Car purchase: Reps reply SERAP, say opposition against lawmakers misplaced

National Assembly

…Say ministers, judges, perm secs, DGs also buying cars

At last, the House of Representatives has opened up on the opposition and suit filed against it by SERAP to stop the planned purchase of 2020 Toyota Camry cars.
In a response titled: “The bias against the legislature is the highest form of self sabotage”, spokesman for the House, Hon. Ben Kalu stated that the opposition against the decision to buy cars for lawmakers was “misplaced”
“I posit that our outrage as Nigerians because legislators approved Toyota Camrys for themselves is misplaced and better directed at the over 400 parastatals of the executive.
“I would also go further as to say that considering the state of Nigerian roads (which the executive is responsible for fixing by the way) SUVs and not saloon cars or Camrys, should be approved for use by legislators in their official duties”.
He deposited that “in the order of protocol in the national order of precedence act, Senators and members of the House of Representatives rank quite higher than ministers, ambassadors, SAs to the president, the SGF, the CBN governor, the Service Chiefs, the IGP, Court of Appeal Justices, Federal High Court Judges, Permanent Secretaries, Directors and Heads of Agencies etc. Yet, several of these persons have approved for them, up to three vehicles (including escort vehicles) to enable them conduct their official assignments.
“Where is the fairness or moral justification for us to complain when legislators get just one vehicle each?” he queried.
He said: “If other arms of government routinely use SUVs as official vehicles, is it fair to reduce the entitlements of federal legislators who do more for the nation to less than what is obtainable at the same level of service cadre?
“How do we reconcile the fact that every year, legislators sit in appropriation committees validating the purchase of SUVs for public servants who they oversight and yet cannot drive the same vehicles to visit them for investigations?”
He denied allegations that the House rejected Nigerian made cars from Innoson Motors, saying “following rumours swirling around the interwebs, a simple investigation into the validity of the allegations revealed that no quotation was offered to the House for consideration by any Nigerian car maker. However, if indeed there was, the public is invited to present proof of this in the interest of all Nigerians”.

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