Where is Babachir Lawal? | The man who they call “the Presidency”

He’s been called “the Presidency“, “the cabal” and many more names he rarely ever denies. The only thing he’s known to have denied is the knowledge of his suspension from his Secretary to the Government of the Federation role, hours after it was made public by the Presidency.

Engineer Babachir David Lawal, as my colleague wrote a while back used to be the largely unknown “SGF” who had “studied Electrical Engineering at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria” worked “as an engineer with The Delta Steel Company till 1984”, “at the Nigerian External Telecommunications Company from 1984 till 1989” as a “Regional Manager” before moving on to start “his own ICT company in 1990 under the name Rholavision Engineering Limited in Kaduna”.

It’s that company, Rholavision Engineering Limited that catapulted the SGF into limelight. But for all the wrong reasons. Not to leave out due credits, Senator Shehu Sani also played a vital role in that catapulting.

Last October, a Senate Committee led by Senator Shehu Sani recommended that Babachir Lawal be suspended and prosecuted for his involvement in the contract scandal relating to the Internally Displaced Persons.

The Committee found that Rholavision Engineering Limited was awarded a contract by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE), the agency set by the presidency as part of the humanitarian intervention efforts to restore normalcy to the North East and ensure the rehabilitation of the victims of insurgency.

Though Rholavision Engineering as the name suggests was registered as an ICT company, the contract was for grass clearing estimated to have been to a tune between NGN 200 and NGN 270 million.

The House of Representatives had earlier accused the SGF of being responsible for the failure of the house committee to proceed with investigations into the diversion of IDP funds. At the time, Babachir Lawal refused to appear the House to explain the mismanagement of funds as PINE works under the office of the SGF.

The controversy went on for months with the Senate threatening fire and brimstones and Babachir Lawal responding with equal or even more bile. This went on until  President Buhari finally gathered enough courage to suspend the Secretary to his government on the 19th of April. Another panel to “investigate” the questions raised by the Senate was constituted after his suspension. That Committee is headed by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.

In a few days, it will be three months since that panel was constituted and despite having requested files from the Senate Committee, presumably to make arriving at an informed conclusion faster and despite having shown promise of making serious headway, we still have not heard anything close to conclusive about the panel’s findings.

The last time we heard anything about him was towards the end of June when an APC chief reportedly accused him and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hamid Ali of being co-conspirators in a planned recall of Senator Dino Melaye with Kogi’s Governor Yahya Bello.

The  suspended Secretary-General hasn’t given a response yet which is surprising considering the fact that he usually has brash responses for his detractors.

The Presidency has however promised that there’s no possibility of reinstating the Engineer Babachir Lawal as SGF.

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