HighlightTrending Story

Akpabio, Abass hauled to court over N110bn bulletproof cars, others

163

Incensed by the plans to spend N40 billion on 465 exotic and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials and N70 billion as palliatives for new lawmakers, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) says it has brought Senate President Godswill Akpabio and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Abbas, before the law court.

In a suit filed against the duo, SERAP described as unlawful the plan to spend N40bn on 465 exotic and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials, and N70bn as ‘palliatives’ for new members.

The suit followed an announcement by Akpabio during plenary before going on recess that the Clerk of the National Assembly had sent “holiday allowances” into the “various bank accounts of senators”.

Persecondnews reports that the announcement had drawn the ire of senators which made Akpabio to change it to “sorry I have sent prayers to your email boxes for your holiday”.

More than 137 million Nigerians are facing extreme and multi-dimensional poverty amid plenty.

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1606/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio and Mr Abbas to review and reduce the N40 billion budgeted to buy 465 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials.

“An order restraining Mr Akpabio and Mr Abbas from demanding or receiving the N40 billion to buy 465 SUVs and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials until an assessment of the socio-economic impact of the spending on the 137 million poor Nigerians is carried out in the public interest.

“An order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio and Mr Abbas to repeal the Supplementary Appropriation Act 2022 to reduce the budget for the National Assembly by N110bn to reflect the current economic realities in the country.

“Nigerians have a right to honest and faithful performance by their public officials including lawmakers, as public officials owe a fiduciary duty to the general citizenry.

“Unless the reliefs sought are granted, the lawmakers will spend the N110bn, and the travesty, and apparent conflicts of interest and self-dealing by members of the National Assembly would continue.

“It 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.

“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 SUVs and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Blessing Ogwuche, also states in part: “The plan to spend N110bn is a fundamental breach of constitutional and international human rights obligations.

“The planned spending of N110bn is a breach of section 57 (4) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 which provides that: ‘All persons in whose hands public funds may be entrusted for whatever purpose should bear in mind that its utilization should be Judicious.’

“It is also a grave violation of the public trust and constitutional oath of office for members of the National Assembly to unjustifiably increase their own budget at a time when over 137 million poor Nigerians are living in extreme poverty exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidy.

“Rather than exercising their constitutional and oversight functions to pursue the public interest by considering bills to improve the conditions of the over 137 million poor Nigerians who are facing the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy, the lawmakers appear to be looking after themselves.

“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 planned purchase is different from the official bulletproof vehicles expected to be purchased for the four presiding officers of the National Assembly.

“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.

“The budget for the National Assembly may further be increased as members are reportedly demanding an upward review of their salaries and allowances purportedly to offset the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy.

“Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] provides that, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

“Under Section 16(1)(a)(b), the National Assembly has the obligations to ‘harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy’, and to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen.

“Cutting the N110 billion from the budget of the National Assembly would be entirely consistent with members’ constitutional oath of office, and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution, as it would promote efficient, honest, and legal spending of public money.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Leave a comment

Related Articles

Extend AKK gas pipeline project to other northern states, ACF urges Pres. Tinubu

The Arewa Consultative Forum has called on President Bola Tinubu to extend...

NAF air strikes destroy 13 illegal refining sites in Imo, Rivers, and Bayelsa states

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operation “Delta Safe” has destroyed at least...

Again, Dangote Refinery accuses IOCs of manipulating oil prices to sabotage Nigerian refinery

Mr. Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries...

Tarry on purchase of presidential jets for now, TCM urges FG

Comrade Frank Pius Onyeka, the National Coordinator of the Collective Movement (TCM),...

The president and founder of LoveWorld Incorporated (Christ Embassy), Pastor Chris Oyakhilome,...

Alake presents symbolic gold bars to Pres. Tinubu

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, has presented gold...

Emirship crisis: Kano govt. allocates N99.9m for Nassarawa mini-palace renovation

In response to the court’s order reinstating him, the Kano State Government...

Christ Embassy fire now under control, says Lagos Fire Service

The Director of Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Mrs. Margaret Adeseye,...

Gunmen kidnap police orderly, driver of prominent Rivers monarch

Unknown gunmen have kidnapped a police officer and the driver of a...

Tragedy as robbers invade Abuja estate, kill retired Brigadier General

A deadly robbery attack occurred at the Sunshine Homes estate in Abuja’s...

FG to relocate 29 correctional centres in Lagos, Enugu, Oyo, others- Interior Minister

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced that the Federal Government...

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C delivers seamless data storage, transfers solutions for users on the go

In today’s digital age, where capturing and sharing high-definition (HD) and ultra-high-definition...

Ex-Vice President Atiku visits Buhari, Emirs of Daura, Kastina

Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic...

FAAN launches joint task force to combat touting, enhance airports’ security

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has set up a special...

Lagos Police Command detains two officers for unauthorized operation resulting in civilian’s death

The Lagos State Police Command has taken two police officers into custody...

Unregistered locally brewed tiger nuts drink linked to cholera outbreak in Lagos – LASG

Dr. Kemi Ogunyemi, the Special Adviser on Health to the Lagos State...

Binance Executive Gambaryan has access to quality medical care, Nigerian Govt. tells US Congressmen

The Nigerian Government has refuted allegations that Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan is...

Gov. Abiodun issues three executive orders, establishes two new agencies, restrains monarchs on land, mining

Ogun Gov. Dapo Abiodun has issued three executive orders to pave the...

CLO, 40 CSOs to IGP: Withdraw policemen from Rivers 23 councils’ secretariats or face mass protests

The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) and more than 40 allied groups said...

CAF announces new date for 2025 AFCON in Morocco

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe said on Friday...