National assembly members spend N40bn on new official, exotic bulletproof vehicles

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas and others are expected to receive exotic bulletproof vehicles as the nationl assembly mulled plan to spend more than N40 billion to buy official rides, including Toyota Land Cruisers and Toyota Prados for its members.

A report from The Sun revealed that no fewer than 107 units of the 2023 model of the Toyota Landcruiser and 358 units of the 2023 model of Toyota Prado would be procured for the use of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively.

The planned purchase is different from the official vehicles expected to be purchased for the four presiding officers of the National Assembly. These are President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass; Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau; and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu.

The 2023 model of the Toyota Land Cruiser comes with a price tag of at least N125 million, reaching up to N135 million for a full-option model. This figure represents a significant increase compared to the N50 million spent on each vehicle in 2019, attributed to the depreciation of the naira against the dollar.

A car dealer provided insights on the new model, saying, “The on-road quality will be made smoother than ever. All the trims will come with four-wheel drive, centre locking, terrain camera view, and many other off-road features.

Features you’ll find in the new model include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 10-speaker audio system, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, 8-way power-adjustable passenger seat, Heated and Ventilated front seats, Quad-zone climate control, Wireless Charging and Head-up display.”

Senate spokesman, Yemi Adaramodu, clarified that the cost of the vehicles would be repaid by lawmakers over their term in office.

He justified the expense, saying, “Ministers and other appointees of government have their vehicles too. Lawmakers need these vehicles to do their job. Besides, these are loans and we’re expected to repay the loans before the end of four years.”

It is reported that the Senate Committee on Services, headed by Senator Sunday Karimi of Kogi West, has been tasked with overseeing the vehicle procurement process. This committee was established earlier this week by Senate President Akpabio.

The House of Representatives also intends to upgrade its fleet of official vehicles. While the proposal for Toyota Prado SUVs has been put forth, it has not yet received final approval from the leadership.