The members of the House of Representatives have started taking delivery of their Sports Utility Vehicles SUVs, in batches as the last tranche would arrive before December.
the Lawmakers spokesperson, Akin Rotimi, confirmed this in a chat with journalists in Abuja.
According to a source who pleaded anonymity, said that the management of the house had issued a circular to members not to sell any of the vehicles, stating clearly that it was the property of the National Assembly.
The source said, “This particular Assembly is very particular about things being done right. In previous assemblies, people would collect their vehicles and sell them off, but the Speaker has put his foot down against such.
“The spokesperson was mandated to issue a statement internally to members and ensure that no member must sell their vehicles as they are National Assembly property.
“Beyond the circular, the management is seriously following up, particularly to justify the purchase, because the vehicles were bought to give lawmakers a level of autonomy from the executive.”
He further noted that the management was very keen on members justifying the use of the vehicle for their legislative operations.
Recall that the decision of the leadership of the National Assembly to purchase imported SUVs for each lawmaker and bulletproof vehicles for the principal officers has generated a lot of controversy, criticism and public discussions, with some citizens lampooning the parliamentarians for being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians amid the high cost of living.
The Human Rights Writers Association earlier criticized the move, stating that procuring SUVs for federal lawmakers was provocative at a time when most families could barely feed their members three square meals per day, and hospitals and roads were collapsing rapidly across the country.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project SERAP asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the National Assembly from procuring and taking delivery of exotic and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials pending the hearing and determination of the applications for injunction filed by the organization.
But the Senate defended the purchase of the SUVs, saying lawmakers needed the vehicles for their official duty.
The spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Akin Rotimi, told journalists that members of the House had started taking delivery of the vehicles.
He also noted that priority was given to female lawmakers and people with disabilities, and much emphasis was laid on people without pending court cases.
Rotimi said, “Some members have started taking delivery of their vehicles. Priority was given to women in the parliament, people with any form of disability and the elderly.
“The management has also ensured that only members who have been fully disposed of their court cases will be given the vehicles to avoid problems.”
According to top-level sources, the vehicles will arrive in three batches for the use of the committee chairmen and members.