Nigerians, groups sue Senate over N6b cars for members
Some 6,721 concerned Nigerians including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT and Enough is Enough (EiE), has initiated a court action against the Senate over plan to spend N5.550 billion on vehicles for its principal officers.
In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1511/2019 and filed at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, against the ninth Senate, 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 (4) of the Public Procurement Act 2007, Paragraph 1, Code of Conduct for Public Officers (Fifth Schedule Part 1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Oath of Office (Seventh Schedule) of the constitution.
The plaintiffs argued that spending ‘such a huge sum on luxury cars for the lawmakers was unjust and unfair, as it negates the constitutional oath of office made by members to perform their functions in the interest of the well-being and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens, as contained in Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).’
They also contended that the proposed spending by the ninth Senate raises pertinent questions, including ‘what is the economic value and contribution of the vehicles sought to be purchased to the grand scheme of Nigeria’s economy? What are the parameters used in the interest of the well-being and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens as contained in the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) to arrive at cost efficiency and value for money in the decision to purchase the vehicles? Where are the vehicles purchased by the eighth Senate?’
The applicants noted:
“The failure or refusal by the Senate to comply with legal and constitutional provisions is nothing but an act of arbitrariness. The money could be better allocated to more important sectors of the National Assembly expenditure like constituency projects and scholarships.”
Other claimants in the suit filed by the Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare and supported by an affidavit of urgency, included Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) co-conveners, Oby Ezekwesili, and Aisha Yesufu; Jibrin Ibrahim; Edetaen Ojo; Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi and Deji Adeyanju.