Ahmad Lawan, senate president

The Nigerian Senate has hit back at Nigerians for their condemnation of its planned purchase of Sport Utility Vehicles at the cost of N5.5 billion, describing it as an insult to senators.

Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, who stated this in an interview with journalists in his office in Abuja on Wednesday, argued that the status of a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not undeserving of an SUV.

According to him, each of the 109 senators would get one SUV, which would be paid for at the end of their four-year legislative tenure.

“What is the problem there? It is an insult to say that a senator of the Federal Republic cannot ride a jeep in Nigeria. It is an insult. The N5.5 billion is from the National Assembly fund and it is budgeted for every year, which they will pay back at the end of the tenure,” he said.

“I was a permanent secretary. I know what ministers get; we cannot even compare ourselves to ministers because we are higher than the minister(s). For you to say that a senator of the Federal Republic cannot drive a jeep today, that is an insult.

“Go and tell the people that the work that we do is more than the work of ministers. The weight that is on me today; there is no minister of the Federal Republic that has it.”

Abdullahi noted that the collapse of the local government areas across the country had placed a burden on senators who carry loads outside their purview.

He promised that the ninth Senate will ensure the independence of the local government structure to boost national development and stability of the grass-roots economy.