Despite President Muhamadu Buhari’s objection against official cars for senators and members of the House of Representatives, the Senate on Thursday insisted on the purchase cars for the lawmakers.
Buhari had said he will not tolerate a situation whereby the National Assembly buy cars for themselves and at the same time take car loans.
The President made his position known on Wednesday during the maiden edition of his Presidential Media Chat.
However, in a statement by its spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate said while the Senate is contemplating purchasing cars, it does not intend to spend anything close to the various figures of N4.5 billion, N6 billion or N50 billion as being bandied around.
Abdullahi added that shortly after getting the management team and the Senate Services committee to commence the due process for the purchase, certain contractors who bid for the supply of the vehicles but felt their bid would not scale through began sponsoring media propaganda against the project and even leaked the recommendations of the body working on the proposed project
The statement said: “Since the claim in an online medium that we are planning to purchase vehicles, we have not taken any further action on the issue. We are surprised that a proposed purchase became a subject of controversy and several figures that are far from our projections have been bandied around.
“While an online medium put the figure at N4.5 billion, another one said N6 billion and now the President on national television was talking about N50 billion. These are outrageous figures. Once the debate on the 2016 budget begins, Nigerians will have the opportunity of knowing how much we voted for purchase of cars and how we intend spending the vote.
“This is a responsible and responsive National Assembly. We really need project for vehicles to facilitate our work We will however follow due process when we choose to take decisions on the purchase. We will also take into consideration the views, feelings and mood of the nation in taking the decisions. We will not be profligate or extravagant when what is apparently needed in our country is moderate and frugal spending.
“We however call on all Nigerians to be patient with us, and not jump the gun or rush into conclusions, particularly when no decision has been taken. The way the issue is being presented is as if we have ordered the car or have paid for it.”