There have been heated reactions from Nigerians, especially on social media platforms, as Senate justifies the decision to buy imported sports utility vehicles (SUVs) for lawmakers in the two chambers.
Speaking to the press in Abuja on Tuesday, Sunday Karimi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Services, explained that the leadership of the National Assembly made this choice for lawmakers based on considerations of durability and maintenance over a four-year period.
Karimi also criticized the noise surrounding the purchase of the SUVs, saying that ministers who ride about four official vehicles were not criticized.
His remarks followed reports that the House of Representatives members were set to procure 360 SUVs valued at N57.6 billion. According to reports, each SUV would cost at least N160 million.
However, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has applied for an interim and interlocutory injunction at the Federal High Court Lagos to stop the lawmakers from taking delivery of the SUVs.
Nigerians have also expressed anger at the Senate’s comment.
An X user, Yunus Sani, said, “Using Nigeria road as a yardstick, what happens to the common Nigerians using the road with their personal cars? Moreso, why not patronizing Innoson motor?”
Kenny Oluwatuyi described the decision as “total selfishness”, questioning why the senators complained over the same roads that ordinary Nigerians plied on a daily basis.
Venz Ikem said, “The day our leadership (Executive, Legislative and even Judiciary) agree and start making painful sacrifices for Nigeria to reform is the day Govt will get the voluntary support of the Nigerian people. Until then, we’re just joking, paying lip service to national development.”
Black Rose said, “It is a call to service not call for comfort. Buying SUV for lawmakers is not only wasteful but it shows their character. That day the poor will have the courage to challenge the status quo will come.”
Ode Dim said, “The cost of clearing a car was outrageously increased to stop importation of foreign cars for Nigerians, so, with this statement, the lawmakers are acknowledging Naija-made cars aren’t durable enough as such should review cost of clearing a car at the port.”
Daddy Kiki said it’s not necessarily a “waste of resources” if the cars were not to be used for “personal use” by the legislators. “They could easily get sold for good value at an auction to raise money to buy another set every 4 years.”
Anniebet Abasi said, “So, Mr President gave a LNO for the purchase and distribution of brand new SUV’s Worth ₦160m each to 109 Senators and 360 House of Reps Members totaling a ‘small’ sum of ₦57.6 billion as work tool for NASS?
“While the govt is still scanning and screening and verifying who and who among the poorest poor will start receiving a ‘whopping’ sum of N25,000 monthly beginning from only God-knows-when? Nigeria, my country!”
Samuel Adewale said, “Surprise and shameful things will not finish in this country. Is it not a shameful thing for our so-called representatives both in the upper and lower Houses of Assembly comparing themselves with the lavish spending of the ministers as an excuse to buy SUVs for themselves at the exorbitant rate?
“When people are dying of hunger, when our naira is useless to a dollar as at today a dollar is at the rate of one thousand two hundred and thirty five naira, our senators and representatives did not think of how to make lives better for the masses, SUVs is their priorities.
“People who supposed to make laws against the unnecessary spending of the executives are those giving durability as an excuse to buy SUVs as if those cars will last for ever. May God deliver us from termites and cankerworm in human that are representing us in government.”