By Ayo Kehinde
Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has described as libellous and fake, a news report carried by an online publication alleging that he is involved in a N10 billion fund scandal.
The story titled EXCLUSIVE: Minister Adeosun, Saraki, Dogara, Accountant General in N10 billion fraud scandal”was published by an Abuja based online publication
Reacting to the publication, Media Adviser to Saraki, Yusuph Olaniyonu in a statement described the story as a deliberate falsehood designed to smear the personality of the Senate President and reduce him in the eyes of his esteemed public.
He said: “The article, entitled “EXCLUSIVE: Minister Adeosun, Saraki, Dogara, Accountant General in N10 billion fraud scandal”, in both its style, substance, and deliberate spin struggles to connect the Senate President to the receipt and apportioning of funds which the publication describes as “illegal.”
“In the absence of any doubt, the President of the Senate has nothing to do with any payment, receipt or disbursement of any extra-budgetary funds.
“It is also important to state for the record that the Premium Times article in question is pure and unmitigated false news. A simple check by Premium Times would have revealed that all funds in the National Assembly are in the custody of the National Assembly Management, which is headed by the Clerk, and not its Presiding Officers.
“Additionally, all contract awards are equally overseen by the National Assembly management, not the Presiding Officers.
He said the medium only contacted some officials of the Senate President but never heard any input from them before going ahead to publish the said story.
“We are aware that for some weeks now, Premium Times has had this story. However, they only contacted us on Wednesday, and the Clerk of the National Assembly, after a phone call from the Special Adviser on Media & Publicity to the President of the Senate, promised to give them all necessary explanation and documents on this issue.
“However, it is obvious that in the bid to rope in Senator Saraki, the reporters” of Premium Times could not wait to see the Clerk and rushed to publish the story with outright falsehood less than 24 hours after the Clerk made the aforementioned promise.
“We are surprised that without any proof whatsoever, Premium Times was using expressions like: “Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have just illegally received and shared”; “Saraki and Dogara submitted”; and “Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES showed that at least 44 of the 82 contractors Messrs Saraki and Dogara…” These are highly defamatory and careless expressions.
He said: “ the lawyers of the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, will be initiating legal action on this particular matter.”