President Buhari while campaigning to be President in 2015 promised to wage an anti-corruption war in Nigeria that would set the country back on its path to greatness.
In some ways, the President followed through on that promise but President Buhari’s anti-corruption war was tainted by criticism that it was only being directed at opposition figures.
The critics severally accused both President Buhari and Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for not applying the same gusto in stemming corruption among members of the President’s party.
President Buhari’s Anti-corruption war takes two of his own men
There have, however, been two high-profile suspensions of two government officials this week that seems to signify a change of that narrative. President Buhari ordered the suspension of Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), over allegations of violations of law and due process.
Lawal, who is a member of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, was implicated by Nigeria’s Senate’s discovery of a $8m fraud scandal around relief funds meant for rebuilding Nigeria’s northeast. He was accused of being a recipient in the fraud, through his company, of controversial contracts from the committee in charge of the relief funds.
A press release by the State House said that the President had called for an investigation and suspended Lawal for the duration of the investigation;
“President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
The President has also directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigations.”
President Buhari has also suspended Ayo Oke, the director-general of Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA), after the controversial EFCC cash haul find of $43 million. The NIA made a claim for the money which was discovered in an empty Lagos apartment.
In the same press release, it was verified that the President also called for a full-scale investigation into the NIA while suspending Ayo Oke;
“In a related development, the President has ordered a full scale investigation into 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, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim.
The investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.”
President Buhari had initially resisted the calls by the Senate to sack his SGF but such continued adamance would have undermined his anti-corruption war completely.