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August 17, 2018

Buhari’s Whistle-blowing policy working wonders

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President Buhari’s corruption sledgehammer has eventually fallen on two heavy weights in his government.  Ambassador Ayodele Oke, Director-General Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, have been suspended.

Ayodele is being investigated for a whopping N13 billion loot, (comprising $43 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million) found in an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, frequented by his wife, Folashade, while the SGF is being investigated for allegations of violating the law and due process in the award of contracts, amounting to billions of naira, under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

Both senior officials in the Buhari Government were suspended and placed under surveillance by the Presidency, following a statement issued by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina. The suspension lasts until the completion of the investigation.

Although the duo were not placed under any known restriction, they had no prior knowledge of their suspension, which according to sources was done to facilitate thorough investigation. In fact, both men heard about their suspension when they arrived at the Presidential villa, Abuja.

Ayodele Oke who is now claiming that the money belonged to his agency (NIA) had denied any knowledge of it previously.  He told the media the day after the money was discovered that he knew nothing about it and had not read any report linking his agency to the cash.

Ambassador Oke who was appointed NIA DG by former President Goodluck Jonathan on November 17, 2013 has changed his story and is now saying that the money was approved by the former president for certain “covert” activities.

However, one of the whistle blowers responsible for the find told journalists that since he started working on the property as a guard, a woman who spoke fluent Yoruba repeatedly brought huge bags of money to the apartment, popularly called “Dash-Dash,” because of the unknown identity of the owner. That woman is suspected to be Folashade Oke, wife of Ayodele Oke.

The whistle blower also recalled being given tips of N10,000 and N500 on two occasions by the woman, whom he said would visit the apartment, spend about two hours inside ,and then go to the nearby gym before leaving the building.

According to the whistleblowers, the said building has 16 apartments rented out to prominent Nigerians and politicians.  But the building itself belongs to former chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Ahmed Mu’azu, who once denied ownership of the building but has now accepted. Mu’azu is said to be away in Singapore.

Meanwhile, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – EFCC who raided the building found, in addition to the money, 2015 presidential campaign posters.  The EFCC said it had investigated several NIA officials for corruption, in the past year, having found widespread malpractices within the agency, with several of its staff owning hotels, apartments and luxury cars in Abuja and elsewhere.

One of the questions needing answer is how Ayodele’s wife became involved in discreetly and personally ferrying money supposedly belonging to the Federal Government into a private apartment she appears to own. Whistle blowers are sure that other apartments in the same building also need searching.

Regarding the Lawal, Global Visions Ltd. a company owned by him was indicted by the Senate in December for benefiting from inflated and phantom contracts awarded by PINE. Lawal’s firm was said to have got over N200 million  worth of contract from the project to clear grass in Yobe State’s Internally Displaced Person’s (IDPs) camp.



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