By News Agency of Nigeria
The Chairman of Senate Ad hoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in North-East, Sen. Shehu Sani, has called for the dissolution of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC).
Sani told newsmen in Abuja on Thursday that Wednesday’s suspension of Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, clearly showed that the committee was not competent.
He recalled that the committee had, at the wake of corruption allegations against Lawal over management of the Presidential Initiative on North-East (PINE) funds, defended him as being without guilt.
According to him, it has become clear that the president could fight corruption effectively without an advisory body because the one currently in place is incompetent.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should as a matter of urgency dissolve his Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption. It is a moribund and irrelevant assemblage.
“A Presidential Advisory Committee headed by a man who defended the SGF is without honour.
“The chairman of the committee attacked me for my report on PINE; now that the president has taken steps in the direction of the committee’s report, I hope the Professor will muster the courage to also attack the president.
“The advisory committee was looking for corruption in Sokoto while it’s there in `shokoto’.
“It is sad that most of the mercenary forces hired to rubbish the integrity of the Senate committee and defend those indicted have suddenly lost their voices,’’ he said.
The lawmaker decried the humanitarian situation in the North-East, saying “it was made an industry where government officials and even non-governmental organisations, profit from the suffering and the hardships of millions of victims’’.
He said that while some people saw the millions of orphans and widows produced by the crisis as victims, others saw them as “cash cows”.
Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, who announced the SGF’s suspension in a statement, said that Buhari also ordered investigation into allegations of violations of law and due process against him.
The Senate had on Dec. 14, 2016, called for the resignation and prosecution of the Lawal following alleged complicity against him in the diversion of North-East humanitarian funds.
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 PINE.
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 by him.
While presenting the report to the senate, Sani said that the committee discovered 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, in which Lawal was a director was awarded consultancy contract.
The company’s major role, according to him, is the removal of invasive plant species in Yobe on March 8.
But, Chairman of PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, swiftly defended the SGF of any complicity in any of the processes, and faulted the committee for saying Buhari’s administration was “treating corruption in his government with `deodorant”. (NAN)