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Buhari never said Babachir Lawal was innocent, says Femi Adesina

Femi Adesina, Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, says the President never said Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was innocent of the allegations against him.

Adesina said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, when he was asked why Buhari decided to sack him all of a sudden after clearing him earlier.

“You didn’t get it right, you didn’t get it right,” Adesina said. “The President at no time said anybody was not guilty.

“What the President said then was that he [Lawal] was not given the right to defend himself. He said the procedure adopted for the indictment that came from the National Assembly, was not proper.

“The President did not give him a clean bill of health, he only faulted the procedure. So get it right. Don’t ascribe what the President did not say to him.”

After the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the North East had indicted Lawal of corruption, it made recommendations to Buhari, asking him to drop Lawal from his cabinet.

But Buhari replied that he could not act on the Senate’s recommendation due to some reasons.

First, he noted that the recommendation was contained in “an interim report as against a final report which ought to have been presented to the Senate in a Plenary for adoption as a binding and final report”.

Buhari also noted that out of the nine members that made up the ad-hoc committee, only three signed the report, thereby making it “a minority report” and “presenting a challenge for the Presidency to determine the weight to attach to the report”.

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Also, Buhari said that the report did not establish that “Babachir Lawal was ever given an opportunity to appear before the committee and defend himself”, neither was the company linked to him [Rholavision Engineering Limited].

“In the light of the foregoing, I am not able to approve the recommendation to remove and prosecute Engineer Lawal on the basis of the Senate ad-hoc committee report dated 15th December, 2016,” Buhari had said.

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