$23 million exotic cars for Nigerian senators? How the APC ‘miss road’

Musician wey carry him band
He play for union of deaf-and-dumb
He miss road, oh yes
He miss road
-Fela Anikulapo Kuti, “He Miss Road”

Nigerians have been battling with fuel scarcity for weeks now and with the declining oil prices across the world, the subsidy removal, which will mean an increase in the price of petroleum products, is looming over the heads of the government. However, it appears that finding a way to make things easier for the citizens is not a primary concern for the Nigerian Senators, but moving around in exotic cars is, as a total of N4.7 billion was allotted for the purchase of cars for senators.

The Nigerian Senate claims that it is frugal and responsible with the nation’s income, however, in a bid to serve the nation better, they have ordered brand new Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps for all 108 members of the senate. Reportedly, an order has been placed for four Toyota Prado jeeps (2016 model), four Toyota Hilux, a Toyota Hiace Bus and a 2016 model Mercedes Benz S550 for the current President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

This is a clear violation of the monetization policy, which states that no new vehicles should be purchased by any agency of government for use by public officials. Rather, public officers and political office holders are to receive 250 per cent of their basic annual salary as ‘motor vehicle loan’ and this translates to N5.07 million for each senator. So why are Nigerian senators disobeying the law?

According to Aliyu Abdullahi, “the vehicles are not meant for individual senators, they are purchased for the use of the committees” and in a bid to protect themselves from the inevitable backlash from members of public, Abdullahi, on behalf of his colleagues, added that “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.”

However, Abdullahi’s ‘protective addendum’ will not do much to hide the absurdity of the Senate’s latest frivolous purchase. If the senators are entitled to a N5 million car loan and they still go ahead to purchase N4.7 billion luxury vehicles, then we’re not talking about corruption (which keeps being flung around amongst public officials), but greediness.

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