Obono-Obla and President Buhari when the going was good.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate dissolution of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property SPIP headed by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla.

The panel was set up in 2017 by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo when he was acting President of the country to investigate specifically mandated cases of corruption, abuse of office and similar offences by public officers.

The President has also ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to take over investigations being handled by the panel before its dissolution.

Buhari, who spoke through his Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said the AGF has been directed to immediately take over all outstanding investigations and other activities of the dissolved panel.

No reason was however specifically given for the suspension, but Presidency sources suggest that it may not be unconnected with Obono-Obla’s investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission ICPC.  

Recall that the President had suspended him since August 14, 2019, following commencement of the ongoing investigation by the anti-graft agency.

The sources also say the President believes it would be absurd for someone being investigated over certificate forgery and extortion to be allowed to head a panel that investigates suspected corrupt public officials, a development that may make a mess of the anti-corruption fight.

The statement also said that the President looks forward to receiving the final report of the investigation of the ICPC.

It would be recalled that the embattled Obono-Obla, had filed a suit marked, HC/ABJ/CS/980/2019, to challenge his investigation by the ICPC in which he claimed it would be unfair due to the closeness of the commission’s chairman, Prof Bolaji Owansanoye, to the Vice President.

He among other things contended in the suit that the ICPC has no powers to invite, arrest, detain, investigate, or prosecute him in connection with alleged falsification of academic certificates.

Obono-Obla’s counsel, Faruk Khamagam had also filed an ex parte application seeking an urgent hearing of the suit.