The Senate has denied buying 108 Sports Utility Vehicles for its members in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Chairman, Senate Services, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir, said on Tuesday, that as opposed to the aforementioned 108 vehicles, the Senate bought 36 Land Cruiser VXR V8 jeeps at N36.5 million each for its members – which amounts to a total of N1.314 billion.
Senator Gobir further stated that none of his colleagues has taken the car loan granted them at the inception of the 8th Senate, in August 2015.
Gobir, who was responsible for the controversial car purchase deal, told reporters that the Senate decided to explain the situation to Nigerians, so that people can understand what transpired and also for the Senate to correct the wrong perception Nigerians have about the car purchase.
Senator Gobir also explained that the Senate decided to buy the vehicle as utility cars for its members on one per state basis.
He however, noted that funds for the purchase of the cars were in the 2015 appropriation.
“The car we bought is Land Cruiser VXR V8, not V6,” said Mr. Gobir. The showroom price is about N31 million minimum and then when you add 10 per cent tax it becomes 36.5 million.”
“In fact you can go to the internet and download it; it is very simple, we can give you the website, and you can see them. So, I think what we have purchased the car for is very reasonable.”
“A lot has been happening within the last two days concerning the issue of cars, car loan, appropriation and cost of the cars and we feel it necessary to come out and inform the public about it. This is so, so that people can have a better understanding of the whole thing to avoid wrong perception as being created among Nigerians.”
“That we bought 108 cars is totally wrong; it is not correct. We bought 36 cars. These 36 cars, each senator in each state is either a chairman or a vice chairman and we gave one car to each state to share as utility car. So, we don’t have money to buy 108 cars.”
“We had a closed session and they agreed that we should give one car per state; we sat down and agreed who needs the car most and that was what happened. So, we used what we have in the 2015 budget to buy the 36 cars so that it can go round to each state.”
“We are supposed to buy 109 cars but because of the paucity of funds, because of our sensitivity and concern for lack of funds, we bought only 36 to go round per state.”
“Come to think of it, there is no minister that hasn’t got about three, four cars – one Land Cruiser, maybe a back-up and two Hilux cars. There is no director in the civil service that hasn’t got a car. There is no permanent secretary that hasn’t got a Land Cruiser.”
“In fact, every House of Assembly member has either a Prado or a Land Cruiser and here is a senator you say he cannot have one Land Cruiser.”