• Speaker, Principal Officers’ Cars Cost N51.8m Each
• I Am Not Aware, Says Assembly Spokesman
About N2.4b has been spent within 11 months to procure 80 cars for the 40 members of the Lagos State House of Assembly. Information available to The Guardian revealed that sometimes last year, a contract was awarded for 40 cars to be purchased for the lawmakers. And less than a year after, another contract was awarded for the purchase of cars for the Assembly members in December and January.
In the document, there was disparity between the cars for principal officers and floor members. While the principal officers got Toyota Land Cruisers, the floor members got Toyota Prado.
It was also learnt that the vehicles for the six principal officers cost N51.8m each, while those for the 36 members cost N36.5m each.The Guardian also gathered that the new set of cars for the lawmakers is coming less than a year after a contract was awarded for the supply of 40 vehicles for official duties that cost N18.8m each.
The contract document showed that the first 40 cars delivered sometimes last year were valued at N752, 905, 775, while the second batch of cars was awarded in two phases. While the contract for floor members’ cars was awarded in December, the one for the principal officers was done in January.
Also, while the six cars for the principal officers were valued at N311, 123,595,50, those for the 36 floor members were delivered at N1.3bn. It was gathered that the same company was awarded the three contracts. Interestingly, of the present 40 members of the Lagos State Assembly, 30 are returning lawmakers, with just 10 being new representatives.
The Lagos Assembly House Committee Chairman on Information, Tunde Braimoh claimed he was not aware any car was bought last year. He said: “You may want to ask why government is providing functionaries of Assembly with vehicles. The vehicles are for government; registered in government’s name. They are not personal property of the Assemblymen.
“If the user stays to the end of his term, he could be offered to buy the vehicle, and it will be at competitive rate. For example, the one I was using before now, I bought it for about N4.5m, which might not be up to that, if I were to buy it at a car mart. So, it is not to say people are being given these things for free. When people come into government, they are assisted with equipment to do their job.”
“These are mundane issues, aimed at distracting us. What we should be interested in is, to whom much is given, much is expected. Mind you, if these people were not given this equipment, they would be given transport allowances. So, it depends on the policy government is adopting.”
When furnished with the amount spent on the 40 cars early last year and December and January, he said: “You may have the information I do not have. But honestly, I would have wished as a Nigerian, as somebody interested in Project Nigeria, that we should not distract ourselves with mundane issues. I do not think that government would buy cars last year and buy another set this year.
“You should have probed further whether those vehicles bought with taxpayers’ money were registered in any person’s name. If that is what you are talking about, I am aware that the Assembly bought vehicles last year for the committees’ use. Many vehicles were bought, as the vehicles they were using had become old.
“I would wish as Nigerians that we set our eyes on important things, and not start thinking that someone will do all the work without getting any perk. The Constitution does not allow us to do any other job; it is full time…”However, some sources in the Assembly told The Guardian that Braimoh was being economical with the truth, as lawmakers were given cars early last year.