The President Muhammadu Buhari led government has suspended the chairman of the special investigation panel on the recovery of public property, Okoi Obono-Obla, from further carrying out any official operation until further notice.
The suspension was announced in a statement issued on Sunday by Mr Salihu Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
According to Isah, the decision to release Obono-Obla of the position was based on the grounds that his recent actions were contrary to the enabling act that established the panel.
He added that the activities of the panel had also contravened the established administrative procedures and protocols in the nation’s civil service structure.
In a memo dated November 1, the Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, said the presidency had also placed a gag order on Okoi Obono-Obla, the president’s special assistant on prosecution, who also serves as the chairman of the recovery panel.
Literally, it means that the presidency said Mr. Obono-Obla is now “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.
Obono-Obla who, in his capacity as a presidential assistant, works directly under the AGF, was said to have been informed of his suspension and other developments in a letter dated November 1, 2017, personally signed by Malami.
The AGF’s letter read, “I have received a letter Ref. SH/OVP/DCOS/FMJ/0424 dated October 20, 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.”