The Senate has called for the suspension and prosecution of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, for alleged abuse of office and complicity in the award of contracts by the Presidential Initiative for the North East, PINE.
This followed the presentation of a report by a Senate ad-hoc committee led by Shehu Sani on the mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East.
Sani reported that PINE awarded dubious contracts to companies owned by top government officials for outrageous sums of money.
One of the companies allegedly belonging to the SGF, was said to have been awarded a contract worth over N200 million for the removal of ‘invasive plant species’ in Yobe State.
According to Sani, the SGF was the director of the company as at the time the contract was awarded in March this year, adding that he only resigned this September. But he remained the signatory to the company’s account.
The senate committee also noticed that the company, Global Vision, was registered in Nigeria in 1990 as an ICT company, wondering how it was awarded a contract to clear grass in 2016 while the owner is a senior government official.
Reacting to the report, Dino Melaye, the chairman of the Senate committee on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT said that the SGF, “Babachir Lawal is a disgrace to the All Progressives Congress.”
“This is disgraceful, this is abominable, this is condemnable, this is unheard of and this is an embarrassment to we members of the All Progressives Congress, APC,” Melaye blurted.
“Babachir Lawal has exhibited anti-Buhari tendencies.
“This is gross abuse of office”, he said.
Another lawmaker, Isah Misau, supported the call that Lawal should resigned immediately or be suspended and be prosecuted afterwards, saying that the efforts of the present administration led by President Buhari was being sabotaged by “people like the SGF”.
Sani’s report also revealed that the contracts awarded by PINE have not had commensurate effect on the lives of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, scattered in camps all over the region.
The Senate therefore directed that PINE should turn in all documents pertaining to contracts it had awarded, and that all government officials found to have contravened law be prosecuted.
“The message clearly coming from the Senate to all those in charge of these fund is that we cannot continue with business as usual,” said Senate President Bukola Saraki
“For those who have contravened the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, I believe that this government that stands on the issues of fighting corruption is seen to do the right thing,’’ he said.