On Thursday December 22nd 2016, Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) after long deliberations following the release of the Interim Report by The Ad-Hoc Committee of The Senate On Mounting Humanitarian Crisis In The North East. This Committee, headed by Senator Shehu Sani, aside highlighting on issues relating to Humanitarian Crisis Management in the IDPs, specifically focused on the perceived abuse of the Public Procurement Acts, 2007 in contract awards by the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE) among other things. Of particular interest to us was the said award of a consultancy contract for the removal of the invasive plant species in Yobe State to Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company incorporated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal. The report posited that Engr.
Babachir Lawal remained a Director of the company at the time of the award of the contract, thus contravening our laws. We were also presented with seeming supporting documentation purportedly from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), seeking to buttress the accusation against that the SGF, including excerpts to show that he remained a signatory to Rholavision’s account to which kickbacks of N200 million was made by Josmon Technologies (the contract executor) in tranches of N10 million over a period.
Armed with these damning details from the interim report, and in complete respect to the integrity of Senator Shehu Sani & members of that adhoc committee, we called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of Engr. Babachir David Lawal for crimes against humanity, with a warning that if by the end of 2016 he has not been relieved of his position and arrested, we will embark on a massive revolt that will entail the complete occupation of the Office of the Secretary to the Federation, until our demands are met. Immediately, we commenced mobilization for action in January
Since the release of our press statement on the 22nd of December, we have been besieged with reports, calls, messages & submissions from every part of Nigeria from respected individuals & civil society groups. Among them are 138 petitions against the adhoc committee’s interim report. We were also availed with detailed submissions with verifiable evidence from Rholavision Engineering Limited & Josmon Technologies (the two companies in the eye of the storm) on everything related to constitution of the directorship of the companies & details of the contract. We reached out to the Corporate Affairs Commission for some clarification, to which we were told the file for Rholavision Engineering had vanished.
In all of these submissions, it is glaringly obvious that something is not right. From the petitions, submissions & reports we have received, a lot of questions have been raised which directly puts the integrity of every member of that committee to question. Does it imply that the committee’s report was doctored or purposely falsified to achieve an agenda? Why was the report not endorsed by all the members of that committee? Why has the SGF refused to respond to these accusations against him, even when they are so damning and can ruin his reputation for life? Why was he never invited in person to defend himself by the committee, especially when it has come to our knowledge that the office of Rholavision Engineering is directly facing the office of Senator Shehu Sani?
In view of the above, we believe that there is more to this issue than meets the eye. As a responsible civil society organisation, it is our duty to stand on the side of justice and fairplay for the sake of posterity. It will be foolhardy of us to ignore these calls without doing our own thorough investigations into the accusations and indictments released by the senate.
Subsequently, we have taken it upon ourselves to undertake a physical tour of the project in question in Yobe State. It is our strong belief that unless we do that, we may never really know the full story behind these issues. We will engage the communities and do a thorough fact finding with pictures & videos to enable Nigerians know what really happened and is happening. From there, we will investigate all parties from every side of the argument. At the end of this exercise, we will make our findings known to the world via a press conference, from where we will know the next step to take to ensure that whoever is culpable is not spared.
We also want to call on all well meaning Nigerians who still have documents or reports regarding these incidents, to please use this opportunity to submit them to us so that we can be availed of every fact with which to work. Make no mistakes about it, if at the end of this exercise our stand remains as it is, we will not spare the SGF. If however we find out that the allegations are all false and a means to an end, we will not spare any member of that adhoc committee
This fight for the soul of our nation is a fight we must all join hands together to execute, if not for our sakes, for the sakes of our children & grand children
God bless Nigeria
IBRAHIM GARBA WALA