The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, has said that the Presidential Yacht which was budgeted for in the 2023 Supplementary budget has already been delivered but not yet paid for, which was why provisions were made for the yacht in the budget.
The Senator also said that Nigerian Lawmakers are not being allotted Luxury SUVs because they want to own luxurious cars, but because of the bad state of the roads in Nigeria.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday, the Senate Chief’s whip explained the presidential yacht had been “signed, delivered, but not paid,” which is what brought about its inclusion in the supplementary budget.
He also went on to explain that the sea vessel was not going to be a new one as he explained, “The Navy provided explanations, especially clarifying that this is not a new item, so to say, because I know that the President, by his nature, is not a luxurious person. So, I don’t think we will go for that.
“But anyway, we felt at this time, that 5 billion going for that is inadequate, and in the house of reps, they felt different, and they felt that that should completely be removed and added to the 5 billion that id provided, 5.6, I think, for the student loan, which is one of the critical things in the supplementary budget. And as you rightly said, we are harmonizing on that.
“The Navy also believes that that is not their area of priority, but the thing is because you have a committed cause, and it has foreign exchange implications. They felt that the commitment has to be met, especially when I understand that the presidential yacht has already been delivered.”
When Ndume was asked about the official cars that were to be allotted to lawmakers, he said that her is not very much concerned about the type of vehicles, as it is not a new thing to buy official vehicles for people in government offices.
Speaking on the cost of each vehicle, Ndume said, “I’m hearing that the cost of each one is N160 million, I don’t know about that cause I’m not in the management. All I care about is if the vehicles are made available for us to use, that’s it. But I agree that at this time, the costs of products, generally, not only SUV vehicles, is way high. But the question is, is it proper to have vehicles for each senator or member of House of Reps to use? The answer, I believe, is yes.”
He then said that the reason that the Senate had chosen to go for the Luxury SUVs was due to the bad roads, explaining that “you cannot travel on Nigerian roads now with small vehicles that is not high lifted because most of our roads are bad, that is the truth of it.”
The Chief whip went on to say, “I want to tell you that most of us are not really really worried about the issue of what type of vehicle, it’s the vehicle that will enable us to effectively carry our oversight responsibility, which is very important and constitutional, it is not that senators want luxurious cars to themselves.”
When asked why the lawmakers bought cars from foreign brands rather than Nigerian automobile companies, Ndume said, “You know that they don’t manufacture any vehicles in Nigeria, they only assemble.”
“I prefer Made-In-Nigerian goods. When we were in the House of Reps, senators were to buy Camry and the House of Reps were to buy their vehicles. When they chose another car, I argued that time that we must patronise either even Nigerian assembled. That time, ASD was assembling Peugeot 406 in Kaduna and that was why we went for it. So, it’s not like we’re completely insensitive to the feelings of Nigerians.”