A group of contractors have petitioned the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), urging him to prevail on the National Assembly to pay them for the officials cars bought for lawmakers since 2017.
The contractors, 12 of them, are demanding payment of N875m within seven days with 21 per cent interest, failing which they would sue the leadership of the National Assembly.
The vehicles, which were bought by members of the 8th National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives, included Peugeot 508, 2017 model and Toyota Hilux pick-up vans, among others.
The 8th Assembly was led by Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate and Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the House.
The 9th Assembly is being led by Ahmed Lawan as President of the Senate and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House.
While the 8th House procured Peugeot 508 2017 model, the 9th House had ordered 400 units of Toyota Camry 2020 model. The Senate constantly acquires Toyota Sports Utility Vehicles.
The petition, filed by Roland Otaru, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of the contractor, was dated July 17, 2020, with Reference Number OO/LIT/LAG/076/07/20, addressed to the President and copied to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House and the National Assembly Service Commission.
It was titled, ‘Re: Refusal of the National Assembly to Pay Our Clients Money Due and Payable to Them in Respect of Contracts Executed for the National Assembly Since 2017.’
The petition read in part, “It is as a result of your zero tolerance for corruption that we, on behalf of our clients, convey to you sir, the refusal of the National Assembly to pay our clients the various contract sums owed our clients despite the supply of various cars and office equipment to the National Assembly by our clients since 2017.
“On the instructions of our clients, we wrote letters of demand to the Clerk of the National Assembly and up till now, there is no any iota of response to our letters of demand.
“Sir, as our President who has zero tolerance for corruption, we have it on good authority that funds have been provided for the National Assembly by your government to pay all outstanding debts owed by the National Assembly, but the principal officers of the National Assembly chose to look the other way and have failed, refused and/or neglected to pay the debts owed our clients despite both oral and written demands.”
When contacted, Director of Public Affairs, at the National Assembly, Yahaya Danzaria, referred our correspondent to the Department of Finance and Accounts.
Also the Director of Information, National Assembly, Rawlings Agada, said, “Anything that has to do with services and concerning purchase by members of the Assembly, go to the Senate or House Committees on Services.”
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A top official in the National Assembly management, however, told our correspondent that the parliament has three account heads – Senate account, House account and Management account. The official also stated that the Senate and House Services committees should speak on the matter.
When also contacted, the Chairman of the House Committee on House Service, Mr Wale Raji, said he was not the chairman of the committee, which made procurements in the 8th Assembly.