Senators deny N872m car loan, defend purchase of 36 vehicles
Upper Chamber disowns national grazing bill
The Senate yesterday announced that it had rejected the N872 million car loan voted for the 109 lawmakers in the apex lawmaking body.
It also admitted that it bought only 36.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Services, Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir who disclosed this at a press conference in the National Assembly, also denied claims that the 109 Senators had collected loans to purchase their official cars. He said no lawmaker was given any car loan, contrary to media reports.
Also, the Senate denied having a bill before it seeking to establish National Grazing Commission either as private bill or from the Executive arm of government.
A statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Babajide Omoworare (APC, Osun East) said members of the public have been making inquiries concerning the pendency of a national grazing bill in the Senate.
Explaining that the lawmakers were not insensitive to the economic realities, Gobir said they decided to opt for only 36 cars.
He said the cars would be distributed to three Senators from the 36 states, further revealing that the lawmakers will agree on how the vehicles would be utilized.
Gobir explained, “The issue that we got 108 cars is not correct. We only got 36 cars. Each Senator in every state is either a chairman or a vice. We gave a car to three Senators from each state to share among themselves. We did not buy 108 cars. We cannot afford it. The cost of the car is N36.5 million. They are V8 cars and not V6 as being reported.
“This particular car sells for about $90,000. That is about N28 million. By the time you add 1 per cent, it will amount to about N36 million per car. We are supposed to buy 109 cars, but because we are concerned about the situation of things, we decided to buy only 36.
He continued, “There is no Minister, Director or Director-General that has not bought a car. Yet, people are saying we cannot have our cars. Even members of the State Houses of Assembly have their cars. No Senator was given a car loan. We refused to take it. None took any.”
Omoworare added, “Several senators have been inundated with the request by members of the public concerning the pendency of a National Grazing Bill in the Senate.
“This is to clarify that no such bill has been presented by the Executive arm of Government and none has so far been filed by any Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 8th Senate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, a ‘National Grazing Reserve Establishment and Development Commission Bill’ (SB. 60) was presented by Senator Zaynab Kure (Niger Central) during the 7th Senate (2011 – 2015) which has now expired by the operations of law on the 6thJune 2015 in furtherance of Section 64 (1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” Omoworare maintained.
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