The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has been urged by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) “to drop the scandalous plan to spend N40bn on 465 exotic and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials, and N70bn as ‘palliatives’ for new members.”
SERAP urged them to “repeal the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act to reduce the budget for the National Assembly by N110bn, reflect the current economic realities in the country and address the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy on the over 137 million poor Nigerians.”
SERAP also urged them to “request President Bola Tinubu to present a fresh supplementary appropriation bill, to redirect the N110 billion to address the situation of the over 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, for the approval of the National Assembly.”
According to reports, “While N70 billion ‘support allowance’ is budgeted for 306 new lawmakers, only N500 billion worth of palliatives is budgeted for 12 million poor Nigerians. N40 billion is also allocated to buy 465 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials.”
In the letter dated 15 July 2023 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “This travesty, apparent conflicts of interest and self-dealing by members of the National Assembly must stop.”
SERAP said, “It is a fundamental breach of their fiduciary duties for members of the National Assembly to arbitrarily increase their own budget and to use the budget as a tool to satisfy the lifestyle of lawmakers.”
“According to reports, no fewer than 107 units of the 2023 model of the Toyota Landcruiser and 358 units of the 2023 model of Toyota Prado would be bought for the use of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively.
“The proposed spending of N110 billion by members of the National Assembly is apparently on top of the N281 billion already provided for the lawmakers in the 2023 National Assembly budget. The proposed spending is also different from the N30.17 billion budgeted for the ‘inauguration expenses’ for new members.