Babachir Lawal: Buhari's anti-corruption war is a lie
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 has to go down as the date President Muhammadu Buhari lost his reputation as an anti-corruption champion.
It was the day President Buhari killed his own anti-graft war and exposed the entire cause as a lie.
A Senate adhoc Committee on the humanitarian situation in the North East, last year alleged that Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal, was involved in a N200M contract scam.
According to the Senate, Lawal awarded the contract which borders on clearing invasive grass species in Yobe State, to a company in which he retains considerable interest.
The Senate cited Lawal's involvement in the contract scam as one more proof that officials and NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) are benefiting from the crisis in the terrorist ravaged North East region of the country at the expense of internally displaced persons and freed Boko Haram captives.
After its findings, the Senate wrote a letter to Buhari demanding that Lawal be sacked or asked to resign from his position as SGF.
On Tuesday, Buhari disagreed with the lawmakers and stuck out his neck for his SGF.
The President said the Senate didn't grant Lawal fair hearing by not inviting the SGF over to defend himself.
Buhari added that only three members of the Senate Committee out of nine, appended their signatures on the interim report which indicted Lawal.
According to the President, because majority of the Senators on the committee didn't sign on the document, the report has become a minority one and of no effect.
"The signing of the interim report by three out of nine members of the committee makes it a minority report of the Senate committee and not a committee report", Buhari wrote to the national assembly.
Buhari said Rollervision Engineering Limited (the company which allegedly belongs to Lawal), "was not invited at any time before the committee to defend itself against the allegations which eventually forms the Senate's case against the company."
Here's the thing about the President's letter: it was premised on falsehood. It was a bunch of lies.
Contrary to President Buhari's claims, Lawal was invited to appear on the floor of the Senate, but he declined the invitation.
Chairman of the Senate committee in question, Senator Shehu Sani (APC) said Lawal was invited to appear before the committee, but he shunned the invitation.
"We invited all the companies concerned. We invited the SGF and he sent us the Secretary of the Presidential Initiative of the North East (PINE)", Sani said.
The Senator who represents Kaduna Central senatorial district in the upper legislative chamber also said Buhari's position that only three Senators signed the interim report indicting the SGF, was a lie.
Sani said seven Senators signed the report and not three.
Sani said: "Issues were raised that only three members of the committee signed that interim report, that was also a second lie coming from the Presidency. I have a copy of the interim report, which was initially signed by seven members of the nine members of that committee and I'm going to submit it to the Clerk of the Senate.
"Even if three people signed, we still have a quorum. But here, I have seven people".
Shehu thereafter pronounced President Buhari's anti-corruption war dead.
"This letter is a funeral service for the anti-corruption fight", the Senator declared.
Sani wasn't done.
"When it comes to fighting corruption in the national assembly, judiciary and in the larger Nigerian sectors, the President uses insecticide, but when it comes to fighting corruption within the Presidency, he uses deodorants.