Contrary to reports that it was planning to purchase brand new vehicles for its 109 members, the Senate has disclosed that the vehicles being proposed for purchase were for its various committees.
The Senate, which was reacting to a report by an online news platform that it is currently on the verge of illegally buying various brands of exotic vehicles for use by its President, Bukola Saraki, and the 108 other senators at an estimated cost of N4.7billion, urged the media to avoid deliberately portraying the legislature as irresponsible and inciting the people against it just as it noted with dismay that the report was seeking to present Red Chamber as insensitive for proposing to purchase vehicles for the use of members.
The Senate’s position was contained in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi.
According to Senator Sabi, the automobiles were part of the necessities which the institution usually provides to committees to enable them function without depending on external bodies for effective performance of oversight functions.
“The vehicles are not meant for individual Senators. They are purchased for the use of the committees.
“For those who may want to find out what happened to the ones bought in the past, we cannot expect that after four years, the vehicles will still be in the condition to effectively serve the present committees.
“The best practice in government institutions and even private organizations is for official vehicles allocated to top officials after four years of use to be sold at the depreciated value”, Sabi stated.
The Senate spokesperson insisted that the legislative arm of government has been “very frugal, responsive and responsible” in its spending, adding “We have also cut down on several expenses”.
However, he noted that there are certain expenses and purchases that are normal in government and any organisation generally and the Senate is not an exception.
“With respect to the official vehicles of the Senate President, it should be noted that majority of the vehicles in his convoy are his personal vehicles while some of the vehicles that he inherited, including his official vehicles and the backup car, are so old that they are already developing faults and not fit for long journey. We can recall that on several occasions, his official car broke down”, the statement said.
In a bid to justify the purchase of new official vehicles for the Senate president, Senator Sabi recalled three instances – one, during a visit to Nasarawa State for the wedding of a senator’s daughter, second, at the National Mosque and thirdly at the Abuja airport – when Senator Bukola Saraki’s official vehicles broke down.
“The implication is that the vehicles in his official convoy are so old that they are already causing embarrassment for the Senate. The media should know that a man of his antecedent will not at this point be excited with purchase of new cars. His official cars are really long overdue for replacement.
“The media should avoid deliberately portraying the legislature as irresponsible and inciting the people against it. We seek the understanding of the media to explain issues and situations to the people. Both the media and the legislature have different roles to play in sustaining our democracy and none should be seen to be undermining the other”, he added.