A new explanation has been given by the House of Representatives on why it is purchasing exotic cars worth N3.6bn for its 360 members even though the country is going through economic recession.
The lower chamber claimed that lawmakers must have a means of mobility while carrying out oversight duties over Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.
They had concluded plans to spend at least N3.6bn across 24 months to complete payment for the luxury vehicles supplied by the Kaduna-based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.
The Deputy Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Jonathan Gaza, while defending the procurement of the cars on Thursday, said that recession would not stop lawmakers from performing their legislative duties. Gaza noted that while working during recession, members were not expected to trek to the premises of the MDAs for oversight duties.
He added, “In a recession, we will all put on our thinking caps. We are working; these are committees’ cars and they are not the personal property of members.
“When you came here today, how did you come? Did you walk down to this place (National Assembly) from your house?
If a member is going to visit an agency, will he trek there?
“We need materials, computers, stationery, cars; these are all for work.”
Asked to comment on whether the National Assembly would approve Buhari’s bid to take a loan of $29.96bn, Gaza replied that discussions were ongoing between the two sides.
The lawmaker said no conclusions had been reached. There are indications that the refusal of the government to fund the projects is reported to be one of the sore points in the relationship between Buhari and the National Assembly.
“We don’t release money for constituency projects. Our work is to pass the budget and we passed the 2016 budget. It is the responsibility of the executive to release funds for projects.
“Also, the money is not paid into our pockets, we don’t touch it,” he replied.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Civil Liberties Organisation and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders have strongly kicked against the decision of the leadership of the House of Representatives to purchase 360 exotic cars worth N3.6bn for its members when the nation is going through economic crisis.
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