Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports has said he knows nothing about a controversial N128 million contract awarded by his ministry on November 27, 2013.
He stated this in reaction to threat by the House of Representatives to order his arrest for failing to appear before one of its committees.
The chairman of Committee on Public Petitions, Nkem Abonta, had stated that Mr. Dalung risked being arrested because he refused to appear before the committee after seven invitations were communicated to him.
The committee also summoned the ministry’s Permanent Secretary and Director of Procurement to appear alongside the Minister to explain their roles in an alleged bribery scam involving a firm, Solbec Ltd.
Speaking through his spokesperson, Nneka Anibeze, Mr. Dalung said, “I have never been invited by the said NASS committee and never received any invitation from the Committee in respect of the allegations published.
“The contract was said to have been transacted between 27th, November 2013 and October 2015 by the then Ministry of Youth Development while I took an oath of office in November 2015.
“I did not mandate anybody to collect anything from anybody and so, not in the position to defend it,” he said.
Mr. Dalung said the whole allegation was coming to him as a surprise because before proceeding on medical vacation, he did not receive such petition.
The minister however challenged the Committee to present proof of summon and copy of the petition.
“There are laid down procedures of doing things and I believe that NASS is conversant with these practices common in democratic societies.
“As a law abiding citizen, I will never disregard invitation from NASS. If I have genuine reasons for not making it, I will communicate formally,” he added.
He went further to emphasise that the whole process looked like acting a script outside the confines of the law.
He added that the power of arrest of NASS is a shield intended to protect the integrity of the legislature and not a sword to haunt perceived or imaginary enemies.
“The threat is too harsh and lacks the flavour of legislative compliments because choosing a period of my absence on medical vacation is the worst form of injustice against humanity.”
He however promised to submit himself to the Inspector-General of Police or Sergeant at Arms for journey into detention whenever he resumes.
“For now, I am attending to my health,” he said.
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