At least 29 top appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari have been fired majorly over offenses bordering on corruption in the last six years, investigations by 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE, have shown.
These senior administration officials include a chief justice of the country, head of government, finance minister, head of civil service, police chief, anti-graft agency boss, three spy chiefs, two heads of top revenue-generating agencies, among other heads of federal
Buhari came to power in May 2015 with anti-corruption crusade as his major standpoint. Despite firing these political appointees, some of them members of his kitchen cabinet, critics and opposition are still accusing the president, who won a second term in 2019, of cherry picking his corruption victims and shielding corrupt officials in his administration.
Last week, while hosting members of the Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group recently at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari reaffirmed his anti-corruption credentials saying: “Thank God that over the years, they can’t accuse me of corruption. And I’ve been everything; governor, minister of petroleum resources, head of state, president and in my second term.”
Findings have shown that the majority of these top officials were given the boot after they were indicted for financial sleaze, misappropriation, fraud, among others.
The remaining others were sacked for embarrassing administrative offenses such as forgery, insubordination, flouting of public service rules, among others.
There are, however, some appointees who were booted out for no explicit reason. One of such appointees is the police chief whose tenure was extended by three months, only to be fired less than a month into the extension.
While many of these appointees were outrightly sacked, some were indefinitely suspended and handed over to anti-graft agencies, yet many others were replaced while under suspension.
There are other appointees who were not dragged to court after their removal, while others are charged to court by EFCC, ICPC and CCB. Some of them were even convicted.
By the end of 2019 when President Buhari got a second term, Nigeria had dropped to 146 and by 2020 ranked 149 by Transparency International 2020 ranking. Some of the senior administration officials sacked include:
SGF Babachir Lawal’s grass cutting scandal
President Buhari suspended Babachir David Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on April 19 2017, and officially sacked him on October 30, same year over N544 million grass cutting scandal. He has been arraigned with six others at the Federal High Court in Abuja by the EFCC over the alleged fraud. He was appointed SGF August 27, 2015.
Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun’s NYSC certificate scandal
Ms Kemi Adeosun resigned as finance minister on September 14, 2018 in a written letter to President Buhari due to a scandal that she forged her NYSC exemption certificate. The Uk-born accountant was not charged after her resignation. She recently came back to limelight after a judgement by a Federal Hight Court in Abuja that she did not need to have a NYSC certificate before she could serve as a minister in Nigeria.
CJN Walter Onnoghen’s asset declaration scandal
On January 25, 2019, President Buhari suspended Mr Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) following an ex parte order issued by the chairperson of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar. He was prosecuted by the CCT for non-declaration of asset among others. He voluntary resigned as CJN before the trial ended. He was convicted by the tribunal on April 18, 2019. He was barred from holding public office for 10 years. On October 6, 2019, NJC announced that the President had accepted his voluntary retirement.
EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu’s recovered loots scandal
Buhari appointed Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on November 9, 2015. He was suspended from office on July 7, 2020 over alleged diversion of recovered funds and asset. Though arrested, Magu was not charged before any court as recommended by the Justice Ayo Salami panel, which indicted him. Buhari appointed Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive EFCC boss on February 25, 2021.
NPA MD Hadiza Bala Usman’s unremitted funds scandal
Hadiza Bala Usman was appointed Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on July 11, 2016. She was however suspended by the Presidency on May 6, 2021 months after the renewal of her second tenure because of alleged N44 billion unremitted tax, and N88 billion administrative spending.
FIRS Chairman Babatunde Fowler’s declining tax scandal
President Buhari sacked Babatunde Fowler as chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on December 9, 2019. He was accused of declining tax revenues since 2015, a lavish lifestyle, and whispered accusations of outright corruption. He was arrested by EFCC on November 2, 2020.
HOS Winifred Oyo-Ita’s N570m fraud charges
President Buhari suspended the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, on September 18, 2019 to allow investigations being carried out by EFCC. On February 29, 2020, Buhari approved Oyo-Ita’s retirement. EFCC arrested and charged Oyo-Ita and other defendants with offences bordering on corruption, fraud, obtaining estacodes and Duty Travel allowance (DTA) for journeys either not undertaken or not in existence, involving about N570million.
NIA DG Ayo Oke’s $43m Ikoyi Towers cash haul
Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke, was sacked by Buhari on October 30, 2017 over the report of a panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that indicted Mr Oke over $43.4 million, N23.2 million, and £27,800 discovered by EFCC on Aprill 12, 2017 at an apartment in Ikoyi which Oke had claimed belonged to his agency. Unable to arrest the spy chief, EFCC filed criminal charges against him and his wife Mrs Folashade at the Federal High Court Lagos. The case stalled because Mr Oke never appeared before the court.
IGP Muhammed Adamu’s sack 2 months after tenure extension
Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu was sacked on April 6, 2021, two months after getting a controversial tenure extension. Buhari extended the tenure of Adamu for another three months on February 4, only to sack him some 27 days to the end of his new tenure. The IPOB reign of terror in the Southeast leading to the killing of dozens policemen and destruction of security facilities reportedly led to his unceremonious sack.
DSS DG Lawal Daura’s National Assembly’s siege scandal
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo sacked the powerful Director-General of State Security Service (DSS) on August 7, 2021 after masked secret service operatives laid siege to the National Assembly complex preventing lawmakers and civil servants from gaining access into the building. The siege was only lifted about an hour after Mr Daura’s sack and subsequent arrest. He was investigated by a police panel and released but never charged. President Buhari was in London when the intelligence chief was fired.
NIA chief Muhammed Dauda’s controversial sack
The acting Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Mohammed Dauda, was dismissed on March 6, 2018 after a tough power tussle at the spy agency. He was appointed to coordinate the affairs of the agency as the most senior director after Mr Oke’s sack. He was sacked for publicising classified information capable of undermining national security, among others. However, the National Industrial Court (NIC) on October 18, 2020, ordered his reinstatement.
NHIS ES Usman Yusuf’s sack after two suspensions
President Buhari on July 1, 2019 fired the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf. Mr Yusuf was earlier suspended twice. A panel set up by SGF recommended his sack for breaching the Public Procurement Act, flouting public service rules by refusing to carry out lawful instructions by superior authorities. He has not been charged.
NBET MD Marilyn Amobi’s this code of conduct violations
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Ms Marilyn Amobi, was sacked on June 15, 2020 for continued violation of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials. She was first suspended by the minister of power Sale Mamman in December 2019, but reinstated by the president in January this year. She was indicted by the EFCC and ICPC. The Nigeria’s auditor-general also found her culpable of maladministration. The House of Reps also indicted her for various financial infractions. She has not been charged.
NEMA DG Mustapha Maihaja’s N1.6billion scandal
The Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja was sacked on May 2, 2020. In 2018, he was accused by a House of Representatives
panel of allegedly misusing N1.6billion meant for the purchase of relief materials. The panel said the money was released to NEMA by the federal government in July 2017 for intervention purposes for flood victims in 16 states. He has not been charged.
TETfund ES Baffa Bichi’s N200m kickback scandal
President Buhari fired the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) Dr Abdullahi Bichi Baffa on January 21, 2019. He was sacked for alleged insubordination and collecting N200 million kickback from the universities. He was also at loggerheads with Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for working against the re-election of the governor accused of dollar-bribery scandal.
NDDC MD Kemebradikumo Pondei’s N81.5billion scandal
President Buhari sacked Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei as acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on December 12, 2020. On July 20, 2020, Pondei collapsed while fielding questions from the House of Representatives panel probing alleged mismanagement of N81.5 billion by the interim management committee of the NDDC.
NBC DG Modibbo Kawu’s N2.5billion court case
The Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Modibbo Kawu, was suspended on February 14, 2020 to allow for investigations. He was indicted by ICPC for alleged corruption. On May 2, 2021, Mr Kawu, Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa, were arraigned over alleged N2.5 billion fraud. Buhari recently appointed a substantive DG for NBC.
NCC chairman Tony’s Clinton Jaja’s power tussle with board members
Buhari sacked the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja, on October 15, 2020. He was fired for reportedly devoting much of his energy to persecuting the DG of the agency since his application to the SGF, asking to be converted to a full-time chairman was turned down.
NECO Registrar Charles Uwake’s N25billion contract scandal
The Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO), Professor Charles Uwakwe was sacked on May 12, 2018. His sack may not be unconnected with an award of a N25 billion contract without the knowledge of either the federal ministry of education or he governing board of the council.
NCPC ES Tor Ujah’s $$400,000 diversion scandal
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Tor Ujah, was sacked on August 27, 2019 for allegedly diverting $229,000 meant for Nigerian pilgrims’ visit to Israel, Greece and Rome in July 2017; and diverting another $103,000 in 2018, among others.
SEC DG Mounir Gwarzo’s face-off with Adeosun
The Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo was suspended by Finance Minister Adeosun in November 2017 for allegedly approving N104 million for himself as severance package for being a former commissioner of SEC. ICPC charged him to court but the allegations were struck out by a high court of the FCT. In May 2019, the National Industrial Court reinstated him but he did not return to office until he submitted his letter of resignation on January 9, 2020.
NIMASA DG Dakuku Peterside’s unexpected sack
President Buhari sack Dr. Dakuku Peterside as the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on March 4, 2020. He is a close associate of Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi.
TCN MD Usman Mohammed’s removal over Siemens power deal
Mr Usman Gur Mohammed was sacked as the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) on May 19, 2020 allegedly over the $2 billion Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI). He was embroiled in a power tussle between power minister and the SGF.
AMCON Chairman Muiz Banire’s controversial sack
Mr Muiz Banire was removed as chairman of the head of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on December 10, 2019. Mr Banire’s removal came about 17 months after he was appointed. His sack may not be unconnected with the amendment of AMCON act by the National Assembly; and political schemings from his home state of Lagos.