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November 14, 2019
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Senate may spend N5.5b on official cars for members

The leadership of the National Assembly has begun moves to procure operational vehicles for the lawmakers that make up its dual legislative chambers.

It was learned yesterday that meetings in that regard started among presiding officers in the Senate even before the apex legislative body embarked on its eight-week recess, which ends on September 24, 2019.

A National Assembly official confirmed the meetings on condition of anonymity, saying the cost of the cars would be deducted from lawmakers’ allowances.

He hinted that the preferred brand being considered for senators is Toyota Land Cruiser Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).

The Bukola Saraki-led Eighth Senate spent not less than N4 billion at that time to purchase the brand at a cost of N36 million. Two extra cars were also bought.

With the estimated current price of the vehicle now N50 million, the Senate might need about N5.550 billion to get enough quantity for its members, and two additional vehicles.

The chamber has always maintained that the cars are not for the luxury cravings of individual senators but to enhance the operations of committees.

It was learned that the cars would be meant specifically for all chairmen and vice-chairmen of Senate committees. But with the Senate now having 69 of such committees, the stage appears set for every member to be appointed as either chairman or vice-chairman.

About N1.3 billion was expended on procuring vehicles for senators in 2012, a development that attracted severe public criticism. At the time, 109 cars were bought for the lawmakers, each costing N11. 07 million.

Senate spokesman, Adedayo Adeyeye, could not be reached for comments as he failed to pick his calls. He did not reply to text messages either.

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