Buhari: Why I Sacked Babachir Lawal

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s President, has stated why he relieved Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, of his duty.

Mr Lawal was sacked in 2017 following the recommendation of a three-man panel headed by Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, which investigated the allegation against the former official.

He was alleged to have awarded contracts worth N500 million through the Presidential Initiative on North-East, a rehabilitation programme under his office, to a company in which he had interests.

Speaking on Wednesday at a town hall meeting, tagged: “The Candidates,” organised by the MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with NTA and DARIA Media in Abuja, Mr Buhari said he terminated the appointment of Lawal because the allegation against him was a strong one.

The president stated this while responding to questions on why the oust SGF was seen campaigning for his re-election instead of being behind bars for the crime he allegedly committed.

Buhari said unlike during the military regime, he has to be careful not to arraign those accused without evidences.

“That is not fair criticism of the government. I do not think there is anybody that is being pointed out as corrupt in this dispensation which we looked the other direction,” he said.

“I told you why I have to be careful.

“The public should help us.

“If there are strong allegations that are backed up with evidences, bank accounts, names of companies floated and contracts awarded, then we will take them before the courts through the EFCC and ICPC and we have to trust the system and allow them to complete investigation.

“If we just take people, in as we did during the military, and lock them up, the present democracy, a multi-party democracy, does not approve of that.

“If you accuse any person, you have to provide evidence in court for him to be prosecuted.

“So, if there is strong allegation, the government may decide to ask people to go, like in the case of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, we asked him to go.

“The matter is already before the EFCC and I believe that a directive has been issued to charge him and all persons who have cases before the EFCC,” the president said.

Buhari who said his administration would not tolerate any form of corrupt practices from any quarters, advised those making allegations to be able to provide evidence why those they are accusing should be prosecuted.