Governors Spend Billions on Lawmakers’ Cars Amid Rising Poverty

Some state governors in the North have spent billions of naira to purchase expensive vehicles for the members of states’ legislature.

At least five states have purchased different brands worth over N9bn for members of the state houses of assembly despite the complaints of funds from the state government and economic challenges in the states.

The residents of the states are mostly living below the poverty line as Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics said.

Recall that state governors have said the disputed N60,000 minimum wage proposal that the labour union rejected was high on them.

According to a Daily Trust report, Kan, Benue, Kogi, Kebbi and Niger states have expended over N9bn on different brands of vehicles for lawmakers despite poverty and economic challenges in the states.

Kano

In Kano, the State Governor, Abba Kabiru Yusuf, purchased expensive cars worth N2.7 billion for the members of the state assembly. some lawmakers have reportedly received theirs.

Each cost N68 million.

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The Assembly has 40 members consisting of 25 members from the ruling New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and 14 from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

Benue

Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue used the sum of N1.9bn to provide SUVs for all the 32 members of the Benue State House of Assembly.

The SUVs cost about N60 million each. Benue is the food basket of the nation but suffers many challenges including absence of support for farmers.

Gombe

In Gombe State, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya utilized the sum of N1.4b to purchase brand new SUVs for all 24 members of the state assembly and 17 commissioners. Each of the 41 GAC Motor ‘All New GS4’ vehicles cost about N33.5 million.

The governor argued that the vehicles will help the lawmakers carry out their oversight functions and effectively participate in governance.

Kebbi

Governor Nasir Idris of Kebbi State supplied Toyota Jeeps to the 24 members of the state assembly at the cost of N1.9b.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ahmed Idris, said that the vehicles were meant to help the government officials to carry out their duties.

Niger

Governor Mohammed Bago of Niger State purchased Prado Jeeps and Land Cruiser Jeep for the 25 members of the state assembly alongside the speaker and his deputy.

Each of the Prado Jeeps was said to have been purchased for about N70 million which totaled to N1.8b.

Nigeria is facing serious security problem from marauding bandits that sacked many communities.

Kogi

The former Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello purchased 40 SUVs and four Hilux vans to the state’s lawmakers and judges December 2023 at the end of his administration.

The speaker of the state assembly, Umar Yusuf, got an SUV and two supporting cars, including a Toyota Hilux van; while his deputy, the majority leader and 22 other members got one each.

CSOs Laments

Yiaga Africa’s Mark Amaza, argued “so much on a small group of people does not convey concern for the plight of their constituents.”

“The second is that such a gift from the governor to the legislators does not only signify the lack of financial autonomy of the house, but also begs the question: will the same legislators then be able to hold the executive accountable and provide the check and balance that is expected of them?”

Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Ibrahim Zikirullahi, “the height of insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary citizen is alarming, especially with the federal government’s proposed minimum wage.”

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