The Senate on Thursday denied that the leadership of the National Assembly received N600 million from the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, for principal officers’ rent.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the allegation emanated from an online report by a group, Citizen Action to Take Back Nigeria, CATBAN.
The report said that President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and his deputy, Lasun Yusuf, collected over N600 million from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, for rent.
Denying the allegation while briefing journalists in Abuja, the Chairman, Committee on Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Dino Melaye, said that the social media released “a very fake report last week.”
“The four presiding officers of the National Assembly collect no rent from the FCDA or any other Federal Government agency for that matter,” he said.
Mr. Melaye described the group as “briefcase Civil Society Organisation that is not registered by law in Nigeria; it is not known or heard; it was hurriedly packaged to do assassin job on the social media”.
He said that as chairman of the committee, he had put his integrity on test to say that no kobo had been collected by any of the presiding officers from the FCDA.
“Those who know how government bureaucracy works, know that it is practically impossible for any of the presiding officers to collect money directly from the FCDA.
“It should be noted that while Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as well as Honourable Yakubu Dogara and Lasun Yusuf are entitled to well-furnished accommodation by virtue of their positions.
“If you recall, the President of the Senate insisted last year that the N10 billion which the FCDA put in the 2016 budget for the completion of the official residences of the Senate President and Speaker be removed from the budget to save cost,” he said.
Mr. Melaye, however, advised the sponsors of the group to verify their information, saying they got the one in contention wrong.
“I call on fake NGOs like this who propagate falsehood and lies all over the social media to advise themselves and do the right thing.
“I challenge this group to provide evidence in terms of transfers on how any of the presiding officers benefited financially from the FCDA. It is a lie, malicious and baseless.
“Nigerians should not over-react. We must do everything to live in a society where truth, justice and egalitarianism are the watchword of the people.