The House of Representatives has refuted rumours circulating that it had started distributing official vehicles to the 360 lawmakers while the nation is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contrarily, a source who spoke with ‘The Nation’ said that some of the cars have been delivered and some lawmakers have been informed to be prepared to pick their own, adding that the actual distribution has not started.
However, the House Spokesman, Benjamin Kalu, who refuted the claim in a statement, said that members of the House have relocated to the constituencies since the adjournment of the House for two weeks ago, and the reports on the distribution of cars was false.
However, it was gathered that a delivery of the first batch of the Toyota Camry 2020 model and letters have been sent to some lawmakers informing them of the development.
Meanwhile, Kalu said: “It has come to the attention of the House of Representatives that a newspaper report on Friday, March 27, 2020, had insinuated that the Green Chamber is distributing official vehicles for the 360 members of the House at this critical moment that the country is battling to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Kalu described the story as unfortunate at this time that Nigeria and Nigerians are striving hard to address the pandemic that has forced the Federal Government, and even the various states’ governments, to take drastic measures.
He further said, “Not only has the National Assembly been closed since Tuesday the 24th of March in the wake of the pandemic, but most lawmakers are also in their constituencies. As a House, we are not unmindful of the mood of the nation at this critical time and are committed to ensuring the country stands united in these trying times.
He reiterated that the House, in its commitment had introduced and passed the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020, adding that “It is on record that the leadership of the National Assembly on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, about 24 hours after adjournment, engaged some top government officials in the Executive arm and approved the release of N6.5BN for the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), N10BN for Lagos state, as part of efforts to address the issue of Covid-19 pandemic.”
Kalu expressed the readiness of the House to reconvene at any time to consider measures aimed at addressing coronavirus situation in the country, including a review of the 2020 Appropriation Act, if need be.
“We are committed, as lawmakers, to join hands with the Executive arm to take measures aimed at containing the pandemic and providing succour to Nigerians as a result of the economic shock necessitated by Covid-19 all over the world,” he said.
He clarified that the House only shut down 3 days ago and not three weeks ago as falsely and mischievously reported. He accused the newspaper of choosing to ignore all the house did within this time, the special session on addressing the high number of out of school children, intervening in the strike action by FCT health workers, etc.
In that regards, he urge Nigerians to disregard the newspaper report on the vehicles’ distribution as it is mischief taken too far.
“Just yesterday, the same paper on its back page, claimed that the house “closed shop and went on holiday” three weeks ago, a clear falsehood that is common knowledge,” he added.
He called on Nigerians to adhere strictly to the preventive measures taken by the government and join hands with governments at all levels in addressing the issue of the Covid-19 pandemic.