After its budget of N6.1 billion for 360 cars at the cost of N17 million each, the House of Representatives says it deserves commendation for not changing cars yearly.
This was according Abdulrazak Namdas, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, who justified purchase of 360 Peugeot 508 cars at the said cost.
Namdas, in an interview with PUNCH, said unlike other government agencies where they purchase new cars yearly, the National Assembly buys cars for lawmakers once every four years, hence the commendation.
“Let me tell you that it is only in the National Assembly that vehicles are purchased every four years. In all other agencies of government, they buy vehicles every year. I think we should be commended,” he said.
Asked if it is justifiable to spend N6.1bn on cars considering the country being in recession, Namdas said, “Yes. It is because the National Assembly is the only legislative institution in Nigeria that houses 360 members in one space and 109 senators in another.
“If you go to (each of) the state legislatures, the highest number of members you will see will be about 40 or slightly above that figure. And this has to be either in Lagos or Kano. But in the National Assembly, the number is quite high. That is why when you aggregate the cost, it looks higher.
“There are 774 local governments in the country. If you are to aggregate the number of vehicles the chairmen purchase, it will be twice the number at the National Assembly. But Nigerians hardly look at this issue that way. Their concern is always about the National Assembly, which is frequently in the limelight, closer to the elite and the seat of power.
“Buying utility cars is a practice all over the world and our own case could not have been done in bad faith,” he said.