Nigeria’s Buhari acts on graft
NIGERIA’S President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a probe into corruption allegations against a senior civil servant related to the use of funds intended for a humanitarian crisis in the northeast of the country.
The director general of the National Intelligence Agency was also ordered to be suspended after the discovery of more than $43m (R565m) in an apartment complex in Lagos in what the presidency described as a “related development”.
Buhari suspended David Babachir Lawal, secretary to the Nigerian government, and ordered a probe into contracts awarded under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (Pine), his spokesperson said.
Lawal, a Buhari appointee, told reporters he had not been informed of his suspension until asked about it by the media. He made no further comment. Pine did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pine was set up to coordinate the government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in the northeast where 4.7 million people, many of them refugees from the Islamist insurgency by Boko Haram, are on the brink of famine and survive on rations. Alleged corruption and mismanagement have threatened to intensify the situation, one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, say critics of the government’s handling of the northeast.
The presidency statement said it had also ordered an “investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies” by the financial crimes agency in a residential property in commercial capital Lagos, in what it called a “related development”, without giving further details.
It said the National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria’s equivalent of the CIA, had said the money belonged to it. It said the investigation would inquire “whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds”.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said last week it had discovered $43.4m, £27 800 (R470 000) and 23.2 million naira (R1m) in cash in the same Lagos apartment complex. – Reuters