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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Anger escalates as Nigerian lawmakers plan to spend N5.5 billion on luxury cars

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Nigerian lawmakers are not backing down despite condemnation, and activists are also speaking up more ferociously against their plans to spend 5.5 billion naira on luxury cars.

On Tuesday, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, added its voice to a whirlwind of criticisms and disappointment already expressed by other activist groups.

CACOL described the action of the principal members of the Ninth Assembly and other prominent government officials, proposing N5.5bn for the purchase of luxury cars as part of the obligation in discharging their duties as unjust and unfair to Nigerians.

In a release issued by its Media and Publications Officer, Toyin Odofin on behalf of the Executive Chairman of the Centre, Debo Adeniran, said: “Spending a huge sum of N5.550 billion to buy luxury cars for principal members of the ninth Senate is unjust and unfair, it negates the constitutional oath of office made by members to perform their functions in the interest of the well-being and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens, as contained in the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended). This is the 20th year of this civil rule and this is called the ninth Assembly but we have not recorded much progress in terms of legislative morality, conscience, ethics and responsibility.

However, It was gathered that all the lawmakers and some senior government officials in the National Assembly will spend not less than N50 million for cars. In a country that has various economic challenges, the oversight function of the lawmakers shouldn’t be based on purchasing luxury cars, where other things are lying down, such amount of money can help in fixing the health and the education sectors in the country.

Although, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT, Enough is Enough (EiE) and 6,721 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court to restrain the National Assembly (NASS) Service Commission from paying N5.550 billion budgeted for purchase of luxury cars for principal members of the ninth Senate, and to restrain the Senate from collecting the money until the downward review of the amount proposed by the Senate. The suit was filed on Friday at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, and Lagos by Kolawole Oluwadare and supported by an affidavit of urgency. However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

The CACOL Boss added that “we must continue to denounce that action, because once we keep quiet, they like it and then go away believing that they have overwhelmed us. It’s condemnable and totally unacceptable. Nigerian people must not surrender on this issue. Also, we remain convinced that official corruption must be tackled, frontally, if Nigeria must heave a sigh of relief and reverse itself from a  seeming trip to economic and social perdition. Hence, our total commitment and support for the war against the ogre of corruption, Howbeit, for the fight to achieve the set goals of the current federal government and to tallies with the wishes of majority Nigerians.”

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