•Senate and House of Reps
Lawmakers in the Green Chamber have started taking delivery of their Sports Utility Vehicles.
Similarly, legislators in the Red Chamber will receive the first batch of the SUVs this week, reports Sunday PUNCH.
It was also gathered that the last tranche of the SUVs for use by the lawmakers would arrive before December.
It was earlier reported that the leadership of the National Assembly had announced the decision to purchase imported SUVs for each lawmaker and bulletproof vehicles for the principal officers.
The move has generated heavy criticism, with some citizens lampooning the parliamentarians for being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians amid the high cost of living.
The Human Rights Writers Association earlier criticised the move, stating that procuring SUVs for federal lawmakers was provocative at a time when most families could barely feed their members three square meals per day, and hospitals and roads were collapsing rapidly across the country.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the National Assembly from procuring and taking delivery of exotic and bulletproof cars for members and principal officials pending the hearing and determination of the applications for injunction filed by the organisation.
But the Senate defended the purchase of the SUVs, saying lawmakers needed the vehicles for their operations.
The spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Akin Rotimi, told our correspondent that members of the House had started taking delivery of the vehicles.
He also noted that priority was given to female lawmakers and people with disabilities, and much emphasis was laid on people without pending court cases.
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.”
Corroborating this, a member of the Green Chamber, who pleaded anonymity, noted that the management was very keen on members justifying the use of the vehicle for their legislative operations.
The source noted that the management had issued a circular to members not to sell any of the vehicles, stating clearly that it was the property of the National Assembly.
The source said, “This particular Assembly is very particular about things being done right. In previous assemblies, people would collect their vehicles and sell them off, but the Speaker has put his foot down against such.
“The spokesperson was mandated to issue a statement internally to members and ensure that no member must sell their vehicles as they are National Assembly property.
“Beyond the circular, the management is seriously following up, particularly to justify the purchase, because the vehicles were bought to give lawmakers a level of autonomy from the executive.”
According to top-level sources, the vehicles will arrive in three batches for the use of the committee chairmen and members.
Another source stated that although the vehicles had generated a lot of controversy and public discussions, they were to aid the lawmakers in performing their duties.