The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) says it is wrong for Babachir Lawal to use foul language against his accusers.
Debo Adeniran recalls how Lawal was indicted by the Senate and a panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari . Adeniran wants Buhari to distance himself from Lawal who is allegedly under probe by the EFCC.
A statement by the spokesperson of CACOL, Adegboyega Otunuga, quotes Debo Adeniran, the executive chairman of the group as saying: “The questions that arise from Lawal’s use of foul language while referring to his accusers are legion and include: was it the entire Senate and the Osinbajo panel that he referred to as ‘stupid’? Does Lawal consider himself to be above the law? Was that the reason why he arrogantly retorted: ‘who is the presidency?’ when journalists wanted his reaction to the announcement that he had been suspended? . He also added;
“In line with our mandate and focus at CACOL, we concur with the Nigerian Senate and other concerned Nigerians that Lawal’s indictment by the Senate and the presidential panel should be thoroughly investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies without minding his exudation of unfounded confidence and penchant for name-dropping of Mr President who we believe would not want to dent his anti-corruption credentials by shielding an obviously arrogant and unrepentant stained ex-public official. “It is pertinent to state that he should quickly have his day in court for proper trial. This is the only way to assuage the suffering of the ordinary Nigerians affected by his nefarious acts and rekindle the confidence in the Buhari administration.” Adeniran recalled how the Senate was compelled to probe the activities of the Presidential Initiative on the North-East (PINE), which was directly supervised by Lawal, after much outcry from international donor agencies on how their funds were allegedly being diverted into private pockets. He CACOL boss noted that the Senate indicted and recommended Lawal’s sack and prosecution based on revelations that he awarded a grass-cutting contract to the tune of N223m to one of his companies.
Expressing concern over Lawal’s recent claim that he was comfortable with the manner in which EFCC was handling his case, Adeniran said: “If it is true that Lawal still meets, as he publicly claims, with President Muhammadu Buhari regularly, one would be right to assume that such could impede or influence the work of the anti-corruption agencies that are presently investigating him.”
“It is also noteworthy that, based on the Senate’s resolutions, President Muhammed Buhari set up a three man presidential panel, headed by vice president, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), with minister of justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd) as members. This panel also indicted Lawal. “One then begins to wonder how such a man allegedly immersed in criminal diversion and unlawful appropriation of funds and resources meant for people in serious humanitarian crisis, now had the audacity to call his accusers, ‘stupid’ on a live television programme. “He also boasted that as a senior member of the ruling the All Progressive Congress (APC), he and the president meet regularly.”