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NAFDAC DG’s bribery accusation against lawmakers is not new – and that is the problem

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NAFDAC DG’s bribery accusation against lawmakers is not new – and that is the problem

The Director-General (DG) of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye, has accused some some members of the House of Representatives of demanding bribes from her and threatening her when she refused to concede.

Backstory: In an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, Adeyeye said members of the Health Care Services Committee of the House of Representatives had visited the agency in 2017 and demanded to be paid for the visit afterwards.

  • “I said I cannot. For just the visit? I couldn’t believe my ears because it saddens me. Yes, it can be referred to as them asking for a bribe. It saddens me. This is an organization that was bleeding profusely,” Adeyeye said.
  • She described the incident as the “worst day of her professional life” as NAFDAC DG, especially because she was threatened afterwards.
    “It wasn’t taken well at all. I was threatened and I couldn’t believe that too. You are threatening me?”

Video:

The House of Representatives Health Services Committee is chaired by Hon. Okafor Chike John, an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker who was former finance commissioner in Imo state and a deacon in Christ Embassy Church. Hon. Muhammad Usman is the Vice Chair.

Not the first time: Accusations that lawmakers demand bribes from heads of government ministries, agencies and departments are not new.

  • The most infamous public episode occurred in 2013 when the then minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, accused some high ranking senators, including the then deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu, of demanding N54 million in bribes in order to confirm him as minister.
  • Former INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, also alleged at a public lecture in 2018 that lawmakers were notorious for demanding bribes.
  • There are a few other similar allegations like this one.

Why it matters: The commercialisation of the oversight process by lawmakers has gone on for too long but it does not seem like something that would abate soon. One reason for that is because whenever allegations like this surface, nothing ever comes out from the investigations, and so lawmakers have no reason to believe that there would be consequences for bad behavior.

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