Chairman, Senate Committee on Services, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir, has has dismissed media reports that the Upper Chamber purchased 108 SUVs, clarifying that only 36 utility Land Cruisers were procured.
According to him, the SUVs cost of N36.5 million each.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, April 19, Gobir said the specification of Land Cruiser purchased by the senate is VXR V8 and not V6 as being rumoured.
“A lot has been happening within the last two days concerning the issue of cars, car loan, appropriation and cost of the cars and we feel it necessary to come out and inform the public about it," he said.
“This is so, so that people can have a better understanding of the whole thing to avoid wrong perception as being created among Nigerians.
“First, I would like to say that we bought 108 cars is totally wrong; it is not correct. We bought 36 cars.
“These 36 cars, each senator in each state is either a Chairman or a Vice Chairman and we gave one car to each state to share as utility car. So, we don’t have money to buy 108 cars."
He further said: “We had a close session and they agreed that we should give one car per state; we sat down and agreed who needs the car most and that was what happened.
“Then, the issue of the cost of the car; the cost of the car is N36.5 million. The car we bought is Land Cruiser VXR V8, not V6.
“The showroom price is about N31 million minimum and then when you add 10 per cent tax it becomes 36.5 million.
“In fact you can go to the internet and download it; it is very simple, we can give you the website, and you can see them.
“So, I think what we have purchased the car for is very reasonable.’’
He also denied allegations that the senate procured the cars without appropriation, noting that it was appropriated in the 2015 budget.
“So, we used what we have in the 2015 budget to buy the 36 cars so that it can go round to each state.’’
On whether lawmakers earlier accessed loans for the purchase of cars, Gobir said that no lawmaker accessed any form of loan for that purpose.
Defending the purchase of car amid economic crisis, he said if not that the Senate is sensitive to the current situation, it was supposed to purchase 109 SUVs.
“We are supposed to buy 109 cars but because of the paucity of funds, because of our sensitivity and concern for lack of funds, we bought only 36 to go round per state,’’ he said.
“Come to think of it, there is no minister that hasn’t got about three, four cars – one Land Cruiser, maybe a back-up and two Hilux cars."
According to him, every Director and Permanent Secretaries in the civil service have a Land Cruiser each. He wondered why a Senator does not deserve an official vehicle.