Over three days after the allegations were made, the Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Chike Okafor, has refused to respond to allegation that his committee demanded money from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
Repeated calls to his telephone and a text message sent to him were not responded to on Monday.
The NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, had said during an interview on Channels Television that House committee members demanded money from the agency during one of its oversight exercises.
Adeyeye, who is also wife of Senate Chief Whip, said she refused to give in to the legislators’ demands.
She said, “When I came to NAFDAC, there were a lot of things that were wrong. Take oversight function or whatever that is done, I was shocked when I was told to give money.
“I said money for what? Money to the committee that visited us. The healthcare services committee of the House of Representatives. That was 2017 December, not even a month to my resumption.
“We don’t have another country, this is Nigeria. I was shocked first because this was the same day I went for a PowerPoint presentation. We don’t have equipment, about 70 percent of our equipment need to be upgraded.
“We don’t have vehicles and you use vehicles to go after the bad guys or to ensure compliance. Our directors didn’t have computers, laptops. It was shortly after that, they then asked me (and said) we need welfare.”
“I said I cannot. For just the visit? I couldn’t believe my ears because it saddened me.
“Yes, it can be referred to as them asking for a bribe. It saddens me. This is an organisation that was bleeding profusely.”
Adeyeye added, “That day was the worst day of my professional life as NAFDAC DG,” adding that her refusal did not go down well with the lawmakers.
“It wasn’t taken well at all. I was threatened and I couldn’t believe that, too,” she said.
The Committee on Healthcare Services is not new to controversy.
The committee, which also oversees the National Health Insurance Scheme, had, in 2017, rejected the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, who was accused of fraud to the tune of N919bn.