N/East funds diversion: SGF fires back at Senate

Babachir David Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation

Babachir David Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation of Nigeria. Sacked.

Babachir David Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Photo: Femi Ipaye/PM News
The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, says calls by the Senate for his resignation and prosecution was an attempt to rubbish his person.

Lawal made this known while speaking to newsmen shortly after the 2017 Budget Proposal presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari before the joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday in Abuja.

Lawal said he was never invited by the Senate committee to give his own side of the story before its report was sent to the Senate for deliberation. He described the whole process as a witchhunt.

Efforts to get more response from the SGF failed as he did not respond to further questions.

The Senate had at plenary earlier called for the resignation and prosecution of the SGF following alleged complicity in the diversion of the North East humanitarian funds.

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

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

Presenting the report, Sani said that 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 Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company, with Lawal as Director, for instance, was awarded consultancy contract.

The company’s major role, according to him, is the removal of invasive plant species in Yobe on March 8.

“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.

The adhoc committee was directed to expedite action on its findings to submit a complete report on the humanitarian crisis in the North East.