SERAP, Others Sue Senate over Alleged Plan to Spend N5.5bn on Cars


Davidson Iriekpen  

The socio-economic rights and accountability project (SERAP), Budgit, Enough is Enough, and 6,721 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit praying the Federal High court to “restrain, prevent and stop the National Assembly Service Commission from paying or releasing the sum of N5.550 billion budgeted for the purchase of luxury cars for the principal officers of the ninth Senate.

The group is also asking the court to restrain and stop the Senate from collecting the money until the downward review of the amount is carried out by the Senate.

The suit, filed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare supported by an affidavit of urgency, reads in part quote “a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his official duties.

“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 at the National Assembly.”

“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 proposed and budgeted for vehicles for members. In the face of glaring facts about Nigeria’s dire economic position vis-a-vis the scant allocations to critical sectors of the nation, we can only pray the Court to do substantive justice by granting our reliefs sought.”

“There is a real urgent need to assign, hear and determine this matter expeditiously. The well-being and prosperity of Nigeria require commitment and sacrifice by all and sundry. However, the plan to spend N5.550 Billion (amounting to 6.4 per cent of Nasarawa State budget), is anything but a commitment to pursue the interest, well-being and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens.”

“We urge the court to grant the plaintiffs’ reliefs by stopping the spending of N5.550 billion on luxury cars by the Senate and compelling the Senate to undertake a downward review of the sum proposed and budgeted, consistent with the provisions of section 57(4) of the Public Procurement Act 2007. Unless the reliefs sought are granted, the Senate will continue to benefit from the breach of the law, and at the expense of millions of Nigerians living in poverty.”

The plaintiffs want the court to determine: “Whether the plan to spend N5.550 billion to buy vehicles for principal members of the ninth Senate is not in breach of Section 57 (4) of the Public Procurement Act 2007, Paragraph 1 of Code of Conduct for Public Officers (Fifth Schedule Part 1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Oath of office (Seventh Schedule) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999”