National Assembly members asked for bribe to approve palliative, says Buhari’s former aide

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

Some members of the National Assembly demanded for graft as a condition to support palliative approval by the Central government for most vulnerable Nigerians, aide of former President Mohammadu Buhari has said.

Former Special Adviser on Social Investment Programme, Mrs Maryam Uwais said on many occasions she was bullied by bribe seeking members of the defunct National Assembly.

She spoke at the International anti Conference organised by Nigeria’s leading pro transparency organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA held in Abuja at the prestigious The Destination Hotel.

Uwais said while many Assembly members were credible and of good manners, some of them were crooks who demanded for compensation before they would support goodies for the poor masses.

Uwais was in charge of over 300billion from 2016 meant for the poorest of the poor. Many civil society groups commend her stern and honest credentials even in the face of threats and intimidation from corrupt members of the defunct National Assembly.

She said she was delighted that many of the rogue National Assembly members failed to secure their return tickets into the National Assembly.

Narating her gory experiences she said it was not an easy assignment to appear before the National Assembly adding that she faced a very tough time.

“They haven’t come back. Nemesis caught with them” she said.

Uwais argued that the National Assembly plays a critical role in poverty alleviation and that the Chambers needed credible and honest people to be able to meet the aspirations of millions of needy Nigerians.

She said to have transparent records was one of the most important things the National Assembly should promote.

“We need to recover illegal funds. The National Assembly needs internal integrity. It is critical. National Assembly needs internal mechanism that works,” she said to the applause of the audience.

She said it was important for the National Assembly members to be very respectful but regretted that some of them “were bullies”

Speaking at the event, Honorable Akin Rotimi representing Ekiti State said the new National Assembly has created a paradigm shift in the history of Nigeria.

He said about 60 new members are below 40 years old meaning that the potential of greater energy has been introduced into the National Assembly.

He said the new NA has no history of demanding for this and that.

“It’s a new hope that helps us to aspire for a better National Assembly. You can go to public hearing and raise issues, but the public hearing for the purpose of legislative activism to ensure the roles are performed is necessary.”
He said the National Assembly should be conduits of empowerment and that the people need to know the primary responsibility of the lawmakers which is to make laws.

He said while members are anxious to empower people, the people also need to moderate their expectations.

On his part, the Executive Director Say No Campaign Ezenwa Nwagwu said over 2000 abandoned projects exist in Nigeria.

He condemned the trend where NGOs leaders are becoming consultants to the National Assembly which would undermine their independence.

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