Nigerians have hailed the suspension of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla as Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property by the Federal Government.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, in a statement on Sunday, had said that recent actions of Obono-Obla who is equally an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution, ran contrary to the enabling act that established the panel.
Reactions have been trailing Obla’s suspension on the websites of a national daily newspapers calling for his trail.
In his reaction, a Public Analyst Bonaventure Obiora said, “it is a welcome development and that Obla should go face people he had lied to”.
Another analyst, Chukwudi Cosmos said “this is just the beginning. He will later go to jail. It is only pertinent for the federal government to ensure his trial”.
A civil servant, Odili Gilbert said “Obla is not an intelligent man and they have seen it. So, he had to go, this government have started doing the needful. We are watching.”
Zion Athora said “Suspending Obla Obono or whatever they call him is a welcome development but the best thing the government needs to do is to sack him and make sure he faces trial and that will be the best action from this government this year.
Another contributor Alagwu Emeka said “really, this man that said on Channels television that Igbos are the ones carrying out hate speech in Nigeria, that they refused to get over Jonathan’s loss in 2015 pools and that South South has gotten over it but Igbos refused to, that serves him right.”
It should be noted that the AGF directed Obono-Obla to “henceforth desist from carrying out any operation in his capacity as head of the panel”.
Obono-Obla was notified of his suspension via a letter dated November 1st, 2017 with file number HAGF/SH/2017/VOL/1/60, which was signed by the AGF.
In the letter, Malami maintained that activities of the panel contravened established administrative procedures and protocols in the nation’s civil service structure.
He warned Obono-Obla to strictly comply with Federal government’s directive that he should hands-off from further presiding over any activity in the name of the panel. Obono-Obla was also barred from further granting press interviews without firstly securing permission to speak on any official matter.
“Obla is also instructed to henceforth seek clearance from the AGF before granting any media interview or making press releases on official matters, while he is directed to promptly provide a detailed up-to-date report on the activities of the panel to the Minister for onward transmission to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Malami’s letter titled, ‘RE: Directive In Respect of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, Chiarman of the Special Investigation Panel on the recovery of public property’, was said to be a follow-up to a previous letter from the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
According to the statement, Malami’s letter to Obono-Obla read: “I have received a letter Ref. SH/OVP/DCOS/FMJ/0424 dated 20thOctober, 2017 in respect of the above subject from the Office of the Vice President.“
In the said letter, the Vice President expressed his concerns on the activities of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property which runs contrary to the enabling Act establishing it.
He also noted that the activities of the Panel run foul or contrary to established administrative procedures and protocols in the Federal Civil Service structure.
“In view of the foregoing coupled with the directives contained in the letter under reference, you are hereby directed to refrain from any further action or taking any step in your capacity as the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property with immediate effect until directed otherwise by His Excellency, the Vice President.
“While you are to await further instructions in respect of the Panel’s mandate, you are hereby directed to promptly provide a detailed up-to-date report on the activities of the Panel to the undersigned for onward transmission to the Vice President.
“Furthermore, you are required to henceforth seek clearance from the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice before granting any media interview or making press releases on official matters.
“While appealing for immediate and strict compliance with the contents of this letter, please, accept the assurances of my warm regards and best wishes”.