Senate President Ahmad Lawan has debunked reports that he and his counterpart, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, collected $10 million as bribe to facilitate passage of the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Recall that the National Assembly recently passed the Petroleum Industry Bill, approving three per cent for host communities despite calls from various quarters that the provision should be reviewed upward.
According to online news reports, Lawan allegedly got $2 million (N823 million), while Gbajabiamila was allegedly paid $1.5 million (N617 million) as bribes.
The reports further alleged that Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva facilitated payment of the money. It claimed each senator was paid $20,000 (N8.2 million), while members of the lower chamber received $5,000 (N2 million) each.
Lawan, who briefed State House reporters on the outcome of his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said, while the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and Nigerians have the right to hold leaders to account, it was not a license to assail on their character with unverifiable allegations.
He said: “I will advise that people don’t say things that are bad. Recently, somebody said $10 million was given to the Speaker and the Senate President to give to members of the National Assembly to pass the three per cent development fund. That is funny but also very serious.
“I really want to take this opportunity to take exception to those kinds of unwarranted un-provable, false and fake information being fed to the Nigerian public. And the danger people will face with this is you cause unnecessary damage to the reputation of people. I had an occasion to take someone to court because of this kind of thing about three months ago.”
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