*as Presidency shuts gate against DG NIA
ABUJA: The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke yesterday battled with tears hearing about their suspension on Tuesday. Both men were seen minutes after the announcement of their suspension at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
While Lawal was seen coming out from the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo after a private meeting, Oke was barred from accessing President Muhammadu Buhari’s office.
On stepping down from Osinbajo’s office, Lawal showed surprise seeing a battery of Journalists waiting for him. “419ers,” he said to Journalists apparently on a friendly note.
While he continued walking out, Journalists followed suit. Asked for his reaction to his suspension the SGF in a voice laden with emotion said “I am not aware”.
Reminded that the Presidency had issued a statement, suspending him, Lawal who had at this time became emotional said: “Who’s presidency? Why is it that you people are struggling to take my photograph today, something that you people are not used to doing?
He waited for a while before his vehicle wheeled in to whisk him away. Minutes later, the two- vehicle convoy of the suspended NIA arrived the Villa.
Sighting Journalists who were already waiting, the security operatives automatically devised a means to prevent him from the glare of television cameras. Providing human shield, the operatives guarded the DG, seeking an alternative route to Osinbajo’s office through the back door.
Access not granted, they jumped backed into their vehicles and drove towards the Presidential forecourt through the Admin Officer’s route. For about 2 minutes, they got stuck at the gate with no one attending to them to open the gate.
Later, the vehicles made a U-turn and drove out of the Villa. Minutes after the vehicles exited, the convoy of the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Monguno wheeled him into the Presidential Villa. Hearing that the DG would return to see Osinbajo, Journalists stayed put outside.
It took the intervention of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina to clear Journalists along the corridors leading to Osinbajo’s office back to the Press Gallery.
Meanwhile, the DG is back at the Villa, heavily guarded and led by operatives to the Vice President’s office.
The meeting is ongoing at the moment. It will be recalled that President Buhari on Tuesday suspended both men and set up a panel headed by Osinbajo to investigate their respective roles in alleged corruption cases.