Some groups have said the suspension of the Lawal came late.
But SERAP and CDHR urged the Federal Government to charge suspended SGF and the NIA boss to court if indicted after the investigations.
The SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in an interview, said, “Immediately the allegations against the SGF surfaced, I stressed that he should step aside. That is what obtains in saner climes and edifying environments. The same applies for the NIA DG.
“Buhari should step up his game and take decisive actions against them. If the two government officials are eventually indicted, they should be taken to court. Let them have their day in court. This should not just be suspension for suspension sake.”
The CDHR President, Malachy Ugwumadu, said though the Presidency’s action was belated, the two suspended officials must face court action if the allegations against them were established.
He said, “By and large, it goes to show that this is a government that still wants to fight corruption. We welcome this development. We urge the panel to thoroughly investigate the allegations.’’
In his reaction, the Executive Chairman, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said, “It is a step in the right direction. The suspension of the SGF is belated; it ought to have been done right from when the news broke out that he spent so much in cutting grasses at the IDP camp.
“As for the Director-General of the NIA, it is the best thing the government could do to save face and to prove that it is not treating corruption with deodorant rather than using insecticide. That is the way to go.”
A prominent lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), described the suspension of the SGF and the DG of NIA as a “good riddance to a bad rubbish”.
He said, “I am sure the government is beginning to listen to my critical but patriotic voice.
“We cannot continue to be a laughing stock in the international arena. The chicken is finally coming home to roost. I congratulate PMB on this move, even if belated.”
A former Chairman of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Chijioke Okoli (SAN), said although the suspension of the SGF was belated, it was a step in the right direction.
Okoli canvassed support for the President over the actions taken against Lawal and Oke.
The SAN said, “Regarding that of the SGF, my point is that it is extremely belated but it is welcome. It should have been done a long time ago. I think the SGF’s continued stay in office has done massive disservice to the government.
“On the NIA DG, for the President to have suspended him, now means that it is actually true as reported by the media that the NIA was laying claim to the money. I had said the NIA should tell its story that it had been keeping the money for covert operations, to the marines. The story doesn’t add up.
“I think suspending him in the present circumstance even without knowing the entire facts is justified.”
A member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said though the suspension of the SGF and the NIA boss was coming a little too late, it was better than nothing.
Mohammed stated, “As far as I am concerned, it is certainly better than nothing.
“But you can see clearly from the way the suspensions were announced, it was done out of pressure and a sense of appeasement for public opinion. He should take a step further by identifying others and flushing them out of the system.”
A SAN, Mallam Yusuf Ali, described the suspension of the SGF and the NIA boss as a good development.
Ali stated, “I think the President has done what is expected of him because the man is holding such a high office and he was indicted by the Senate for the IDP (contract) issue, he had no moral authority anymore.
‘‘Although his suspension was long overdue, the President did it eventually. I salute the President for that.”
The Executive Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Network, Ebenezer Oyetakin, said the suspension of the SGF was overdue.
He said, “The suspension of the SGF is coming rather too late, but it is better late than never. This is because, beyond the issue of corruption, he is making the government lack rhythm of governance due to total lack of co-ordination.’’
He stated that Oke’s case was outrageous, adding that the NIA seemed to have outlived its usefulness. Also, the Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (popularly called Intersociety), Emeka Umeaghalasi, said there was nothing wrong with the suspension.
‘‘The matter at hand is purely criminal, requiring the requisite criminal interrogation for the purpose of finding out criminal motives behind the possible guilty acts,’’ he said.