- Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on media and public affairs Namdas says the lawmakers' actions was in line with global practice
- He says the acquisitions were also not new as the orders have been made about nine months ago
- He said legislators needed the vehicles for constituency and committee assignments
Federal lawmakers say they have done nothing wrong by buying themselves exotic automobiles at a whopping cost of about N6.1bn.
According to The Punch, chairman of the House of Representatives committee on media and public affairs Abdulrazak Namdas, who justified the expenses, claimed that it was a global practice.
“People should get this thing right; the order for the cars was not recent. The issue of 360 cars has been there in the last nine months. We actually took delivery of 50 of the cars about nine months ago.
“The additional 200 cars that were supplied lately came in batches. It has been an ongoing process. The vehicles are meant for the utility services of members; for example, committee work. It is known everywhere that parliamentarians undertake what is called oversight functions.
“An oversight function requires moving from one place to another and, therefore, we need these utility vehicles. Members of the National Assembly and, in this case, the House of Representatives, belong to many committees.
“Their attention is needed once in a while to visit one project site or another. They cannot go on such a visit on foot. They will need to use vehicles. This practice is not exclusive to the National Assembly. Members of the state Houses of Assembly also embark on such visits and they also require utility vehicles,” he said.
Namdas said new cars had to be bought because the 8th national assembly is different from previous set of legislators, even though some of them are returning to the legislature for another term.
He added: “There is the need for us to educate our people very well. Every House is different from the last one. That is why we have first, second, third, and now the eighth Assembly. The next House, the ninth House, will be an entirely new one.
“The National Assembly is dissolved every four years and re-inaugurated. So, you cannot say because somebody was here last year, he should not use another car. What is important is that every House is a new House and all the members have to use utility vehicles.”
Namdas noted that it was true that some lawmakers refuse to return the cars after finishing their terms and instead turn them into personal property.
“That is not true. How many MDAs have vehicles that will carry members of the National Assembly?
“How many vehicles do they have that are in good shape to the extent that they can convey us to project sites? To be fair to us, we are using our vehicles — and in some cases, National Assembly vehicles — to do our oversight functions. What is happening is a case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging him.”
NAIJ.com had reported earlier that there was a ripple of excitement among members of the House of Representatives as more than 200 members took delivery of their exotic cars for “utility services”.
Namdas, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, confirmed the arrival of the vehicles on Sunday, August 6.
He said the vehicles were Peugeot 508 series and that the plan was for all members to get theirs before the end of the year.
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