Members of House Representatives Committee on Sustainable Development Goals have denied reports that the management of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, OSSAP-SDGs was queried over alleged award of N26.9bn COVID-19 related procurements during a recent budget defence session at the National Assembly.
The members, who were shocked at what they described as fake news, stated that facts were deliberately twisted to suit the malicious intent of the promoter.
Speaking to journalists, a member of the Committee, Honourable Humpe Akande Babatunde, representing Badagry Federal Constituency emphatically said there was no basis for querying OSSAP-SDGs or Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire over any irregularities in contract award or procurement of palliatives during the budget defence session as the 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 OSSAP-SDGs has performed creditably well, brilliantly and was well commended by the members of the committee,” Humpe stated.
On the 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.
“You don’t expect the SSA to execute projects when funds are not released. The Committee could not have queried her when we knew that the finance needed for the execution of the projects is not available to her. In any way, most of the Ministries, Agencies and Departments of government are also having problems executing the capital component of the budgets because of the shortfall in government’s revenue,” Humpe explained.
In the same vein, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Dr. Zainab Gimba faulted the fake report insisting that the House has not found Princess Orelope-Adefulire wanting 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. She is of the opinion that someone, somewhere is probably disturbed by her outstanding performance and decided to malign her integrity by all means.
Another member of the Committee, Hon. Princess Mariam Onuoha representing Isiala Mbano/Okigwe Federal Constituency had during the budget defence session noted that Princess Orelope-Adefulire deserves commendation over the manner she has been handling affairs of OSSAP-SDGs. But she asked for location of more intervention projects in her constituency for the benefits of her people.
It could be recalled that the members had at the end of the presentation by the SSA commended her and her Office for their outstanding performance, as well as the accuracy, accountability, transparency and detailed presentation of relevant documents submitted to the Committee. The members also lauded the Office for standing out as one of the MDAs with 100 per cent completion of projects and without any debts from 2016 till date.
The members warned against dragging the National Assembly into settling of personal scores and maligning of integrity and characters of others.