Nigerians sue Senate over N6b cars for members

Concerned Nigerians, including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, BudgIT and Enough is Enough, at the weekend initiated action at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos against the ninth Senate over plan to spend N5.550 billion on vehicles for its principal officers.

In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1511/2019, the plaintiffs urged the court to “Restrain, prevent and stop the National Assembly Service Commission from paying or releasing the budgeted sum until the downward review of the amount proposed by the Senate.” They also want a declaration that the decision was in breach of Section 57 of the Public Procurement Act 2007, Paragraph 1, Code of Conduct for Public Officers of the 1999 Constitution and Oath of Office of the constitution.

The suit read in part: "A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his official duties. But the plan to spend N5.550 billion to buy vehicles for principal officers of the Senate is a textbook case of a conflict of their personal interests with the national interest of fiscal efficiency - a conflict eventually resolved in favour of personal and self-interest."Members of the National Assembly as public officials form a very tiny percentage of about 200 million Nigerians.

It is public knowledge and judicially noticed that members of the Senate are still eligible to collect huge sums of money as monthly allowances and severance pay on the conclusion of their respective terms".

"It is thus rational that this matter is presently generating a lot of public concern and many Nigerians are now calling for a review of the sum budgeted for vehicles for members.

In the face of glaring facts about Nigeria’s dire economic position vis-à-vis the scant allocations to critical sectors of the nation, we can only pray the court to do substantive justice by granting our reliefs.