SGF Babachir Should Have Been Arrested – PDP

by Dyepkazah Shibayan,

The Ahmed Markafi-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the suspension of Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), and Ayo Oke, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), is an attempt to dress up a “failed anti-corruption war”.

President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the suspension of the duo on Wednesday.

But in a statement on Thursday, Dayo Adeyeye, spokesman of the Markafi faction of the PDP, said the right thing to be done was to have arrested Lawal.

“We are alarmed at the suspension of the SGF at a time that Nigerians and the international community are excitedly enjoying the theatre of the absurd playing out with the recovery of huge sums of money without owners,” he said.

“Now the APC-led federal government suddenly realised the corruption allegation levelled against the SGF; and instead of arresting and detaining him as the government has been doing to PDP members and other Nigerians, he was rather suspended and a committee set-up to investigate him. This is to say the least, double standard.

“Some Nigerians have applauded the suspension as indicating a new commitment by President Buhari to fight the anti-corruption war without fear or favour but we are constrained to point out that it is another ruse to deceive Nigerians and dress up the failed anti-corruption war in a new garb.”

Adeyeye also said there was no transparency in setting up a committee comprising cabinet members to investigate the SGF.

“We are at a loss why the president would set up a panel comprising members of his cabinet to investigate other senior very powerful members of the same executive,” he said.

“Where is the transparency in that? Not that we doubt the integrity of the vice-president (for whom we have the utmost respect) and other panellists but it appears the matter is being settled within the government closet without the transparency, independence and impartiality necessary in a situation like this. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to have been done.

“This is especially important given the fact that we recently travelled this road when the president asked the attorney-general to investigate the SGF (on this same matter) and Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC. That investigation cleared the SGF of all wrong doings in the grass cutting scandal as stated above.

“It is amazing that the president who swiftly accepted the recommendations of the attorney-general would now suddenly set-up another panel comprising the same attorney-general to investigate the matter again.

“The pertinent question is whether the president has now realised that the initial investigation by the attorney-general was not thorough or a cover-up to protect a fellow cabinet member.”

The PDP demanded the setting up of an independent commission of inquiry “comprising of people of integrity and competence”.

Adeyeye said it was only by this way that they and Nigerians would be assured that a thorough investigation would be carried out.

“Against this backdrop, we are constrained to express our lack of confidence in the new panel headed by the vice president,” he said.

“Instead, we demand an independent commission of inquiry comprising eminent Nigerians of proven records of integrity, independence and competence.

“This is the only way by which we can have confidence that a thorough and impartial investigation will be conducted and by which the president also can reassure the general public that there are no sacred cows in his government for whom there are different set of rules. The present situation amounts to the government being the judge in its own cause. We do not believe that justice can be served that way.”

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