Sunday, 13 December 2015

Senate orders 2016 model SUVs for 109 lawmakers

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The leadership of the Senate has placed orders for the purchase of 109 Sport Utility Vans commonly called jeeps in the Nigerian parlance, for its members to carry out their oversight functions.

It has also allegedly turned down a request by some chairmen of the 65 committees recently inaugurated by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to change their preferred vehicles which hitherto had been Prado Jeeps already to Land Cruisers.

Investigations by our Punch correspondent on Saturday showed that each of the vehicles would cost N16m.
They were said to have been ordered before the constitution of the 65 committees.

Tagged “operational vehicles”, the SUVs, according to a member of the management staff, who could not be quoted because of his status, would be delivered to each of the lawmakers in the first quarter of next year.

The vehicles, he said would be formally handed over to the senators after their four-year tenure after paying 30 percent of the cost.

The source said, “The jeeps are not official vehicles because the senators, in line with the Federal Government policy on monetisation, would be paid money for vehicles, accommodation and other things, so they are not entitled to official vehicles and accommodation.
“They, however, needed operational vehicles to carry out their oversight functions. Each of the 109 senators is either a chairman or vice-chairman of the senate committees, hence all of them would have a jeep each”

Our correspondent, however, learnt that some of the committee chairmen, recently met with the leadership of the Senate and requested that their own Prado jeep be upgraded to Land Cruiser Jeeps.
The leadership, according to a senator from the South West geopolitical zone who craved anonymity, told some of the chairmen that made the request that the budget of the red chamber could not accommodate their demands.

According to him, “ The leadership told them that since the vehicles had been ordered, it was impossible to reverse the orders.

 Besides, the National Assembly management will not hand over documents of the vehicles until after the 30 percent cost had been paid, after the end of their tenure.”

Attempts to get the reaction of the Senate Spokesperson, Aliyu Sabi, Saturday failed as repeated phone calls to him and text messages sent to his mobile telephone number, were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.

However, a senator, who is not a member of the senate committee on Media and Publicity, told our correspondent in confidence that the cost of all the vehicles is not more than N1.8bn.

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