Senate admits plan to purchase N4.7b worth of vehicles
The Senate yesterday admitted that it had concluded plans to procure vehicles worth N4.7 billion.
The statement, which was signed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliu Saabi Abdullahi and released by the office of the Senate President, explained that the vehicles were project vehicles for the operation of its 65 committees.
Curiously, the vehicles would go round all 109 Senators because they would be shared to all chairmen and vice chairmen of committees.
At the moment, every Senator is either a chairman or vice chairman of a committee.
The Senate’s statement was in response to an online report that it was buying 120 units of Toyota Land Cruiser 2016 model.
Other details of the vehicles according to the report included the fact that “they must be ‘American Brand, V8, VXR, 5.7, Auto Engine With Intelligence, which would come with integrated navigator cruise control, QI-Compatible wireless charging and Kinetic dynamic suspension system, as well as being “full option.”
But tagged “Project Vehicles are for Committee Work.”
The Senate said the decision to buy the vehicles was informed by the fact that the old ones were no longer good.
It stated that the project vehicles that are to be purchased are meant for the execution of committee assignments.
The Senate said the automobiles were part of the necessities which the institution usually provide to committees to enable them function without depending on external bodies for effective performance of oversight functions.
“The vehicles are not meant for individual Senators. They are purchased for the use of the committees.
“For those who may want to find out what happened to the ones bought in the past, we cannot expect that after four years, the vehicles will still be in the condition to effectively serve the present committees. The best practice in government institutions and even private organizations is for official vehicles allocated to top officials after four years of use to be sold at the depreciated value,” Abdullahi stated.
The statement reads further: “We have been very frugal, responsive and responsible in our spending. We have also cut down on several expenses. However, there are certain expenses and purchases that are normal in government and any organisation generally. The legislature is not an exception.
“With respect to the official vehicles of the Senate President, it should be noted that majority of the vehicles in his convoy are his personal vehicles while some of the vehicles that he inherited, including his official vehicles and the back up car, are so old that they are already developing faults and not fit for long journey. We can recall that on several occasions, his official car broke down. Three instances will suffice here. I remember on a visit to Nasarawa State for a wedding of the daughter of a colleague. Other occasions were at the National Mosque three weeks ago and at the Abuja airport.
“The implication is that the vehicles in his official convoy are so old that they are already causing embarrassment for the Senate.
The media should know that a man of his antecedent would not at this point be excited with purchase of new cars. His official cars are really long overdue for replacement.
“The media should avoid deliberately portraying the legislature as irresponsible and inciting the people against it. We seek the understanding of the media to explain issues and situations to the people. Both the media and the legislature have different roles to play in sustaining our democracy and none should be seen to be undermining the other,” Aliyu stated.