The police have sealed Okoi Obono-Obla’s office in Abuja.
Obono-Obla is a senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari,
as well as the chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the
Recovery of Public Property.
The office of the presidential
panel, located in Asokoro, was sealed Friday afternoon by some armed
police officers, a source close to Aso Rock and the panel told PREMIUM
TIMES, Saturday evening.
The source said the police action
followed a directive from the presidency that Mr Obono-Obla should be
relieved of his appointment “immediately”.
The source said Mr
Obono-Obla is aware of the communication relieving him of his
appointment but that he has been dodging it so he could use the holiday
period to persuade people close to Mr Buhari to talk the government into
rescinding its decision.
“They have asked ICPC to start investigating corruption allegations around him.
police were brought in to restrict movement in the office, so nobody
would tamper with evidence while investigation is going on.
“The panel is still in place, it’s only Obla that has been removed,” the source said.
have built a case of corruption and overzealousness against him over
time, it’s not an emergency action, so it may be difficult for the
decision to be rescinded,” the source said further.
PREMIUM TIMES has, however, not been able to independently confirm if Mr Obono-Obla has been sacked from office.
a PREMIUM TIMES reporter visited Mr Obono-Obla’s office around 9:30
a.m. on Sunday, two police officers were seen guarding the premises.
Mr Obono-Obla was evasive in his response, when PREMIUM TIMES contacted him, Sunday morning.
“I don’t know about that,” he responded when asked if it was true he had been sacked from office.
“If they removed me, they would give me a letter? Is it not so?”
Mr Obono-Obla, however, confirmed his office had been sealed by the police.
said he was in his office on Friday but later left for the holidays in
his hometown in Cross River State before he received information about
the sealing of the office.
“People at the office told me somebody
came there, said he is the area commander, he has instructions that
nobody should enter and nobody should leave. But that is rubbish. Is
that how things are done?
“I am in Cross River, not Abuja. I
don’t know what’s happening in Abuja. If they want to remove me, they
should give me a letter. I am in Cross River enjoying my holiday,” Mr
The police spokesperson at force headquarters,
Frank Mba, did not respond to calls and text message sent to his phone
line by a PREMIUM TIMES as at the time of filing this report.
Obono-Obla’s anti-corruption job has often been steeped in controversies
which overshadowed some of the successes recorded by his office.
At some point, he had to spend time to fight off allegations that he forged his secondary school certificate.
ad hoc panel set up by the House of Representatives, December last
year, had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Mr Obono-Obla over
the forgery allegation.
The panel had also accused Mr Obono-Obla of corruption.
Read also: Nigeria’s Head of Service speaks on alleged missing N16 billion in her office
Mr Obono-Obla had said at the time that the forgery and corruption
allegations against him were merely a witch-hunt by people who were
uncomfortable with his anti-corruption fight.
PREMIUM TIMES on
Tuesday published an exclusive report on how correspondence between Mr
Obono-Obla’s office and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) led
to the exit the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),
Amaju Pinnick, from CAF leadership.
Mr Obono-Obla is known in the
past to have disobeyed the directive of Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi
Osinbajo regarding his anti-corruption job.