PDP seeks impeachment as Buhari sacks SGF, NIA boss

All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders Meeting, at the State House, Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: PRESIDENCY

• Wants ministers fired over Maina
• Mustapha replaces Babachir Lawal
• APC caucus meets at Presidential Villa

After many months of dillydallying, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday sacked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.

Buhari said the decision to sack the duo, who were ‎earlier suspended over allegations of fraud levelled against them, followed his acceptance of the recommendation of the panel to terminate their appointment.

And swiftly, the president announced the appointment of Mr. Boss Mustapha as the new SGF. The appointment takes immediate effect.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday said the president also approved the setting up of a three-member panel to, among other things, look into the operational, technical and administrative structure of the NIA and make appropriate recommendations. The three-man committee included the National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno, and the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who headed the Presidential Committee which investigated the allegations against Lawal and Oke, had told newsmen that only President Buhari would determine the fate of the duo.

Osinbajo who gave the indication after he submitted the report of the panel in August was, however, silent on the recommendations in the two-volume documents he made available to Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Lawal was grilled by the panel over the N220 million meant for the welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in North-East while Oke was suspended over the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, to which NIA has made a claim.

In December last year, the Senate called for the resignation of Lawal after its committee on the humanitarian crisis in the North-East indicted him for corruption.

There was public outcry over the refusal of the president to take action on the resolution of the upper legislative chamber.

In its reaction to the sacking of Lawal and Oke yesterday, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called on the National Assembly to immediately initiate impeachment processes against President Buhari for allegedly violating his oath of office through the twisting of the law against perceived opponents and in favour of his supporters.

In a statement by its spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja, the PDP expressed dismay that the president could simply replace Lawal with Mustapha without subjecting him to prosecution.

“The statement on the sack of Lawal and Oke is a slap on the face of Nigerians. It is an insult to the-collective intelligence of our people who have waited patiently for the president’s reaction on the humongous act of corruption by two of his principal aides and this is totally unacceptable.

“First, we had disagreed with the president last year when he decided to set up the panel to investigate the matter because we thought that was the wrong course of action to take. Ordinarily, cases of corruption or alleged cases of misappropriation of funds are supposed to be referred to institutions that are saddled with the responsibility to investigate and prosecute such matters which is the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the EFCC if there is any prima facie case against them.”

In the statement, the PDP lamented that “it appears not all animals are equal under the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration. Some people are treated with kid gloves while others, particularly those in opposition are subjected to all manner of harrowing experiences. One of the senators of the APC, Shehu Sani of Kaduna State succinctly put the matter when he said that this administration uses deodorant to fight corruption when it comes to some APC members and President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet and insecticides when it involves members of the opposition and those in the National Assembly.”

PDP lamented that “it took the president almost one year to attend to this matter while the culprits were having a field day at home and enjoying themselves. Whereas, in the case of the opposition, especially the PDP members, even when the evidence is flimsy, they will be visited with multiple harassment and intimidation for months and weeks without proper trial.

“We cited the case of Sambo Dasuki who has been in detention for over two years and running. Even when many courts in Nigeria and the ECOWAS Court have ordered his release, the president has fragrantly disobeyed these court orders which again are a violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is an impeachable offence. The president cannot just sack Oke and Lawal and expects us to be clapping for him.”

Condemning alleged disregard for the rule of law, the PDP said: “We believe that we are operating under a democracy and a constitution that governs our affairs. To have subjected these people to different sets of rule and treatment is totally unacceptable. Nigerians are the same under the law and Lawal and Oke should not be tried by the presidency while others are hounded by the EFCC and ICPC.

“These actions of Mr. President are therefore a breach of his oath of office which he swore to defend. It is also a violation of the constitution because he swore to be fair and just to all Nigerians without any discrimination whatsoever. The action of the president is a gross violation of his constitutional oath and therefore constitutes a veritable ground for impeachment.”

PDP described the sudden sacking of the SGF and the NIA boss as a consequence of the Abdulrasheed Maina saga. “Up till now there’s no answer to the pertinent questions we have asked on the Maina saga. The government cares less about the feelings and opinions of Nigerians. This kind of arrogance is unprecedented in the history of this county. We again call for the arrest and investigation of the two ministers involved in the return of Maina into the civil service, that is, the Minister of Interior, Bello Dambazau and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Malami.”

At press time yesterday, a caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was underway at the Presidential Villa, Abuja with President Buhari in attendance. Others at the meeting were leadership of the National Assembly, APC governors, state chairmen and chieftains of the party from across the country.

The agenda was not known, but sources said it was not unconnected with the situation in the party that has thrown it into disarray.



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