The national assembly has refused to pay for vehicles bought for members of the house of representatives since 2017, 12 contractors involved have alleged.
The vehicle bought by the eighth national assembly, included Peugeot 508, 2017 model, and Toyota Hilux pick-up vans and other office equipment, and were reported to have been captured in the budget.
In an April 25, 2017 letter to one of the contractors, the national assembly said payment would be based on satisfactory completion of the contract.
Otaru Otaru & Co, the legal firm representing the contractors, on July 3, 2020 wrote a letter of demand to the clerk of the national assembly asking that the money owed, which was put at N875 million, be paid.
“If the national assembly that is reputed for making laws for the good governance and welfare of the citizens of Nigeria could not fulfil its obligations under a simple contract, can we really say that the members of the national assembly are really distinguished and honourable members of the hallowed chamber,” the letter read.
The contractors also threatened a lawsuit if the “outstanding sum of N875 million is not paid within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter”.
But the national assembly failed to respond to the demand. In another letter to President Muhammadu Buhari dated July 17, the contractors asked the president to look into the matter and to ensure justice is done.
“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,” the letter read.
“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.”
The contract was said to have been executed when Mohammed Sani-Omolori was clerk of the national assembly.
The National Assembly Service Commission last Friday replaced Sani-Omolori, who was due for retirement, with Ojo Amos Olatunde who now serves in acting capacity.
In 2019, the national assembly came under criticism for budgeting about N5 billion for cars.
Both Ajibola Basiru and Ben Kalu, spokespersons for the senate and house of representatives respectively, were not reachable for comment on the matter.