Rights groups, 6,721 Nigerians sue Senate over plans to spend N5.5bn on cars

Three rights organisations alongside 6,721 Nigerians have dragged the National Assembly Service Commission to the Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged plan by the Senate to buy luxury cars worth N5.5 billion for its principal members.

In the suit marked, FHC/L/CS/1511/2019, the rights organisations, namely, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT, Enough is Enough (EiE) and the concerned Nigerians, are asking the court to restrain and stop the Senate from collecting the money until the downward review of the huge sum.

The 6,721 concerned Nigerians who joined the suit as co-plaintiffs with SERAP, BudgIT and EiE, include; Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) co-conveners, Oby Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu; Jibrin Ibrahim; Edetaen Ojo; Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi and Deji Adeyanju.

The plaintiffs argued that spending a huge sum of N5.5 billion to buy luxury cars for principal members of the Senate is unjust and unfair as it negates the constitutional oath of office made by the lawmakers to perform their functions in the interest of the well-being and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens, as enshrined in the Constitution.
They further noted that the money could be better allocated to more important sectors of the National Assembly expenditure, like constituency projects and National Assembly-endowed educational scholarships.

“A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his official duties. But the plan to spend N5.5 billion to buy vehicles for principal members of the Senate is a textbook case of a conflict of their personal interests with national interest of fiscal efficiency – a conflict eventually resolved in favour of personal and self-interest.

“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 conclusion of their respective terms at the National Assembly,” the plaintiffs further argued