Prof. Abdulhameed Ujo on Wednesday said the suspension of Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was long overdue, adding that it’s “a step in the right direction.”
Ujo is of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, speaking News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja commended the Federal Government for the bold step, saying that the allegation was too weighty to be ignored or swept under the carpet
According to Prof. Uju, “this has long been expected, considering the nature of allegation and the commitment of the Federal Government in the fight against corruption.
“With this suspension, Nigerians will now know that the administration is serious in the fight against corruption and that nobody is being protected,” he said.
According to him, the suspension will further build the confidence of Nigerians in the current administration that, no corrupt political office holder will go unpunished.
Similarly the Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Matthew Urhoghide, and Senator Shehu Sani, who chairs the ad-hoc committee on North East crisis also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for suspending Mr Lawal.
Senator Adamu Aliero who chairs the committee on aviation was also full of praise for President Buhari for the courage displayed in suspending SGF.
The three senators gave their commendations in separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the move was evidence that the President was ready to fight corruption irrespective of who was involved.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina who announced the suspension in a statement on Wednesday, said Buhari also ordered investigation into allegations of violations of law and due process against the SGF.
The Senate Ad hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crises in the North-East had, in an interim report, indicted Lawal in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East (PINE).
The Suspension is a Welcome Development-Urhoghide
According to him contrary to beliefs that the National Assembly was out to witch-hunt members of the executive, the assembly had sincerity of purpose in the discharge of its duties, adding that the legislature is always ready to compliment efforts of the other arms of government towards a sustainable democracy
“Some of the decisions of the assembly are reached on the merit of their cases. So, if the president now considers that it is a good thing for him to take a look at the report from the Senate, which was given in good faith, it is nice.
“It shows that we are all working together as a team.
“If we are fighting corruption we should fight corruption. So, if the president now sees that the position of the senate is right it is good for him to sanction his own employees,’’ Urhoghide said.
“As we expect more of these cases to come up, I want to assure us that there is no rift between the legislature and the executive.
“We are all complimenting each other’s effort in fighting corruption, and that is the truth.
“Whatever recommendation the senate sends to the president is in good faith, because we are all working for the development of the nation and sustenance of democracy,’’ the lawmaker said.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee investigating the North-East crises, Sen. Shehu Sani, in a statement in Abuja applauded the action of the president on the committee’s report.
He said it was commendable that the committee’s report was taken seriously. “The sword of truth is not just cast and sharpened for the neck of foes but also for those of friends.
“Moral gallows is not just meant for a belligerent foe but for a perfidious friend.
“Courage is dispensing justice; greater courage is dispensing justice against our emotions and temptation towards saving a friend.
“It’s easier to annihilate an adversary for a heap wrong than reprimand a friend for a mountain of wrong.
“It’s commendable for the president to heed the call to fumigate the throne of lice and bugs with the same ability he goes after rodents afar,’’ he said.
The lawmaker clarified that “the senate and the committee have nothing personal against the SGF or any person affected.
“We simply did our job in conformity with our constitutional responsibilities and the moral calling of our conscience.
“We cannot jubilate because a mighty mortal is caught in the trap of his fate; we are neither saints nor Angels, but we have a duty to raise a card and blow the whistle.’’
Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Sen. Adamu Aliero, applauded the courage of the president in suspending the SGF.
“The National Assembly is very happy with the development because the executive has concorded with the legislature.
“We are happy that most of the findings of the senate have been upheld by the committee set up by the executive.
“So, we are very happy that it happened this way and this goes to show that the bickering between the executive and the legislature will soon be over.’’
Mr Johnson Chukwu, a Public Affairs Commentator, said the suspension was in order, adding that the continuous stay of the SGF in office, after his indictment, was “a high level of impunity”.
Chukwu, who said one of the criticisms of the current government against the PDP was impunity, expressed dismay that the SGF and a few others had also exhibited some level of impunity.
“People are of the view that nothing has changed because the SGF, who is supposed to be a custodian of discipline has exhibited some level of indiscipline in his attitude.
“His indictment in the IDPs scandal where about N200 million was allocated to cutting of grass in one of the camps is enough for him to have left office before now.
“The suspension is coming though, not too late, shows that the President is taking notice of what is happening around,” he said.