Babachir Lawal, Five Others Arraigned, Plead Not Guilty To Fraud Charges

 

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and five others have pleaded not guilty to a 10 count charge of fraudulent diversion of funds meant for the clearing of evasive plants on the North East.

Lawyers to Babachir Lawal and the defendants argued their application for bail before Justice Okeke of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Federal Government had earlier in January, filed 10 charges bordering on allegations of fraud against the former SGF.

It also filed four charges of alleged fraud against a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke, and his wife, Mrs Folashade Oke.

Oke and his wife were to be arraigned before Justice Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday, February 1, 2019, while Babachir Lawal was arraigned before an Abuja High Court today.

The charges come more than 15 months after they were sanctioned by the President.

Senate Committee Denies Receipt Of Court Injunction From SGF

Shehu Sani says Senate Committee did not receive court injunction from SGFThe Senate Ad Hoc Committee Chairman investigating the humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria, Senator Shehu Sani, says his committee is not aware of any court order barring the probe of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

The Committee, in an interim report released in December 2016 accused the SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, of awarding a 200 million Naira contract to a company in which he allegedly had an interest.

Speaking at Thursday’s plenary, Senator Sani noted contrary to reports that the Committee has not received any letter from the SGF informing the Committee of any court injunction.

He also disclosed that 20 companies which were awarded contracts to address the humanitarian crisis in the North-East cannot be traced.

Mr Lawal was scheduled to appear before the Committee on Thursday, March 23 but in a letter to the Committee, he asked the lawmakers to reschedule the appointment because of an engagement.

Reacting to the SGF’s request, Senator Sani told the Senate at plenary that in the interest of fair hearing, the Committee has postponed the meeting to accommodate the SGF.

The contracts were awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North-East, a committee under the supervision of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the person of Babachir Lawal.

Buhari, Oshiomhole Meet Amid FG Appointment Speculations

Edo State, Muhammadu Buhari, Adams OshiomholeFew weeks after he handed over Edo State’s administration to his All Progressives Congress (APC) successor, it appears Mr Adams Oshiomhole may be joining the leadership train of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former Governor of Edo State was in a meeting with President Buhari on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Mr Oshiomhole, a two time governor of Edo State, is visiting the President for the first time since he left office in November 2016.

The visit comes at a time speculations are strong that President Buhari may be tipping him for the position of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), presently occupied by Mr Babachir Lawal.

Buhari To Pay 2-Day Working Visit To Edo, Oshiomhole

Mr Oshiomhole is also said to be likely pencilled down for a ministerial job by political analysts.

When approached by reporters after the meeting to react to the appointment rumours, he refused to speak on the issue.

The former governor said (while walking away) that he was in the Aso Villa to exchange pleasantries with President Buhari following the New Year celebration.

IDP Funds: Arewa Forum Wants Fair Hearing For SGF Lawal

Babachir LawalThe Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called for fair hearing for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, in the allegation of abuse of office leveled against him by the Senate.

After its National Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, said “the forum remains on the side of justice for all and therefore supports the probe of the SGF on the corruption allegations levelled against him”, saying such will give him fair hearing.

The forum also demanded constant security surveillance and intelligence gathering around troubled areas of Kaduna, Zamfara and Taraba states where lives and property have been lost, to forestall future occurrences.

Mr Ibrahim said: “It is not in the character of the ACF to take sides on allegations of corruption against any government official or private individuals without proper investigation. The rule of natural justice demands that before you pronounce any body guilty of an allegation, you must give him a fair hearing.

“The anti-corruption war cannot be applied selectively, all are subject to thorough investigation. Those found culpable are punished in accordance with the law.

“We, therefore, support the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate allegations of corruption against top government officials of his administration. This clearly demonstrates his total commitment to doing what is right irrespective of who is involved. It is our hope that the Attorney General of the Federation will avail the officials concerned a fair hearing in the interest of justice.

“ACF is equally calling on Nigerians to support President Buhari in this very difficult anti corruption war. The challenges are enormous which requires collective duty to put all hands on deck to save our dear country from insecurity and corruption”.

On the killings in Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara and Benue states, Mr Ibrahim the ACF expressed concerns, saying it is worried about the recurrent communal clashes between farmers and herdsmen in some Northern States like Zamfara, Taraba, Benue and Kaduna.

“This seemingly intractable security challenge in the north which have continued to hinder our socio-economic development is disturbing and unacceptable.

“The recent communal clashes in some communities in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State and that of Jama’a and Kauru Local Government Areas in Southern part of Kaduna State where innocent lives were killed and property destroyed, are worrisome and condemnable.

“So, in consideration of these and other insecurity situations in the region, ACF in collaboration with Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation is proposing to host a Northern Security Summit in February next year that will address the numerous issues of cattle rustling, kidnapping, communal clashes etc. The Summit is aimed at complementing the efforts of Government to finding lasting solutions to the problems.

“We commend the efforts of the affected state governments in their unwavering commitment to the pursuit of peaceful co-existence through dialogue and peace building processes among the communities in their States.

“We urge the Security Agencies to step up surveillance and intelligence gathering to forestall future occurrences,” he suggested.

The ACF spokesman, however, expressed the groups condolences and sympathy to the families that lost their loved ones during the incidents.

The Senate had called for Mr Lawal, over his involvement in a 223 million Naira contract, meant for the humanitarian crisis management in the northeast Nigeria.

In an interim report by the Senate’s ad-hoc committee investigating the mounting humanitarian crisis in the northeast, the committee stated that the Presidential Initiative on the Northeast awarded contracts to top government officials, friends and family members.

The investigation of the committee further showed that a 223 million Naira contract was awarded to Rholavision Engineering Limited, which is anchored by the SGF to carry out information and communication technology services.

FG Seeks Improved Engineering Curriculum In Universities

2016 BudgetThe Federal Government asking the professional engineers in the country to work with relevant institutions towards improving the practice of engineering in the Nigeria.

This is according to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal in Akure the Ondo State capital during the 25th Engineering Assembly of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).

Mr Lawal decried the absence of up-to-date curriculum at the nation’s university as one of the major causes of low quality engineers in the country.

The Ondo State Governor, Mr Olusegun Mimiko, on his part, emphasised on the need to paying attention to the development of local industries.

At the end of the meeting, experts recommended the total reviewing of engineering curriculum in Nigerian universities to meet with current global demands, discourage industrial action by tertiary institutions lecturers and the implementation of research and innovation work been neglected at various universities.

Obsolete Curriculum Causing Low Quality Of Engineering Products – Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria's engineering productsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has identified the absence of up to date curriculum as the major cause of the low quality of engineering products in Nigeria.

The President made the observation on Tuesday while speaking at an occasion organised by professional engineers in Nigeria held in Akure, the capital of Ondo State.

‘A Wide Gap’

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, President Buhari revealed that the obsolete curriculum had created a wide gap between engineers trained in Nigeria and those trained abroad.

He implored professional engineers in Nigeria to work together with the various relevant stakeholders towards ‎improving the practice of engineering in Nigeria.

He also called for the rebuilding of the engineering curriculum to meet current global demands.

On his part, the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, emphasised the negative trend in which most of the capital investments in Nigeria come from financial products while actual industry products have declined.

He insisted that it was the political economy of an era that drives development, noting that there is the need to pay attention to the development of local industries.

In an interview with Channels Television, the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu and a professor in the field of engineering who was onetime Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Professor Faborode gave some solutions to the challenges confronting the development of engineering education and practice in Nigeria‎.

The theme of the ‎conference is “Embracing the future: improving the quality of Engineering education and practice in Nigeria”.

Slain Evangelist: FG Assures On Freedom To Practice Faith

bomb victimsThe Federal Government on Saturday promised to ensure the right of every Nigerian to worship and practice his or her faith in the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, said this during the funeral service for Deaconess Mojisola Olawale who was murdered while evangelizing in Kubwa, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He also promised that the federal government will ensure that the perpetrators of the heinous crime face justice.

Born on the July 23, she was buried on her birthday 42 years later, Deaconess Mojisola Olawale is considered by many here as a hero, a Christian who died at her post.

Lawyer Says Constituency Project Is Unconstitutional

constituency projectA legal practitioner, Dr Tunji Abayomi, says that the execution of constituency project by members of the National Assembly is unconstitutional.

There have been debates over the recent revelation by the federal government that constituency projects usually embarked upon by federal lawmakers might not be implementable in the 2016 budget.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal has explained that this is because of a sharp drop in revenue by over 60% but this has not gone down well with the National Assembly.

However, Mr Abayomi is of the view that this explanation should not have been the response of the SGF but rather stating clearly that embarking on constituency projects is unconstitutional.

He stated that the reason behind the idea of constituency project is corruption and it has “nothing to do with development”.

“There is nothing like that in any legislative house anywhere in the world,” he argued, adding that it also never existed in past democratic governments in the country.

“We must understand that this appropriation in the National Assembly is the greatest corrupt enterprise that this nation faces.

“What do they use it for? Town hall, clinics and all sorts of ridiculous projects that have nothing to do with the development of the country. That is why they are fighting so hard for it.”

He said that the job of the legislature is to make laws and not to execute projects and the Nigerian Constitution is clear on this.

FG May Not Fully Implement 2016 Budget – SGF

2016 BudgetThe Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, has said that the federal government may not fully implement the 2016 budget, owing to a sharp drop in revenue by over 60%.

The SGF gave the revelations when he appeared before a joint senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions and that of appropriation and finance.

He was there to defend his comments in an interview he granted to one of the national dailies that the federal government may not implement constituency projects in the 2016 budget.

He blamed the development on the activities of militants in the Niger Delta region.

He said that the oil benchmark of the federal government has been drastically affected by activities of militants, adding that the country was producing about 800,000 barrels per day.

Some members of the committee insisted that the provision of the constituency allowance would go a long way in providing basic amenities for Nigerians.

Senate Summons SGF Over Comments On Constituency Project Allowance

Senate, SGF, Constituency Project AllowanceSenate has summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, over his comments on the withdrawal of constituency project allowance for federal lawmakers.

The resolve was made after the legislators debated a motion raised by a representative from Edo State, Senator Matthew Urehogide, on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The matter which came under matters of urgent national importance at the floor of the Senate was viewed by lawmakers as an attempt to stop the provision of the dividends of democracy for members of their constituents.

They argued that the funds were already captured in the 2016 Budget and needed no further debate.

A senator from Ekiti South, Biodun Olujimi, gave his view on the issue and urged public officers to speak with caution.

However, another lawmaker from Kebbi North, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, noted that the SGF should not be blamed.

After much deliberations on the matter, the Senate summoned Mr Lawal to appear before its Joint Committee on Ethics, Budget and Appropriations.

The upper house directed its committee to get back to the Senate with its report within a week.

House Of Reps Seeks Unbiased Allocation Of Constituency Projects

Yakubu Dogara, Constituency ProjectsThe House of Representatives is seeking more liberal and equitable ways of distributing constituency projects across Nigeria.



The Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, made the call on Monday at the one-day Political Representation and Constituency Intervention Summit in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He said that legislators have been disadvantaged in the implementation of constituency projects.

The Speaker further stated that funding was often made available to projects sited at the constituencies of those in the executive arm of government at the expense of the legislators.

On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, condemned the manner at which funds meant for constituency projects were abused in the past.

In his reaction, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, urged the lawmakers to decide on a framework that would ensure that constituency projects were not viewed as individual lawmaker’s project.

It is a conference of both Federal and state lawmakers to brainstorm on the best ways to attract and implement constituency projects.

It is hoped that the resolutions from the conference would strengthen the legal and institutional framework for effective management of the projects.

Adamawa Governor’s Impeachment’s Action Is Sponsored – APC

Babachir LawalThe National Vice Chairman of the All progressives Congress (APC), in the northeast, Mr Babachir Lawal, has criticised the planned impeachment of the Governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako, insisting that the process is sponsored.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, after an emergency caucus meeting of the party, Mr Lawal said the attempt by members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly to impeach Governor Nyako was an illegal act being backed by the state Acting Chief Judge.

The party expressed concerns that the impeachment proceedings against governor Nyako was being sponsored from outside the state with the sole aim of decimating states controlled by the All Progressives Congress.

“We have discussed extensively what is happening in Adamawa State and condemned vehemently the breach of procedure in the impeachment process.

“We condemned in totality, this illegality that is being perpetrated in Adamawa State. The consequence of which we know will lead to further arrest in our community. We believe it is sponsored from outside to cause disunity in our state. while the hand is that of Esau the voice is that of Jacob.

“We call on the President to call his attack dogs off and let our state live in peace,” he said.

Earlier, The Adamawa State House of Assembly had commenced impeachment proceedings against the state governor, Murtala Nyako, and his deputy, Bala Ngilari.

It was stated that months of acrimonious relationship existed between the executive and the legislature in the northeast state since the change in political party by the Governor from PDP to APC.