Home » Nigerian Lawmakers Under Fire for Buying Luxury Cars

Nigerian Lawmakers Under Fire for Buying Luxury Cars

by Victor Adetimilehin

Nigerian lawmakers are facing public outrage for spending billions of naira on luxury cars amid the country’s economic woes. The 10th National Assembly, which consists of 469 members, has ordered 2023 models of Toyota Land Cruiser and Prado SUVs for their official use. The vehicles cost between N135 million and N160 million each, depending on the model and features.

The lawmakers have also purchased bulletproof cars for the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and his deputy, Barau Jibrin, as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his deputy, Idris Wase. The bulletproof cars cost N320 million each.

The total amount spent on the vehicles is estimated at over N70 billion, which is equivalent to about $170 million. The lavish spending has sparked widespread criticism from civil society groups, activists, and ordinary citizens, who accuse the lawmakers of being insensitive to the plight of millions of Nigerians living in poverty and facing high inflation, unemployment, insecurity, and poor public services.

A human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has filed a lawsuit against the National Assembly, challenging the legality of the car purchase. SERAP has also written an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, urging him to intervene and stop the delivery of the vehicles.

SERAP argues that the car purchase violates the constitutional principles of transparency, accountability, and public interest. It also says that the money could have been better spent on improving health care, education, and infrastructure in the country.

Other civil society groups have also threatened to stage mass protests against the lawmakers if they do not cancel the car purchase and return the money to the public coffers.

The National Assembly has defended its decision to buy the cars, saying that they are necessary for their oversight functions and committee work. It also claims that the cars are not personal gifts but remain the property of the National Assembly until the end of their tenure in 2027.

However, many Nigerians are not convinced by these explanations and demand that the lawmakers should use their personal cars or public transportation like other citizens. They also question why the lawmakers need such expensive and luxurious vehicles when most roads in the country are in bad condition.

The car purchase controversy has exposed the huge gap between Nigeria’s political elite and the masses. It has also raised questions about the priorities and performance of the National Assembly, which is one of the most expensive legislatures in the world.

Many Nigerians hope that this scandal will serve as a wake-up call for the lawmakers to focus on addressing the pressing issues facing the country and fulfilling their constitutional duties to represent and serve their constituents.

Source: [The Guardian]

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