– President Muhaamdu Buhari’s SGF, Babchir Lawal has been linked to fake firms
– Senator Shehu Sani said the SGF must tell Nigerians how fake firms got N1.3b
– He said that the inability of his committee to trace the addresses of the firms reinforced its desire to interact with the SGF
Many companies awarded contracts by the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) cannot be located, a senator alleged yesterday.
Secretary to the Government of Federation, Babachir Lawal
Senator Shehu Sani, Chairman, Senate adhoc committee on mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East, told reporters in Abuja that over 20 companies were involved in the phony contracts.
Nation reports that of the about N1.3 billion jobs awarded, the most controversial is the N220 million contract for the removal of wild grass and provision of 115 hectares of simplified irrigation in Yobe State, awarded to Rholavision Engineering Limited. The firm is linked to Lawal.
we gathered that the Kaduna Central lawmaker, who described the development as “strange”, said that the inability of his committee to trace the addresses of the firms reinforced its desire to interact with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir David Lawal, who headed PINE.
Sani said: “Meanwhile, you should understand that we are not investigating the SGF alone. We are investigating contracts that were awarded under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) and over 20 companies were involved.
“But something very strange is the fact that some of these companies in these contracts we couldn’t actually trace their addresses.
“We went there but we couldn’t find them. So the option before us is that it is easier for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for us to find some of these names here.”
He added: “One of the persons we invited happens to be the SGF and his invitation followed the events that came after the interim report was tendered before the Senate and that was in his own claim that he was not given a fair hearing.
“He sent a second letter asking for another opportunity to appear before us and he sent a letter to the committee through the leadership of the Senate and that letter overrides any other rumours you may have heard before.
“Like all other persons, I read it on the pages of the newspapers that he went to court but we have never been served any letter on any legal action as far as we are concerned .
“Before then, we also received a letter from the MD of Rolavision who said he was bereaved but the official letter is the one we received from the SGF, which he signed himself and he graciously told us that he needs a new date, based on the fact that the date that was set for today was not convenient for him. So that was the reason I tendered the letter in plenary.
“We need to be meticulous because reputations and lives of people are concerned and it is on that background that on the final phase of the report, we have to do a thorough job.
“We have our papers on the ground and we are set to invite all those persons. It was supposed to be today but, of course, it couldn’t happen. We assure the members of the public through the media that we are going to announce the next date for the public hearing.
“But we are assuring Nigerians that we will discuss with the Senate to give us a convenient date that he is going to come because he is the head of this PINE and the companies that are associated with these contracts are known.
“But we said we appreciate his humility due to the fact that what was stated on the pages of the newspapers was not correct.