SGF Babachir Lawal
Sacked SGF Babachir Lawal

Security agencies in the country are free to arrest the disengaged Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, the Presidency has said.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday sacked both men for their involvement in corruption activities, after seven months of investigation.

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Lawal was dismissed for breaching the country’s law and code of conduct for public officers in handling of a “grass cutting” contract awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) under his office.

About PINE

PINE was established to help coordinate and lead efforts at rebuilding infrastructure and rehabilitate millions of victims of Boko Haram insurgency.

No fewer than 100,000 people have died since the insurgency began in the North East in 2009, according to official figures.

On his part, Oke was shown the exit door due to the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the NIA made a claim.

And following the eventual sacking of both men, some Nigerians called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the ex-government personnel.

Fayose’s reaction

One of such Nigerians is Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state.

After criticising president Buhari for not acting swiftly, Fayose called on the president to hand over both men to security agencies for thorough investigation.

Presidency responds

And reacting to the calls, Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu disclosed in a statement that the “The President has taken the administrative action. All other actions will be taken by relevant government agencies.

“The position of the President, therefore, is that investigation agencies which have already commenced the investigation of the two officers removed from office will go on with their work of investigation without any interference or hindrance.

“The President who is fully conversant with the provisions of the constitution will not stop the investigation of anyone because he has no such power under our laws. This is a decision of the Supreme Court.

“The President under our laws can, through the Attorney General enter a nolle prosequi to stop an on-going trial. He may upon conviction, order a pardon.

“Beyond these, the president cannot order investigation agencies to not investigate anyone and does not intend to do in this, or any other circumstance.

“Based on his wish and desire for a strict observance of the law, the President expects the EFCC, ICPC and such agencies to proceed with ongoing investigations.

“When and where they have reasonable grounds to charge former or serving officers to court under our laws, they do not require the permission of the President to do so.”