Ned Nwoko, the senator representing Delta North (Anioma nation) at the National Assembly has justified plans by the National Assembly to purchase luxury SUVs for lawmakers.
Recall that the House of Representatives members are set to procure 360 SUVs valued at N57.6 billion. Each SUV would cost at least N160 million.
Speaking on the development during an interview with The Sun, the Senator noted that while some of his colleagues might not need the cars, it is necessary for lawmakers to have operational vehicles.
He argued that Nigerians cannot expect the lawmakers to use their personal vehicles in carrying out official duties.
Nwoko warned Nigerians to stop spreading poverty by insisting that people should not have vehicles because others don’t.
He insisted that Nigerians should aspire to be like the rich and also buy their vehicles instead of expecting the rich to be like them.
The lawmaker asserted that the issue should not be about them driving luxury cars but about how others can also own their vehicles.
According to him, “Just as the Senate President said when the issue was being discussed, he said most senators here don’t need these cars, he said people like Ned don’t need the cars that they have already. My name was the only name he mentioned. And when I stood up to speak, I said it is not only me, all the former governors here don’t need the cars as well. This actually happened. But that is not to say that we don’t need cars, these are operational vehicles. Every ministry, for instance, has operational vehicles. Permanent Secretaries, Ministers have operational vehicles, they move around.
“We have oversight functions. You want me to use my personal vehicle to move from Abuja to Maiduguri for oversight duties? So we have a need for these vehicles. Look, let us not try to spread poverty by saying that some people don’t have cars, others should not have it. We should be clamouring that everybody has a car. How do we do it that in Nigeria everybody has a car? It is by making money available through the banks, it works in such a simple mechanism. If they bring back our foreign reserves, the banks could be mandated to ensure that every teacher, nurse, doctor, journalist, as the case may be, who can show that they are working, have an account where they receive money, even if it is N10,000 a month, give them the facility to buy a new car.
“I went to primary school here in this village. I remember that my primary school teachers had cars. The issue you should be talking about is not why should NASS members have cars, how do we move around? You should be saying that you also need your own car, we must work to ensure that everybody has access to funding to be able to buy the car of their choice. I am against them buying cars for me, if anything, they should give me the money, let me go and buy the cars of my choice. This was what formed the rational in sponsoring a bill when I was in the House of Representatives that there should be a way of monetising allowance. I don’t believe in the government building houses or buying cars, they should release the money through bank funding, for the people to buy the car of their choice or build the house of their choice. So, we must strive to improve the quality of living, don’t always think that those who are rich are your enemies. No! I would rather encourage you to find a way to be like me so that we can all be happy. Of what use is it that I am the only one with a big house and big cars? But I am not going to wait for you to be like you, you should aspire and struggle to be like me.”