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

OPINION: We Can’t Afford To Be Pawns – By Muhammed Karamba

Recently, there has been an uproar with regards to President Buhari’s decision to keep EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu and SGF Babachir Lawal. The President is under pressure from the public and the National Assembly to replace the two. I find it interesting how we have become so invested in such an issue that should probably be at the bottom of our list. Are we playing somebody’s game? I doubt if it is far from the truth.

It’s quite funny how, all of a sudden, the legislature decides who amongst the executive is corrupt or not. This is an arm of the government who hasn’t answered a lot of crucial questions being asked by Nigerians. It has failed to keep up to its promise of an open NASS. It has suspended a member turned whistle-blower and are yet to give comprehensive answers as per his allegations. I am not saying this disqualifies them from their officials. But it begs the question, are these probes done in the interest of Nigerians?

The media of today is doing a wonderful job at keeping us updated and exposing stuffs we probably otherwise wouldn’t have known. Most of us have one or a couple of media outlets which we trust hundred percent and will always believe anything that comes from them. But how sincere is the media of today? There are bad eggs; a lot of them. Now, all it takes to have a media outlet is money.

Have we ever sat down to think that maybe one of this media is there to defend the interest of a particular entity or group? It might even be as simple as a social media account. Politicians have social media “warriors” (one of whom is might be an account you trust so much) who get paid to spread propaganda. We have become so gullible that a simple twitter account operated by a fellow citizen is what we depend on, to get “credible” info. It’s saddening.

Would we know these people better than Buhari? These are people he would probably deal with on a daily basis. The thing is, being the spectator, we might have this feeling that the president is just there seated while his cabinet devours our wealth without his knowledge. If that happens, then we would have the worst leadership. Yeah, they would try as much as possible to hide their corrupt practices from him. Do we thing it is that easy to dig up something the president hasn’t? But the thing is, the president has the tedious job of knowing when an allegation is in the interest of someone or in the interest of the state.

It is very good for citizens to feel disturbed when we “see” a corrupt top official. We know what we don’t want. But most at times, we don’t know what we want. These guys might be corrupt, but president Buhari knows what he enjoys about working with them. You don’t employ a plumber and tell him which tools to use. Who are we to say no when the president says he wants them? If that’s what it takes to fulfill his campaign promises, then so be it.

The bottom line is, there is a political battle going on and we do not want to be pawns. Regardless of who is in this government, or priorities should not change. What we demand is Transparency and accountability, security, fight against corruption, good stable economy, proper infrastructure and the list goes. That’s it.

Author: Muhammad Karamba

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

[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

Magu’s rejection won’t come from us, says senate leader.

Ali Ndume, majority leader of the senate, says the upper chamber of the national assembly has not rejected Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Addressing state house correspondents on Monday, Ndume said even if Magu will be rejected, it would not come from the red chamber. He explained that Magu’s confirmation was put on hold because of a security report from the Department of State Services (DSS).

Ndume said the senate was awaiting the advice of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.

“Let me say categorically that the senate did not reject Ibrahim Magu. What happened was that when we selected his confirmation for Thursday, we had an issue or a letter from the Department of State Security (DSS) that could not allow us to continue with the confirmation without further clarifications,” he said.

“So, we now concluded that since we had a letter that we could not ignore. So, it was not that we sat down to take a decision that we had rejected Magu. So, I want that to come out clearly.

“We specifically asked the chairman on media to issue a statement. What we said was that on that Thursday the senate could not go ahead with the confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu and that we are in possession of a letter from the Department of State Service which requires clarification from Mr. President, who is the head of the government. That was what happened.

“Even if the rejection is going to come, it is not going to come from the senate because we have not done anything anyway.”

Back then, Aliyu Abdullahi, spokesman of the senate, had categorically said the nomination of the anti-graft czar was rejected.

“The nomination of Ibrahim Magu is hereby rejected and has been returned to the President for further action,” he had said.?

?Reminded of this, Ndume said: “I hope we are not arguing. I listened and I still listened because of this controversy that can come out.

“I’m part of the persons that wrote the short press statement which stated that the senate could not continue with the confirmation. It is different from saying that the senate rejected him. In fact, we have referred the other four to the committee.”

?On the demand for Babchir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), to step down and face prosecution, Ndume said the senate said the lawmakers only made a recommendation and did not issue an order.

While deliberating on the report of an ad hoc committee set up to look into the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north-east, the senate indicted Lawal for allegedly abusing his office by misappropriating funds.

But Ndume said since there had been reports that Lawal was not given fair hearing, the senate would give him the opportunity to clear himself.

“The senate resolution is a recommendation, it’s not a law. What the senate considered is work in progress because it was an interim report,” he said.

“The public is interested in knowing what we as a senate had done about those allegations. The committee issued an interim report and the interim report seemed to indict the SGF, the consequences of that indictment are what they recommended, but we are not there yet because the report itself is interim. Ok, we take the interim report, we give the public until the whole investigation is concluded.

“I hear, coming from the SGF that he has not been given a fair hearing, so the hearing has not finished. We can give him an ample of time to go before the committee and clear himself.”?

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.