…As NCC probes operators’ strength status There are concerns in the Nigeriaan telecom industry on the financial and technical status of operators, especially with the exit of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS) investors from the Nigerian market. Industry watchers are of the opinion that these operators may not be as strong as the way they…
• Osinbajo, other probe panel’s members meet Magu, IGP, DSS DG
By Our Reporters
Barely 24 hours after Director General of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke, was suspended from office over discovery of about N15 billion in a luxury apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, fresh facts have emerged on what transpired before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) operatives last week.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday suspended Ambassador Oke and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal. Lawal’s suspension borders on allegations of violations of law and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
Daily Sun gathered that contrary to insinuations that the Federal Government is not aware of the money in NIA possession and the “covert operation” the agency was embarking on with the funds, Ambassador Oke actually briefed the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, when the government assumed office.
Competent sources revealed that the NIA DG, in his report to the Buhari government, after its assumption of office, through the NSA, outlined all its operations and funds in its possession at the end of President Goodluck Jonathan government.
It was gathered that the NSA investigated the NIA report and approved the continuation of the operations.
Sources revealed that the money recovered in the Ikoyi apartment was meant for NIA operations across the country and outside the country.
On the EFCC operation leading the recovery of the money, it was gathered that one hour before the anti-graft operatives stormed the Ikoyi house, the NIA got wind of it and its DG visited acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu and told him the said apartment was rented for covert operations and requested that caution should be applied.
Magu, it was gathered, went ahead with the operation and immediately released the story and photographs to the press, to the chargrin of NIA authorities, which had always cooperated with the EFCC in operations, in intelligence gathering and logistics.
Sources said although NIA agents discreetly watch over the apartment and were around when the EFCC stormed the place, they cooperated. It was gathered that they had the option of resisting EFCC operatives’ entry into the apartment, since the NIA is also a government security outfit, but having been briefed by the authorities, they cooperated with the EFCC.
On the investigation of the NIA possession of the money by the panel headed by Vice President Osinbajo, Daily Sun gathered that the NIA DG had already prepared his report and defence, which would be submitted when the panel begins sitting and invites him.
Meanwhile, Osinbajo yesterday met with members of the committee set up by President Buhari to investigate the circumstances surrounding the controversial N15 billion.
Other members of the panel are the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the NSA.
The panel has the responsibility of enquiring how the NIA, which made a claim of ownership of the N15 billion ($43.4 million, N23 million and £27,000), came about the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the agency, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.
Magu, Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, met with Osinbajo, Malami and Monguno for hours yesterday inside the Vice President’s office.
At the end of the session, the IGP was the first person to leave the venue. Shortly after Ibrahim left, Malami and Daura also exited the Vice President’s office. Monguno left a few minutes after. They did not speak with journalists.
Magu was the last person to leave the venue.
Although the meeting was believed to have something to do with the committee, Magu simply told reporters that it was a meeting of Assets Recovery Committee.