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The Presidency on Thursday said
President Muhammadu Buhari would consider both sides of the matter in the case
of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, who
was on Wednesday recommended for sack by the Senate.

The Special Adviser to the
President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this in an interview
with some journalists.

Adesina was asked whether Buhari
would heed the Senate’s call to sack Lawal.

But the presidential spokesman said
the President was a fair-minded person who would look at both sides before
taking a decision.

“The SGF has defended himself. The
President is very fair minded. He will look at both sides of the matter,” he
simply said.

The Senate had at plenary on
Wednesday called for the removal and prosecution of the SGF following alleged
complicity in the diversion of the North-East humanitarian funds.

This followed the presentation of
the interim report of the Ad hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in
the North-East by the Chairman of the Committee, Shehu Sani.

The call for Lawal’s removal
followed alleged contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act
and the Federal Government’s Financial Rules and Regulations pertaining to
award of contracts.

Presenting the report, Sani said
some of the contracts were awarded to companies belonging to top government
officials’ cronies and family members.

He explained that the committee
found out that Global Vision Engineering Limited, a company, with Lawal as
Director, for instance, was awarded the consultancy contract.

Sani said despite being an IT
company, the firm got a job to clear grass in Yobe at N200m

“Although, Lawal resigned the
directorship of the said company in September 2016, it is on record that he is
a signatory to the accounts of the company,’’ he said.

Lawal has denied all the
allegations, saying “the Senate is talking balderdash; it has developed a
bring-him-down syndrome.”

But members of the Senate on
Thursday carpeted Lawal, for dismissing their allegations against him.

He said it was an attempt by the
senators to malign him. He asked why the committee did not invite him during
the investigative hearing to confront him with the allegations.

The lawmakers resolved to report
Lawal to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Senators, who spoke on the SGF’s
reaction to their corruption allegations against him during the plenary on
Thursday tongue-lashed Lawal, saying he was not fit to occupy such position in
government.

The lawmakers specifically called
on security and anti-graft agencies to arrest and prosecute Lawal, who is
overseeing the presidential initiative, for allegedly owning one of the
companies awarded contracts in the rehabilitation of the North-East.

Lawal said he had resigned his
directorship of the company after becoming the SGF and after the company had
executed the contract.

Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West),
who raised the issue on the floor, while quoting headlines from some national
daily newspapers, said Nigeria’s reputation and that of the Senate had been
“disparaged by the use of gutter language against men that are described as
‘distinguished.’”

Melaye said, “…This SGF, who is on
his way out, also denied and called us liars, I heard his voice on radio: he
said we are liars; that he resigned since 2015. I said yesterday that every lie
has an expiry date. The lie he told against the Senate is about to expire.”

The lawmaker, while displaying some
documents in the chamber, said he had certified true copies of documents from
the Corporate Affairs Commission to puncture Lawal’s claims.

The senator called on the Senate
President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to protect the institution of the Senate “so that
nobody wakes up tomorrow and begin to commit us to ridicule and insult.”

In his submission, the Deputy
Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said the 8th Senate, in pursuance
with its commitment to “cooperate fully” with Buhari in fighting corruption,
constituted a committee to investigate the alleged mismanagement of North-East
rehabilitation funds.

He said, “…With the greatest
respect, we have an investigation to complete; we are determined to do that,
and we are irrevocably determined to do that.”

He said, “We will – and rightly so
– that the Office of the SGF occupied by David Babachir (Lawal) should not in
any way want to toy with the institution of the National Assembly, especially
the Senate.”

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