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NASS Spends N53.7bn On Cars For Lawmakers In 12 Years.

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NASS Spends N53.7bn On Cars For Lawmakers In 12 Years.

The increasing public spending on acquiring exotic cars for federal lawmakers has raised some concern after it emerged that the National Assembly has spent a whopping sum of N53.7 billion on cars for elected lawmakers in the last 12 years.

LEADERSHIP reports that from 2011 to 2023, N53.7 billion would have been spent on purchasing vehicles for federal lawmakers alone.

This came as some of Nigeria’s major civil society organisations (CSOs) have kicked against such spending, arguing that it is not “justifiable and sustainable.”

It was gathered that the lawmakers, senators and House of Representatives members get exotic cars every four years, running into billions of scars in cost.

From the 7th Assembly from 2011 to the 10th Assembly in 2023, N53.7 billion would be spent on cars. 

In the 7th Assembly (2011 -2015), N3.5 billion was spent on cars for only serving lawmakers. The figure rose to N4.7 billion in the 8th Assembly (2015 -2019).

During the 9th Assembly (2019 – 2023), the amount spent for lawmakers’ exotic cars was N5.5 billion, about an N800 million increment from the preceding year.

The figure would record a gargantuan jump in the 10th Assembly (June 2023 – June 2027), with a whopping N40 billion proposed to purchase vehicles for the lawmakers.

Even though the N5.5 billion spent for the purchase of cars for the members of the 9th Assembly was justified by the then Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, there were several criticisms.

Abdullahi insisted that the N5.5 billion voted for the official vehicles for members was part of the N125 billion National Assembly budget passed for the year.

He said, “The N5.5 billion is from the National Assembly fund and not money being sought from any other source. Besides, as it has always been with previous assemblies, the scheme is a monetised one, requiring each of the lawmakers to pay back the cost of whatever vehicle is given to them.”

As the 10th Assembly proposes N40 billion for the purchase of cars, a matter still in contention, civil society organisations have kicked against it, insisting that such spending is not sustainable.

NASS

A civil society organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the National Assembly to drop what it termed a scandalous plan to spend N40 billion on 465 exotic and bulletproof cars for members.

Transparency International (TI), the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) have also said that Nigeria cannot continue such justifiable and unsustainable spending.

Speaking through their leader, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, the CSOs said Nigeria cannot continue that way. They called for a national dialogue to allow Nigerians to decide how their democracy should be run.

“We can’t continue this way. We can’t support that kind of sending on vehicles. That is not what democracy is all about. Democracy is about the proper utilisation of public funds. Democracy is about ensuring fairness, equity and justice. This spending on cars is not sustainable and not justifiable.

“Every year, you go to the budget, you see the same items like laptops and cars. We can’t continue like that. There is diversion and stealing of public funds to buy cars. Democracy in Nigeria is about looting. Some of us did not fight for democracy for people to come and loot.”

He added that his organisation did not support the looting of public funds and rigging of elections.

He went on: “The National Assembly should know that Nigerians are watching them because, with the underdevelopment, poor infrastructure, we can’t continue to spend this kind of money on cars. 

“There must be a national dialogue and consensus on the kind of democracy we should operate. If we don’t do that, the politicians will continue to loot to the detriment of the masses,” Rafsanjani said.

CONTINUE READING:

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