By Rachel Okporu
The suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke, appeared before the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee probing allegations of financial impropriety against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, and the discovery of N13.3 billion discovered in Ikoyi Towers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency on April 12, 2017 discovered $43.4m, N23.2m and £27,800 at an apartment in Ikoyi which Oke had claimed belonged to his agency.
According to reports, the panel grilled him extensively on what the money was approved for and requested for an evidence of approval, where the cash was taken from and why the nature of the so-called ‘covert operation by the NIA’ was not disclosed to the present administration after two years of assumption of office.
Oke was also queried on why the huge cash meant for a ‘secret security operation’ was moved from a well-fortified premises of the NIA to a private residence allegedly bought by a private company linked to a woman.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director-General (DD-G) of the NIA in charge of administration, Mr Arap yadam, has taken over the reins at the security outfit as acting Director-General, following the presidential directive that the most senior officer of the agency should take over the organisation, after the suspension of its DG.
The Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the acting chairman of the EFCC, had appeared before the panel on Friday.
The panel is expected to submit its report to the President at the expiration of a 14-day deadline and it has said it would conduct its work with or favour.
Meanwhile, the fact that a special committee was set up to investigate the cases as well as its resolve to conduct the process behind closed doors, has drawn a lot of reactions from Nigerians; with some supporting the move and others condemning it.