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No senator has received SUVs – Senate spokesperson

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The spokesperson for the Senate, Yemi Adaramodu, has said that no lawmaker in the Red Chamber has received their Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) yet.

There have been reports that the leadership of the 10th National Assembly has bought SUVs for all lawmakers.

Each SUV is said to be valued at N160m.

The spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Akin Rotimi, told newsmen that members of the lower chamber had started taking delivery of the vehicles.

He also noted that priority was given to female lawmakers and persons with disabilities, and much emphasis was laid on people without pending court cases.

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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.”

Sources also revealed that the senators would receive theirs in the first week of November.

However, in his response to this, the Senate spokesperson said that no senator had received any SUVs yet.

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Adaramodu said, “No senator has received any SUVs yet. At least, I haven’t seen one with anyone.

“And you also come to the National Assembly; if there were SUVs, you’d see them around.”

He added, “We are not the ones purchasing the vehicles, so we can’t really tell when the vehicles will come in.

“You can ask the Committee on Senate Services for more details on the SUVs; they are the ones in charge.”

Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Chairman, Committee on Senate Services, Sunday Karimi (APC, Kogi West), proved abortive as he didn’t answer or reply to the messages sent to him by newsmen both on Friday and Saturday.

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Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have continued to take delivery of their sports utility vehicles, a report said.

Chronicle NG reports that the leadership of the National Assembly had announced the decision to purchase 469 exotic vehicles for 109 senators and the 360 members of the House of Representatives to facilitate their jobs, particularly in relation to visiting difficult-to-reach terrains in their various constituencies.

Last week, House spokesman and Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Akin Rotimi, told our correspondent that “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.”

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A member who does not want his name mentioned said the vehicles were arriving in batches, stressing that “very soon, the whole thing would be done and dusted, report disclosed.”

He said, “I have not, but four of my colleagues and friends got theirs this week. They are not the only ones who got it, but you know, even though we are all members of the House, you don’t get to know everything. Only those who are close friends will confide in you. None of us is worried because, at the end of the day, no one will be left behind.”

Dismissing the criticisms elicited by the decision to purchase state-of-the-art vehicles, the lawmaker said the oversight role of the National Assembly members means that frequent road trips are always made to ensure that Nigeria gets value for money spent in the execution of projects for the development of the nation.

“Ministers have a pool of vehicles to travel with. So, what is it with the lawmakers? We hardly stay in one place because, just as we are making laws for the good governance of the country in Abuja, we are also required to spend quality time with our people to understand their challenges and how to go about addressing those challenges. Then there is oversight. A number of projects are located in hard-to-reach areas, and when it is necessary to visit the sites of these projects for monitoring and evaluation, it is important that we go there using strong vehicles. I want Nigerians to see this thing (the purchase of SUVs for lawmakers) as a necessity rather than a luxury.”

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Meanwhile, another lawmaker of the South-West geopolitical zone said, though he was aware the exotic cars would be given to everyone whose membership was not a subject of litigation, he had not been informed when he would get his.

He claimed that his staff members were still using the same car that he had while he was a member of the 9th Assembly to conduct business in his office.

He said, “Honestly, I am not aware. For now, I have no information. It’s not my priority! The 9th Assembly car is being used by my staff for official work.”

The distribution of the vehicles is expected to continue this week.

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