SERAP urges N’Assembly to drop plan for N110b bulletproof cars, others
Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, to drop plan to spend N40 billion on 465 bulletproof cars for members and principal officials, and N70 billion as ‘palliatives’ for new members.
SERAP urged them to repeal the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act, reduce the budget for the National Assembly by N110 billion, reflect on current economic realities in the country, and address impact of the removal of fuel subsidy on over 137 million poor Nigerians.
The organisation implored them to request President Bola Tinubu to present a fresh supplementary appropriation bill and redirect the N110 billion to address the problem of over 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria.
In a letter signed at the weekend by Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said travesty and apparent conflict of interest and self-dealing by members of the National Assembly must stop.
SERAP said: “It is a fundamental breach of their fiduciary duties for members of the National Assembly to arbitrarily increase their own budget and use it as a tool to satisfy the lifestyle of lawmakers.
“It is a grave violation of the public trust and constitutional oath of office for members of the National Assembly to unjustifiably increase their own budget at a time when over 137 million poor Nigerians are living in extreme poverty, exacerbated by removal of fuel subsidy.”
It added: “Rather than exercising their constitutional and oversight functions to pursue public interest by considering bills to improve conditions of the over 137 million poor Nigerians who are facing impact of the removal of fuel subsidy, the lawmakers seem to be looking after themselves.
“The proposed spending of N110 billion by members of the National Assembly is apparently on top of the N281 billion already provided for the lawmakers in the 2023 National Assembly budget. The proposed spending is also different from the N30.17 billion budgeted for ‘inauguration expenses’ for new members.”
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