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Unguarded statements: Presidency disowns Obono-Obla

…Directs him to get clearance from AGF’s office before granting interviews

Following his consistent reckless utterances to the public, the Federal Government yesterday disowned the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla.

The Federal Government, however, asked him to henceforth desist from carrying out any operation in his capacity as head of the panel on the strength that his actions of late, has run contrary to the enabling act establishing it.

A letter addressed to the panel’s chairman dated November 1st, 2017 vide file number HAGF/SH/2017/ VOL/1/60 and signed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN instructed Obla to henceforth seek clearance from the AGF before granting any media interview or making press releases on official matters.

The letter also directed Obono-Obla to promptly provide a detailed up-todate report on the activities of the panel to the Minister for onward transmission to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The FG equally noted that the activities of the panel have contravened established administrative procedures and protocols in the nation’s civil service structure, insisting his immediate and strict compliance with the directives.

Malami’s letter titled, RE: DIRECTIVE IN RESPECT OF CHIEF OKOI OBONOOBLA, CHAIRMAN OF THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATION PANEL ON THE RECOVERY OF PUBLIC PROPERTY emanates from an earlier one sent to him by the Vice President.

It reads in part, “I have received a letter Ref. SH/ OVP/DCOS/FMJ/0424 dated 20th October, 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 capac ity 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”, the letter concluded.

It could be recalled that Obono-Obla while commenting on the reinstatement of fugitive Federal civil servant, Abdulrasheed Maina, said that no court has pronounced him guilty of any offence.

Maina was recently reinstated and promoted to a higher position, prompting a national outrage which caused present Muhammadu Buhari to order his immediate dismissal. However, Obono-Obla did not see the point of the uproar about Maina.

Francesca Iwambe, Abuja

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