*Senate is talking balderdash —Babachir Lawal
*Shettima asks Borno CP to prosecute officials arrested over IDPs food
By Henry Umoru & Ndahi Marama
ABUJA—THE Senate hasunanimously called for the immediate resignation and subsequent prosecution of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, over alleged misappropriation of funds meant to take care of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, at camps in the North-East, following ravaging of the area by Boko Haram sect.
But in a swift reaction, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, who took a swipe at the Senators, however, said they were talking rubbish and in the habit of bringing down people.
Also, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State asked the state’s Police Commissioner to prosecute officials arrested for alleged involvement in the diversion of 50 bags of rice meant for IDPs and prosecute any found guilty.
The Senate also said it had become imperative for Lawal to resign because of inflation of contracts awarded to his company, Rholavision Engineering Limited, incorporated in 1990 with RC No. 159855 at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, Abuja, to provide consultancy services for the removal of the invasive plant species in Yobe State on March 8, 2016.
The resolution of the Senate was sequel to contributions by Senator Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West, while contributing to the interim report of the Ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East, presented by the Chairman, Shehu Sani, APC, Kaduna Central.
In the report, the committee said: “The Presidential Initiative on North-East, PINE, took undue advantage of the provision of emergency situation contract award in the Public’ Procurement Act, 2007 to over inflate contracts.
“Not only that, contracts were awarded to companies belonging to top government officials’ cronies, family members and close associates.
“For example, Rholavision Engineering Limited, incorporated in 1990 with RC No. 159855 at the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja, to carry out information and communication technology services, anchored by Engr. Babachir Lawal, the current Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“He was awarded consultancy contract for the removal of the invasive plant species in Yobe State on March 8, 2016. Although Babachir resigned the directorship of the said company in September 2016, it is on record that he is still the signatory to accounts of the company;
“95% to 100% payments of all contracts awarded by PINE have been paid, even as some contracts are yet to be fully executed, e.g, payment of N108 million only for the supply 1100 units of temporary tarpaulin carbines at N302,000 per unit made to Dantex Nigeria Limited, despite the fact that 125 units valued at N37.7 millio were yet to be supplied.”
The Senate also resolved: “Any public officer culpable of contravening any of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations pertaining to the award of the these contracts should be duly prosecuted by the relevant authorities.
Senate is talking balderdash—Babachir Lawal
He said: “The Senate is talking balderdash; it has developed the habit of bring him down syndrome. Nigerians have decided that we should destroy our best, we should all destroy the promising and best among us by bringing people down without a cause. This is just how I saw it.
“I have the report of the Senate Committee in which it was said that I didn’t resign from Rholavision Nigeria Limited. Let me tell you, Rholavision was formed by me in December 1990, and it has been a company that was run very successfully.
“Now, when I was appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, I resigned from that company on August 18, 2015. I can see that in their report, they are talking about 2016. I don’t know where they got their facts.
“By the way, it is very instructive that when the committee was sitting, no effort was ever made to invite me to come and make a submission. It is, therefore, surprising that they devoted a whole session of today (yesterday) at maligning me, claiming what is not true without even giving me the chance to come and put my own case before them.”
Shettima asks Borno Police boss to prosecute officials arrested over IDPs food
Meanwhile, angered by the arrest of some officials allegedly involved in the diversion of 50 bags of rice meant for IDPs, Governor Shettima has asked the Commissioner of Police to expedite action in the prosecution of anyone found guilty.
Shettima’s directive was made public by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, in a statement emailed to journalists yesterday.
The governor’s directive followed report that hundreds of IDPs, on Tuesday morning, arrested an official of Borno State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, over alleged theft of food items meant for displaced persons at Bakassi IDP camp.