The Nigeria Senate, on Tuesday, dismissed reports alleging that the upper chamber purchased 108 Sport Utility Vehicles, stating that it procured only 36 utility Land Cruisers.
In his explanation, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Services, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir, who stated that the SUVs cost N36.5 million each, further clarified that the money came from its 2015 budget.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, Gobir said the specification of Land Cruiser purchased by the senate is VXR V8 and not V6 as being rumoured.
He said, “A lot has been happening within the last two days concerning the issue of cars, car loan, appropriation and cost of the cars and we feel it necessary to come out and inform the public about it.
“This is so, so that people can have a better understanding of the whole thing to avoid wrong perception as being created among Nigerians.
“First, I would like to say that we bought 108 cars is totally wrong; it is not correct. We bought 36 cars.
“These 36 cars, each senator in each state is either a Chairman or a Vice Chairman and we gave one car to each state to share as utility car. So, we don’t have money to buy 108 cars.”
He further said: “We had a close session and they agreed that we should give one car per state; we sat down and agreed who needs the car most and that was what happened.
“Then, the issue of the cost of the car; the cost of the car is N36.5 million. The car we bought is Land Cruiser VXR V8, not V6.
“The showroom price is about N31 million minimum and then when you add 10 per cent tax it becomes 36.5 million.
“In fact you can go to the internet and download it; it is very simple, we can give you the website, and you can see them.
“So, I think what we have purchased the car for is very reasonable and sensitive to economic challenge.
“We are supposed to buy 109 cars but because of the paucity of funds, because of our sensitivity and concern for lack of funds we bought only 36 to go round per state.
“There is no minister that hasn’t got about three or four cars, one land cruiser, maybe a backup and two Hilux cars. There is no director in the civil service that hasn’t got a car, there is no perm sec that hasn’t got a land cruiser.
“In fact every House of Assembly has either a Prado or a Land Cruiser and here is a senator you say he cannot have one Land Cruiser.
Speaking on the issue of car loan, Gobir said, “let me tell you, the car loan that we were given, we have not taken, hear it from me, we did not take the car loan. No senator was given car loan we did not take it.
“Currently we have money for 36 vehicles and we procured 36. We had a close session and we all agreed that we should give one car per state, we sat down and agreed, who needs the car most and that was what happened.”
On allegations that the senate procured the cars without appropriation, he said, “So, we used what we have in the 2015 budget to buy the 36 cars so that it can go round to each state.’’