Nigerian lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives are planning to spend more than N40 billion to buy vehicles.
According to Saturday Sun, the plan involves the procurement of 107 units of the 2023 model of Toyota Landcruiser and 358 units of the 2023 model of Toyota Prado for the Senate and House members respectively.
The vehicles for the four top officers of the National Assembly will be purchased separately.
These top officers include the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio; the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abass; the Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau; and the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu.
The task of buying these vehicles falls to the Senate Committee on Services. This committee, led by Senator Sunday Karimi of Kogi West, was established during the week by Senate President Akpabio.
A 2023 model Toyota Land Cruiser costs at least N125 million, or as much as N135 million for a full-option model.
This amount is significantly higher than the N50 million spent on each vehicle in 2019, due to the increase in the dollar-to-naira exchange rate.
A car dealer that spoke with the platform explained that the 2023 model offers several new features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 10-speaker audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, and wireless charging.
According to the dealer, “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.”
The House of Representatives also has plans to upgrade their official vehicles.
According to her, “It is not the House that is demanding the Prado. It is the management of the National Assembly that is making the proposal. They don’t want to buy the usual car (Camry).
“But the truth is that there is no agreement on it yet. It is still a proposal. It has not scaled through. There is no approval yet. Until there is approval by the leadership, we might still revert to normal (Camry).”
However, a top source in the House confirmed that this idea has not yet been approved.
Meanwhile, one member of the House, who chose to remain anonymous, argued that there is nothing wrong with upgrading to Toyota Prado, given that heads of agencies are even using Toyota Landcruiser.
The lawmaker said: “I have not attended any meeting where members said they want Prado. But most importantly, a Prado SUV for a member of the Federal Parliament and a Landcruiser for Executive Secretaries (of agencies) and all that; who deserves to have a Prado? I don’t think it is out of the world for a member of parliament, as long as it is used for the official functions, which it is meant for.”
New 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.”