not in tandem with the documents we had. This is just the interim report. What we have now is just the phase value. The companies were only created for the award of these contracts.

“We are asking him to resign and also calling for his immediate prosecution. When you go to the IDP camps, there is nothing there to write home about.”

Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) however sounded a note of caution: “I am a bit worried. This is an interim report. If we have a report that is interim, what decision can we take? Why can’t we wait till the full report is ready.”

But he was ignored by Senators and Saraki quickly intervened, saying “when we get there, we will look at the issue and do the right thing.”

In his final remark, Saraki added: “Let me thank the committee for being able to do a report and for coming out with this daring infractions that are commendable. I hope the relevant agencies will take note of the recommendations.

“The message from the Senate is that business cannot continue as usual. Those that have contravened the relevant acts must be prosecuted. This government that is seen to be fighting corruption must not cover up this fraud. We must do something about it.”

Senate’s call for my sack, prosecution is an attempt to rubbish my name – SGF Babachir Lawal

The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, has said that calls by the Senate for his resignation and prosecution are an attempt to rubbish his person.

Mr. Lawal said this while speaking to journalists shortly after the 2017 Budget Proposal presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari before the joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that efforts to get more response from the SGF failed as he did not respond to further questions.

The Senate had at plenary earlier called for the removal and prosecution of the SGF following alleged complicity in the diversion of the North East humanitarian funds.

This followed the presentation of interim report of the Adhoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East by the Chairman of the Committee, Shehu Sani.

The call for Mr. Lawal’s removal followed alleged contravention of the provisions of Public Procurement Act and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations pertaining to award of contracts.

Presenting the report, Mr. Sani said that some of the contracts were awarded to companies belonging to top government officials’ cronies and family members.

He explained that the committee found out that Global Vision Engineering Limited, a company, with Mr. Lawal as Director, for instance, was awarded consultancy contract.

Despite being an IT company, the firm got a job to clear grass in Yobe at N200 million.

“Although, Lawal resigned the directorship of the said company in September 2016, it is on record that he is a signatory to the accounts of the company,’’ he said.

The adhoc committee was directed to expedite action on its findings to submit a complete report on the humanitarian crisis in the North East.

BREAKING: Nigerian Senate calls for removal, prosecution of SGF Babachir Lawal

The Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend and ensure prosecution of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, over alleged breach of Nigeria’s law in handling contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East, PINE

The Senate’s resolution on Wednesday followed presentation of the report on mounting humanitarian crisis in the north-east by the Shehu Sani-led ad hoc committee.

Mr. Lawal’s company, Global Vision Ltd., is one of the companies indicted by the committee for allegedly benefiting from inflated and phantom contracts – or ones not executed at all – awarded by the PINE.

Mr. Lawal’s firm was said to have been awarded over N200 million contract to clear ‘invasive plant specie’ in Yobe State.

The committee found that as of the time the contract was awarded in March 2016, Mr. Lawal was still the director of Global Vision and that he just resigned in September.

Yet, currently, Mr. Lawal is the signatory to the company’s account.

Mr. Lawal’s directorship of the Global Vision while being a public official – Secretary General of the Federation – contravened Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, the Senate held.

Global Vision was incorporated in 1990 to carry out ICT services; but it received contract to clear grass in 2016 even while the owner is senior government official, the lawmakers found.

“Babachir Lawal is a disgrace to the All Progressives Congress,” said Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West); adding that the SGF “is exhibiting anti-Buhari tendency”.

Mr. Melaye led the call for Mr. Lawal’s resignation and prosecution, after Mr. Sani (APC-Kaduna) presented his committee’s report.

Also, Isah Misau (APC-Bauchi) said Mr. Lawal should resigned immediately or be suspended and be prosecuted afterwards.

Mr. Misau said the Buhari administration was having challenges with performance delivery “because of people like the SGF”. He said the SGF was the one responsible for non-constitution of many boards of the federal government.

Mr. Misau said Mr. Buhari should sack and ensure prosecution of the SGF to prove seriousness of his anti-corruption campaign.

“Without the prosecution of the SGF, this anti-corruption fight will go nowhere,” he said.

That of SGF was one the numerous scams uncovered by the report, said Adeola Olamilekan (APC-Lagos). He said Mr. Lawal should resign and be prosecuted.

Mr. Sani’s report revealed that the Presidential Initiative for the North East took advantage of the emergency situation to award fraudulent contracts; and also that the realities in the Internally Displaced Persons camps did not commensurate with funds released.

The Senate therefore resolved that PINE should turn in all documents pertaining to contracts it had awarded, and that all government officials, apart from Mr. Lawal, found to have contravened law in the processes of the contracts should be prosecuted.

The Senate also asked the Federal Ministry of Health to immediately deploy its personnel to the IDP camps to support the international humanitarian crisis managers and military hospitals in the north-east.

It also asked the federal government and state governments in the north-east to ensure an end to acute food shortage in the IDPs camps; and that infrastructures in the recaptured villages and towns be rebuilt so that IDPs can go back to their homes.

Why FG can’t pay salaries of former presidents – SGF

Nigeria has not paid salaries and other allowances to four former ex-presidents due to lack of funds.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, who disclosed this to visiting members of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs in Abuja, said President Muhammadu Buhari could not approve payments for ex-presidents Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Ibrahim Babangida in the last 10 months due to lack of funds.

The delay in paying ‘pension’ and other benefits to former presidents could deprive the incumbent of the much-needed support of his predecessors as economic downturn and government’s anti-corruption crusade impacts Nigeria’s political landscape.

Giving his own explanation of the development in a chat with the Senate committee led by Tijjani Kaura (APC, Zamfara North), the SGF attributed it to unavailability of funds in the service wide vote for salaries of ex-presidents. Payment schedules were said to have been sent to the President for approval to assess funds in the service wide vote, an emergency fund reserved for special purposes.

“There is a department responsible for payment of former president’ entitlements, Lawal said.

“At present, funds are not available in service wide votes to do that. We are aware there was a protest in Bayelsa State that the former president was not paid, but we’ve explained that he’s not the only one affected.

“Others affected are Inter-Religious Council, Traditional Rulers Council and so on. For some reason, we have been writing and writing, but there has been no response. And there is presently no money to pay them.”

The SGF continued: “The budget for this year’s democracy day was N33 million, and we had to do it on credit; we are yet to pay. There are lots of retreat, which ought to be organised but there’s no money to do any. The last time we got any release was in August.”

The senators were not swayed by the explanation. They insisted that joint efforts be made between the office of the SGF and the committee to find solution to the problem, which they described as “unfortunate.”

The lawmakers stressed the need to draw the attention of the budget office and ministry of finance to the development with a view to having it addressed immediately.

Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, described the non-payment of former presidents as abnormal.

“What we have seen here is an abnormality. Before referring any matter to the National Assembly, it is a function of the executive to appropriate funds. Therefore, the SGF should understand that there is something wrong in this office that must be addressed.

“There is no way you can run the expenses of this office without cash backing. We definitely have to draw the attention of the budget office and ministry of finance to the problems,” Hunkuyi said.

The lawmaker also faulted the office of the SGF over the replication of 2016 budget details in its 2017 budget proposal.

Also condemning the development, former Governor of Sokoto State, and lawmaker representing Sokoto North in the National Assembly, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, said: “We can understand if former President Goodluck Jonathan has not been paid because he just left office. But for someone like Shagari, who lives from hand to mouth is something I can’t understand. This development is really unfortunate; it doesn’t indicate seriousness, and it doesn’t indicate fairness.”

But attempting to assuage the anger of the lawmakers, the SGF explained: “When I got into this office, there was a lot of money in this account, but there was no TSA (Treasury Single Account).

“Before the government left office, they jacked up salaries. We told former Presidents Jonathan and Obasanjo that they could not earn twice what the others were earning. So we told them we wanted to review it, and we did. So they now earn what the others earn as well.

“When I came into office, there was N1.5 billion in the account. We had payment of all liabilities, which came to N700 million. Then we wrote to the president to return what was left to the TSA. That was how we came back to a zero balance.

“It is painful to me because as a person I know all of them (ex-presidents) personally. Now, why have we not been able to get the money? We requested a budget of N700 million, but the president has his way of doing things.

“Look around, you’ll see government vehicles breaking down every now and then. Really, I know the challenges the budget office is facing, but the truth is the funds are not just there. In any government, there are certain agencies that must be served first before others. So we have agreed on that. However, we will lean harder on the finance ministry to see that the situation is turned around.

“As SGF I’m getting embarrassed and demeaned by chasing money. All MDAs come to me for things to be done, and it is not quite easy, but we try our best.

“Last year, these political appointees had nothing. As to assistance, we really need assistance to retain all that we have budgeted for,” he added.

Lawal also urged the National Assembly to approve funds proposed by his office in the 2017 budget to be submitted soon, saying: “We need your help to defend what is in our budget. This is part of the change agenda, so we must learn to sew our cloth according to the material.”

Ambassadorial List: Senate Summons SGF, Foreign Affairs Minister

The Senate on Wednesday summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geofrey Onyeama, over the lopsided list of 47 career diplomats sent to the red chamber about two weeks ago.

They alleged that some states were excluded from the list whereas some states had up to three nominees.

Apart from this, the senators also explained that there were specific petitions against some nominees, who were said to have been picked ahead of their senior colleagues from their states of origin.

The Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, cited the case of two directors on level 17, from the same state who were dropped for a junior officer.

He said, “The two of them are in fact, already on level 17 and in making the recommendations many who are junior to them in experience and in status have been elevated above them. They therefore want some intervention from the chamber to be sure that correct process is followed.

“They also said that there are those who have served the republic meritoriously who did not get passed because of whatever might be the internal politics of the ministry.

“So, I plead that relevant committee and this chamber would take a second look at this prayer.

“We should direct that the minister for foreign affairs, and the SGF to appear before the committee on foreign affairs to explain the omissions and irregularities and the processes by which some of these names came about.”

Credit: Punch

SGF Urges NCPC To Embrace FG Policy On TSA

Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has called on the Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage Commission (NCPC) to embrace the Federal Government Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.


This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Bolaji Adebiyi, Director of Press in the Office of the SGF and issued to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja


The statement said Lawal made the call when he received the 2015 Christian Pilgrimage Report of the commission.


It said that the SGF commended the commission for its innovations in the funding of its activities and for inspiring Nigerians who perform the Christian pilgrimage.


It pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to address the challenges facing the commission.


The statement said that the SGF assured the commission that the Federal Government would do its best to ensure that the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed with Israel becomes operational.


He urged the commission to remain non-partisan in the discharge of its responsibilities.


The statement said that the Chairman of NCPC Rev. Nicolas Okoh, told the SGF that the commission conducted four pilgrimages in 2015.


“These were the Easter, Youth, Family and Main Pilgrimages. During the pilgrimages, there were no cases of mishaps nor pilgrim absconding,” the statement quoted Okoh as saying.


It said that Kennedy Opara, the Executive Secretary of NCPC had told the SGF that apart from visiting Israel for the Main Pilgrimage, pilgrims were also taken to Greece and Rome.



Buhari Set To Swear In SGF, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to swear in the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Engr. Babachir David Lawal.

The event which would be held at the presidential villa, Abuja any time soon will also include other newly appointed presidential aides.

President last week Thursday, appointed Babachir David Lawal as Chief of Staff to the President; Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) as new Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service; Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service; Senator Ita S.J. Enang as SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu as SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).


President Buhari Set To Name Chief Of Staff, SGF, Other Aides Today

The shape and faces to the Muhammadu Buhari administration will begin to unfold today baring any last minute change of mind by the president, Vanguard has learnt. Among those to be named are the Chief of Staff, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF and personal staff of the president and the vice-president.

Yesterday, the president requested the Senate to approve 15 special advisers for him. Meanwhile, the delay in the announcement of senior officials of the new administration, it was learnt yesterday, flowed from the delay by the former officials of Goodluck Jonathan administration in forwarding their handover notes to the transition committee constituted by Buhari.

Sources close to the President and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, disclosed yesterday that the president would make known the senior officials of his government today. Besides the Chief of Staff and SGF, other officials to be named may include the Special Adviser to the National Assembly, Political Adviser among senior aides of the president.

“The announcements will be made today baring a last minute change of decision,” a source privy to the development told Vanguard last night even as he added that the president’s scheduled trip to Niger and Chad may be the only factors that may delay the announcement. Meanwhile, a senior associate of the president yesterday traced the delay in the announcement of the president’s senior aides to the delay in the transmission of the handover notes by the Jonathan officials to the transition team constituted by Buhari ahead of his inauguration.

“All we have been doing since Friday is poring over these notes. This is because you need to know the position of things before you delegate the appropriate personnel to any establishment of government,” a source privy to the ongoing developments told Vanguard last night.


I Won’t Discriminate Against South-east, Says Buhari

Promises fairness to every section as zone demands SGF, House of Reps presiding officer.

The President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday assured that he will not discriminate against the South-East or any other section of the country, saying Nigeria is his constituency.

He also promised to look into the demands of the South-East caucus of the All Progressives Congress(APC) handed to him recently .

Gen Buhari spoke when he met with the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Caretaker Committee led by its Chairman, Chief Ralph  Obioha. Other members of the delegation include former Anambra State governor, Sen.
Chris Ngige, former Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Eze Festus Odimegwu, Chief Onwuka Ukwa, Osita Okechukwu and Anike Nwoga .

Dismissing fears that his incoming administration may work against sections of the country that didn’t vote for him in the last polls, the President-elect said he will fulfil the promise he made during the campaigns to treat every Nigerian equally.

He commended some South-East leaders who, he said, stood for the truth and ensured that residents of the area were fed with the truth.

In his address, Obioha thanked Gen. Buhari for his promise to run  a competent and corruption-free government.

He described as false claims that South-East did not vote for Buhari. According to him, if the Card Reader was allowed to work in the zone, Nigerians would have known that the zone was for APC .

The Ohanaeze caretaker committee boss singled out Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Sen Ngige and Governor Rochas Okorocha for praise, describing the trio as wise men. Apart from the three, Obioha listed prominent Igbo leaders like former Abia State governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, Odimegwu as those who worked for the APC candidate.

He said: “We are only a representative delegation and on behalf of the whole house, we wish to mention the outstanding, extra efforts and contributions of H.E Orji Uzor Kalu, Sen Jen Nnamani, Chief Emeka Okwosa, Eze Festus Odimegwu, Chief Enechi Onyia, Sen Offia Nwali and Chief Onwuka Ukwa .

“The three wise men from the South-East, Governor Rochas Okorocha, Ogbonnaya Onu and Chris Ngige are our illustrious sons.

“Your Excellency, as the head of the APC leadership, you are aware that the South-East was a target by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rigging machine which produced an election result that denied the zone of even a single senator and only three non-ranking members of the House. Ndigbo request that you adopt the principle of necessity to give the zone the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)which is your prerogative and in addition, a position of one presiding officer in the House of Representatives “.

Also speaking, Eze Odimegwu thanked Gen Buhari for nominating him into the Transition Committee even when he had not met him before. He said it was a sign that the incoming government will pay attention to merit than other considerations.

Meanwhile, Ngige has dismissed insinuation that the South-East APC caucus was fighting over the SGF slot that is likely to be zoned to the region. He said the zone is working together, disclosing that the caucus’ decision on that will be made known soon.

He said: “We have a caucus, we have a position, when we get to the bridge, we cross it.”