NLC threatens to picket senate over purchase of cars
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) may picket the Senate over the purchase of 108 cars by the lawmakers if they are not returned to the sellers.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, said the purchase of exotic cars by the lawmakers smacks of insensitivity at a time when workers are not paid and the country going through hard times occasioned by the downward price of crude oil.
He said: “We demand they return those cars to whoever supplied them or the appropriate agencies prosecute them for corruption. In the event none of this happens, they should be prepared to keep a date with Nigerian workers and their civil society allies, including market women and students.”
Wabba, who stated that the Congress considers it appalling, insensitive and greedy the decision of the Senate to acquire 108 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility Vehicles (one for each member less the Senate President) after collecting car “loans” in August last year for the same purpose, said: “It is equally morally despicable and shameful that they are doing this after publicly admitting that the standing committees of the Senate are unable to perform their statutory functions due to paucity of funds.”
He added that the Labour movement considers it a wilful and grievous criminal act the inflation of the unit cost of each of the cars by over a 100 per cent, as each car supposedly cost N35.1 million instead of N17 million.
Wabba, who posited that Nigerians are keen to know from where they got money for the purchase of the cars without appropriation, stated: “The defence offered by the Senate spokesperson, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, is laughable and childish. According to him, special advisers use SUVs, why not senators or do Nigerians expect them to trek to work? And in any case, cars are capital projects.
“At a time with severe economic challenges and deepening poverty in the land, can the Senate afford this level of reckless luxury and arrogance? The answer is ‘No’.”
The NLC boss stressed that the lawmakers have turned themselves into law-breakers, saying: “Their multiple acts of criminality, ranging from acquiring these cars after previously taking loans for the same purpose; spending money without appropriation and over-inflating costs constitute not just corruption but a crime against the Nigerian people whom they claim to represent.”
He, therefore, insisted that the Senate members must be made to respect the law and operate within the confines of the rules and regulation guiding the conducts of public officers as no one is above the law.