Suit against N5.5bn cars for Senators could affect separation of powers, says Basiru

The Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District, Senator Ajibola Basiru has warned against the entertainment of the suit against the purchase of N5.5bn cars for Senators, saying it could affect the separation of powers.

Basiru who is also the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora, NGO and Civil Society, in a recent interview with Leadership Newspapers, also said the controversy over the purchase of cars by the senate was unnecessary because the lawmakers violated no law.

Recall that a group of civil society organisations and 6,721 Nigerians have approached the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the Senate from purchasing N5.5bn luxury vehicles for its principal members.

The class action was filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, BudgIT and Enough is Enough.

However, Senator Basiru when confronted with the outrage by Nigerians over plans by the Senate to purchase N5.5bn vehicles said;

“The matter is in court but as a legal practitioner, the question you need to asked is whether the money was appropriated? secondly when you give responsibility to people, you must provide them with necessary tools to work effectively. We are talking about N5.5bn and the Senate does oversight  over all budget of Nigeria. Will it not be penny wise, pound foolish to be able to carry out that exercise without mobility? What is the fraction of the totality of Nigeria’s budget that people are talking about Senate cars. Its less than 3 percent of the national budget. So if somebody is given 3 percent to monitor 97 percent, is it not okay.”

“I think somebody is trying to scandalised the national assembly. As a legal practitoner, I don’t see  what their grouse is with the Senate purchase of cars. I don’t see any law that has been infracted. I also think the court should not entertain such a matter because it could affect the separation of powers of different arms of government. To me, it is  publicity scam to make people think they are doing their activities.  If they are concerned  about government’s expenditure that is spent in such a way that  people get value for money, then they should go to the makers of the cars and find out if that is the real price or somebody inflated the contract.”

“Has there been any infraction of the constitution? People should ask questions. Even company’s MDs buy official cars. The idea of scandalising the Senate is not good for democracy because most of the people in the Chambers today are professionals and top executive. Some have been governors and ministers before they were elected to the Senate.”

(76)