By Musa Adamu
The Senate has challenged the Executive Director (Projects) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Cairo Ojuogboh, to provide evidence to back up his claim that members of the National Assembly were beneficiaries of COVID-19 palliatives from the Commission.
Ojougboh in an interview with a national daily had accused the National Assembly of being “culpable” in the sleaze contracts awarded by the commission.
He also alleged 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 for COVID-19 from the National Assembly,” Ojuogboh said.
But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Ajibola Basiru, in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja, denied the allegation made by the Executive Director that members of both chambers of the National Assembly received the sum of N20m and N15m each as COVID-19 palliative from the Commission.
He, therefore, challenged Ojuogboh to provide the names of lawmakers who were beneficiaries of the said palliative, or immediately retract his statement alongside tendering an apology to the National Assembly in the absence of evidence to backup his claims.
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.
“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,” the Senate Spokesman said.