COVID-19 Palliative to NASS; Senate Rebuts Allegation

COVID-19 Palliative to NASS
National Assembly

The National Assembly has resumed another round of rebuttals over allegation of Niger Delta Development Commission giving COVID-19 palliatives to its members.

The Senate said on Tuesday that none of its members received N20 million COVID-19 palliative from NDDC.

However, Ojougboh in an interview with a national daily had accused the National Assembly of being “culpable” in the sleaze contracts awarded by the commission, alleging that the Senators and members of the House of Representatives were beneficiaries of COVID-19 palliatives from NDDC.

“In the National Assembly, each of the Senators got N20 million, while the House of Representatives members got N15 million each for COVID-19 from the National Assembly,” Ojuogboh said.

Recall that Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of National Niger Delta Affairs had during House of Representatives Committee on NDDC probe accused the National Assemblymen of being the greatest beneficiaries of NDDC’s funds.

The National Assembly refuted the accusation and asked Akpabio to mention names which after the minister had sent the list, the matter became sine die.

Conservatively, the Senate with 108 members would have collected N2,180,000,000 while the House of Representatives with 360 members would have collected N5,4000,000,000, bringing the total for both houses to N7,580,000,000.

The Spokesperson for the Senate, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, denied Ojougboh’s claims in a statement titled, “NDDC boss says senators got N20m, reps N15m each for COVID–19 – a disclaimer,” on Tuesday.

Basiru challenged Ojougboh to either release the full list of the lawmakers who benefitted from the palliative or tender a public apology immediately.

The statement reads, “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.

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“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 an immediate retraction and a public apology from Dr Cairo Ojougboh.”