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56 days after: Buhari under attack over Lawal, Oke


* SAN, Odinkalu slams Buhari for delay on Osinbajo report
* ‘President would have acted if PDP is involved’
* No, FG will act at the appropriate time- Femi Adesina

Mathew Dadiya, Andrew Orolua and Francesca Iwambe, Abuja

Fifty-six days after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led panel presented its report on the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir David Lawal and the suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ayodele Oke, President Muhammadu is yet to act on the much awaited report.

Buhari had set up the Osinbajo-led panel while the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) as well as the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd) served as members.

Osinbajo had also on August 23, 2017, submitted the report to Buhari when he (Buhari) returned to Nigeria after his three months medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

But the general public and analysts are wondering why the President is reluctant to act on the report on the grounds that the president cannot be saying that he is fighting corruption while he is dilly-dallying over an opportunity to prove that his mantra against corruption is not a fluke.

The analysts are further questioning the propriety on the president’s failure to act on Osinbajo’s report, couple of months after the suspension of Lawal and Oke.

They further want the president to demonstrate his leadership quality in the fight against corruption which is one of the cardinal points that led him to victory in the 2015 presidential election.

Speaking on the matter, a senior lawyer, Mr. Sebastine Hon (SAN), stressed the need for the Federal Government to commence an immediate action on the report, saying that the more the President delays, the more Nigerians smell possible foul play.

Hon, who noted that Nigerians are anxiously expecting the President to release the findings of Osinbajo report, added that the time to act is now.

He said: ” Mr. President rode on the crest of his acclaimed moral purity to power; hence any attempt, willingly or unwillingly, wittingly or unwittingly, on his part to compromise his hitherto known moral high ground will spell doom for not just his administration, but also his political and social standing.

“Three months, in my humble estimation, is enough time for Mr. President to let Nigerians know the honest outcome of the Vice President’s findings on Lawal and Oke. The issues against the duo are indeed too weighty to be swept under the carpet.

“Many things are happening so fast with the Presidency, including the recent events at the NNPC. Mr. President should act fast to reassure Nigerians; otherwise, public commentators, local and international, are already aiming mortal darts at the Presidency. The time to act is now”.

Also, a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu, has wondered why Buhari has been treating the matter with kid gloves. He noted that if the SGF report was about a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the president would have wasted no time in acting on the report.

Odinkalu said: “But that is exactly the point I am making. You see, if that report had been about people in the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government or former late President Umaru Yar’Adua government or in the PDP, do you think you would not have seen what it says by now?

“That is the point. You cannot have uneven standards when you are fighting corruption, whether it affects the family or your folks. But that is not happening now”.

But the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has said that the Federal Government will act on the report at the appropriate time.

When contacted on the telephone on Tuesday night, Adesina told one of our correspondents that: “There is no cause for alarm. The president will act on the report at the appropriate time.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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