The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has vehemently denied that it received N20million COVID-19 palliative from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, the Director of Projects of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, had revealed that the NDDC gave each senator N20million, and each member of the National House of Representatives N15million, as palliative.
However, the Senate in a statement titled “NDDC boss says senators got N20m, Reps N15m each for COVID-19 – a disclaimer” released by its spokesman, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, denied the claim.
The senate further challenged the NDDC to release the names of lawmakers who benefitted from the palliative.
Read the statement issued by the Senate below;
“The Senate views with grave concern a statement credited to Dr Cairo Ojougboh, the Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC, who alleged that National Assembly members received varying sums of money as COVID-19 palliative.
“The Senate hereby disclaims the allegation in its entirety.
“The Senate categorically denies that any Senator collected the sum of N20 million or any sum whatsoever from NDDC as Covid relief fund of for any purpose whatsoever.
“The Senate challenges Dr Ojougboh to publicly provide evidence of his claim and list the names of the Senators he allegedly gave the alleged sum. Failure to provide evidence of his claim, the Senate hereby demands immediate retraction and public apology from Dr Cairo Ojougboh.”
Following the statement released by the senate, Dr. Ojougboh, in his response, denied accusing the lawmakers of collecting palliative from the NDDC.
In his response titled ‘Re: Senate challenges NDDC over alleged N20m palliatives: A clarification,’ Ojougboh noted that he never made such statement attributed to him, adding that he would have resisted such payment if it had been proposed by the NDDC.
“I want to state without equivocation, without any hint of doubt, that I neither issued, nor made such a statement. Indeed, there is no provision in the Commission’s budget for such a payment,” he said.
“Let me make it clear, with all due respect to the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly, as well as to the entire Nigeria public, that I would have resisted such a payment if it were ever brought up in the Commission,” he added.
The NDDC is being probed by the National Assembly for financial recklessness.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.