The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Senate to return the 108 Toyota Land Cruiser sports utility vehicles (SUVs) it allegedly bought for senators at twice the price, or face the wrath of the Nigerian people.
NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, in a statement said that it was insensitive of the senate to acquire the vehicles, especially at this moment when Nigerians are facing excruciating economic pains and hardship.
According to the congress, the boldness of the Senate to go ahead with the purchase of the SUVs after pocketing car loans amounted to a criminal act calculated to short change the nation.
The statement read, “We consider as appalling, insensitive and greedy the decision of the Senate to acquire 108 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles (one for each member, except the Senate president) after collecting ‘car loans’ in August last year for the same purpose.
“It is equally morally despicable and shameful that they are doing this after publicly admitting that the standing committees of the Senate are unable to perform their statutory functions due to the paucity of funds,” According to Wabba.
“We at the Nigeria Labour Congress equally consider it a willful and grievous criminal act, the inflation of the unit cost of each of the cars by over a 100 per cent, as each car supposedly cost N35.1 million instead of N17 million.
“Aside from this, Nigerians are keen to know from where they got the money for the purchase of these cars without appropriation. The defence offered by the Senate spokesperson, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, is laughable and childish.
“According to him, Special Advisers (in the presidency) use SUVs, why not senators or do Nigerians expect them to trek to work? And in any case, cars are capital projects,” Wabba quoted him as stating.
“Couldn’t this have been put to better use such as the constituency projects of these same senators? At a time of severe economic challenges and deepening poverty in the land, can the Senate afford this level of reckless luxury and arrogance?
“The answer is, ‘No’. Their multiple acts of criminality, ranging from acquiring these cars after previously taking loans for the same purpose; spending money without appropriation and over inflating costs constitute not just corruption but a crime against the Nigerian people whom they claim to represent.
“Accordingly, we demand they return those cars to whoever supplied them or the appropriate agencies prosecute them for corruption. In the event none of these happens, they should be prepared to keep a date with Nigerian workers and their civil society allies including market women and students. No one is above the law,” the congress said.