Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 192 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain and stop Mr Femi x, Speaker of Representatives and all members of the House from spending an estimated N5.04 billion to buy 400 exotic cars for principal officers and members.
SERAP is also seeking a court order to “restrain and stop the National Assembly Service Commission from releasing any public funds to the House of Representatives to buy 400 Toyota Camry 2020 model cars estimated to cost $35,130 per car, until an impact assessment of the spending on access to public services and goods like education, security, health and clean water, is carried out.”
In a statement signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group said “there is no better time for any government/public institution to take issues of security and welfare/wellbeing of Nigerians seriously due to rampant kidnapping, banditry and terrorism in many parts of the country than now.
“Members of the House of Representatives are either unaware of the constitutional and statutory provisions on their fiduciary duties and judicious use of public funds or deliberately glossing over these provisions.
“It is also apparent that, besides elevating their personal interests over and above the public interests, members of the House of Representatives have shown insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians, thereby violating section 14 (2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999, to the effect that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government and its institutions.
“It is public knowledge that members of the House of Representatives receive huge sums of money as monthly allowances and severance pay on conclusion of their respective terms at the National Assembly. It is rational that many Nigerians are calling for a review downward of the sum proposed to buy cars for members.
“This case raises issues of public interests, national interest, public concern, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.
“The House of Representatives during an executive session held on 5th February, 2020 reportedly passed a resolution that 400 Toyota Camry 2020 cars be purchased as official vehicles for 360 members and other persons, including top management staff, Chief of Staff to the two presiding officers, as well as some of their special advisers and assistants.
“About Three Billion was voted to buy cars for members of the House of Representatives in 2016. The sum of N128 billion was budgeted and allocated to the National Assembly in the approved 2019 national budget,” the statement read in part.