Nigeria suspends intel chief over $43 million cash stash

Posted April 20, 2017

The Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) has described the action taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to address the discovery of about N13 billion in a flat at Osbourne Road Ikoyi Lagos as a proof of his resolve to deal decisively with the issue of corruption in Nigeria.

As secretary to the government, David Babachir Lawal was responsible for awarding contracts related to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), which helps rehabilitate areas of Nigeria ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The second senior official to be suspended on Wednesday was Ayo Oke, director general of the National Intelligence Agency, one of the government's main security agencies, which has claimed ownership of the $43-million in cash from the Lagos apartment.

The three-person committee also comprises the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Security Adviser.

"The most senior Permanent Secretary in the SGF's office, and the most senior officer in the NIA, are to act, respectively, during the period of investigation, " the statement said.

The president has directed their suspension pending the outcome of an investigation against them.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) discovered the cash last Wednesday in apartment 7B of Osborne Towers during a sting operation which was aided by a whistle-blower. SGF Lawal had been indicted by the Senate months ago. Who is the Presidency?

Meanwhile, the suspended SGF, has said that he was unaware of his suspension as he emerged from the Office of the Vice President moments after the development was announced.

Journalist: Have you been informed of the suspension? I have not seen the press release so I can not comment on it.

The NIA boss later left the Presidential Villa without seeing the Vice-President. Are you doubting the authenticity of the statement?

But he was turned back as the security men insisted that only the Service chiefs can pass through the gate to the forecourt leading to the President's office.

Lawal: I am always here. I used to come here even before I was made SGF.

Sani's committee had in December previous year indicted Lawal in a grass cutting contract scandal worth N200m involving the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE).