Senate clears air on SUV import, says car costs N49.2m
The Senate, Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber has admitted that it imported a bullet- proof Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle SUV, at the cost of $298,000 at the exchange rate of N165 to the dollar, bringing to a total of N49.2million.
This is contrary to reports both in the conventional and online media that the bullet proof SUV, meant for its President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was acquired at the cost of N298million.
These reports had pitched most Nigerians against the upper legislative chamber, who described it as insensitive, especially given the economic conditions, occasioned by recession, which has left so many families to live on less than $1 per day.
The Senate however explained yesterday that the car was imported in 2015 at $298,000 when the exchange rate was N165 per the United States dollar.
According to the spokesman of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who spoke with newsmen, earlier reports that the car was bought at N298m were false and unimaginable.
“The actual price of the vehicle when it was imported in 2015 was $298,000 which at the prevailing rate of N165 to a dollar then was about N49. 2million. The Senate paid N62.5million for the vehicle in November 2015. This is contrary to the mischief by those who decided to turn the $298,000 to N298million as the price of the vehicle.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the price of that vehicle is N62.5million and not N298million.”
“The Senate is a responsible institution and those who believe that when they have issues to explain before it, the next thing to do is to resort to falsehood, blackmail, muck-raking and mudslinging, should know that they are just overheating the polity and undermining our democratic institutions “he had told newsmen.
While commenting on the controversial 13 cars reported to have been seized in the home of Senator Jibrin Barau, he disclosed that the Senate has directed its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the matter.
It would be recalled that recently the Kano zonal office of the Nigeria Customs Service had recently said that one Land Cruiser SUV car and 12 pieces of Toyota Hilux vans impounded in the home of one Senator, whose identity was not disclosed over allegations of smuggling and failure to pay import duty on the affected cars.
Contrary to this allegation, while speaking on the matter on the floor of the upper legislative chamber, Tuesday, Senator Barau described the report as false and a mere fabrication..
The Senator, who insisted that nothing of that nature, happened, said that he woke up to read the reports in the media just like most other Nigerians.
“The news reports claimed that the vehicles were abandoned there without anyone claiming ownership of them. I was with my constituency members last weekend; we were all in my house and no Hilux vehicle was found in my house. This is terrible and portends danger for the nation’s nascent democracy. I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerian’s and loveer of democratic norms and principles to all rise against the”, he said.