By Lubem Gena, Abuja
The member of the House of Representatives representing Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore and Ejigbo federal constituency in Osun State, Representative Bamidele Salam, has denied collecting the sum of N100 million or any other amount as palliative for petrol subsidy removal.
Arising from allegations by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), media reports have it that subsidy removal palliatives provided by the Federal Government are insults to Nigerians, as each legislator went home with N100million while hundreds of thousands of Nigerians in each local government grapple with few bags of rice.
While reacting to the story that each member of the National Assembly went home with N100 million, Rep. Salam who is the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Public Accounts said he was ready to make available his bank account details to willing media investigators to authenticate his claim, noting that he was ready to resign his membership of the Green Chambers, return the money and offer public apologies if anything is found in the contrary.
According to the lawmaker in a message he posted on his Facebook account on Wednesday, which was sighted by The Point, “It is evil, unfair and wicked to continue to peddle falsehood all in the name of freedom of expression.”
In a conversation he painted to portray his argument, Salam wrote, “Very recently, I was with a respected community leader and the following conversation ensued.
“So Hon., what will you spend your N150 million subsidy allowance on?”
“Haa, there is no such thing sir.”
“Haba, Hon. I used to see you as one of the honourable honourables o. How will you deny what is already in the public knowledge? All newspapers have reported it and you are here denying. I know you are always ready to support our people and that is why I just want to suggest that you spend a little of it on providing support to the ongoing community project in.”
“Sir, it is very hurting that there are too many things in our media space that are untrue but which sadly we choose to ignore. Truth is that there is so much pain, hunger and disappointment in the land that can directly be traced to bad governance. In a situation like this, every one in public office must carry a part of the cross. There is no 1, 2, 3 or 100 million Naira paid or to be paid to me or any other member of the House as subsidy palliative or any other title. If there is, I don’t have any cause to lie to you sir….”
He added, “Today, I read this same allegation again published on the front page of The Punch Newspapers. I am a member of the House of Representatives. I assert again today that there is no payment or planned payment of 1, 2, 3, 100, 150 or any millions or thousands to me as subsidy allowance, palliative or any other name attached. If anyone or any media house has any proof to the contrary, I OFFER TO RESIGN MY MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOUSE IMMEDIATELY, RETURN SUCH MONIES AND OFFER PUBLIC APOLOGIES.
“In addition, I offer to provide willing media investigators with all my bank details on the condition that such investigators will sign an undertaking of indemnity to use those details in the strictest confidence and only for the purpose of such investigation.
“I agree there is so much frustration with the political class in the land and many of those frustrations are justified because of the majority’s lack of vision, transparency and commitment to public Good.
“All the same, it is evil, unfair and wicked to continue to peddle falsehood all in the name of freedom of expression.”
When a Facebook user, Ajani Femi Richard asked the House of Representatives member to confirm whether he received vacation or holiday allowance, the lawmaker responded, “There was no payment made to me for vacation or recess, not one Naira. Whether you will believe it is another matter though.”
Another Facebook user reacted to Salam’s post saying, “It was called “prayers” not vacation allowance sir.”
However, Salam replied the Facebook user with the name Gis-Osun Mmxiv saying, “Maybe the prayers have not reached me then.”