The House of Representatives Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has denied querying the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs), headed by Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire over allegations that her office awarded N26.9bn COVID-19- related contracts.
Members of the committee who gave the Orelope-Adefulire-led SSAP-SDGs a clean bill over the allegationsdescribed as fake reports making rounds that it queried the office over the COVID-19 related contracts.
The lawmakers who exonerated the presidential aide, said no such money was appropriated by the National Assembly for the procurement of materials following the COVID – 19 pandemic.
The committee which was chaired by Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye dismissed the allegations saying: “it is important to correct the narrative in the public to avoid misrepresentation of projects carried out by the agency in the past years”.
Hon. Humpe Akande Babatunde who represents Badagry Federal Constituency argued that: “There was no basis for querying OSSAP-SDGs or Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire over any irregularities in contract award or procurement of palliatives”.
He put up the defence during the budget defence session. He added that “presentation made by her contained a detailed analysis of the projects implemented in the previous years, which is unusual of public officers”
“I think there is mischief in the report. Facts before us do not show that the SDGs Office participated in the procurement of palliatives neither were they queried for anything.
“As a matter of fact, members of the committee believes that Princess Orelope-Adefulire-led SSAP-SDGs has performed creditably well, brilliantly and was well commended by the members of the committee.”
Responding to a question raised on non-implementation of special intervention projects, the lawmaker said the information before the committee revealed that the SSAP-SDGs cannot be blamed as funds for the implementation were yet to be released to her office by the Ministry of Finance.
He said: “You do not expect the SSA to execute projects when funds are not released. In fact, the committee could not have queried her when we knew that the ffunds needed for the execution of the projects was not available Hon. Uju Kingsley , from Imo State doubted the possibility of the agency spending a whopping 26billion without appropriation
He said: “It is impossible for an agency to spend 26billion without appropriation by the National Assembly. We must set the record straight do as not to put the agency in the eyes of the public ”
The vice chairman of the committee, Rep. Dr Zainab Gimba also faulted the claim, stressing that Princess Orelope-Adefulir did not err in the discharge of her assignments and advised against peddling of fake news against her or her office as was done twice earlier in the year
Hon. Princess Mariam Onuoha representing Isiala Mbano/Okigwe federal constituency said Orelope-Adefulire deserves commendation over her management skill.