The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Ayo Oke by President Muhammadu Buhari as cosmetic and not far-reaching enough.
The rights group declared that the suspension of the SGF, after several months of his indictment by the National Assembly was ill-advised and has conveyed the impression of failed concerted attempts by the Presidency to grant him soft landing even against the widespread calls for his dismissal and prosecution over the alleged financial scams trailing the awards of contracts for the rehabilitation under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
HURIWA said the decision to set up what it views as a politically tainted and compromised probe panel to investigate matters that are within the jurisdictions of established anti graft institutions amounted to double standards and conveys the impression that there are two sets of legal models for investigation – one for members of the ruling party and another for the members of opposition party and other category of Nigerians when they are accused of running foul of the law. It described the approach as faulty and suspicious.
“This discriminatory applications of different mechanisms to investigate alleged crime is a breach of the constitutional principle of Rule of Law.”
HURIWA, however, commended Buhari for suspending the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, following his inexplicable role in the discovery of $43 million in a private Ikoyi residential apartment in Lagos, but dismissed the setting up of a three-man team of investigators made up of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the National Security Adviser as a political joke taken too far.
It cautioned Buhari not to use the three-man team of investigators made up of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a “smokescreen and choreographed contraption to undermine the integrity of the investigation that ought to have been carried out statutorily by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the ICPC.
“We are at a loss to understand the rationale for constituting an adhoc investigative panel made up of politicians from one political party to investigate the mysterious stashing of the massive sum of $43 million in a private residence when the Governor of Rivers State produced by another party, the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Nyesom Wike and a former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani Kayode also of the opposition party had alleged that the money was diverted by the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who is a chieftain of the ruling party and an influential kitchen cabinet member of President Buhari’s administration?
“This panel will not be independent and non-partisan and therefore not expected to turn out any objective findings particularly on the Ikoyi $43 million. Mr. President would have set up a totally independent judicial commission made up of Justices of the Supreme Court found to be totally non-partisan and credible or refer the matters to the statutory bodies such as EFCC or ICPC.”