Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate yesterday claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari lied in his maiden media chat on Wednesday when he claimed that the Red Chamber had plans to purchase N50 billion worth of cars.
In a late emailed statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Upper Legislative Chamber maintained that it does not intend to spend anything close to the various figures of N4.5 billion, N6 billion or N50 billion as being bandied around.
Abdullahi added that the false claim in the media was nothing more than a mere propaganda sponsored by contractors.
“Shortly, after getting the management team and the Senate Services Committee to commence the due process for the purchase, certain contractors who bided for the supply of the vehicles but felt that their bids would not scale through, began sponsoring media propaganda against the project and even leaked the recommendations of the body working on the proposed project.
“Since the claim in an online medium that we are planning to purchase vehicles, we have not taken any further action on the issue. We are surprised that a proposed purchase became a subject of controversy and several figures that are far from our projections have been bandied around.
“While an online medium put the figure at N4.5 billion, another one said N6 billion and now the President on national television was talking about N50 billion. These are outrageous figures. Once the debate on the 2016 Budget begins, Nigerians will have the opportunity of knowing how much we voted for purchase of cars and how we intend spending the vote.
“This is a responsible and responsive National Assembly. We really need project for vehicles to facilitate our work We will however follow due process when we choose to take decisions on the purchase. We will also take into consideration the views, feelings and mood of the nation in taking the decisions. We will not be profligate or extravagant when what is apparently needed in our country is moderate and frugal spending.
“We, however, call on all Nigerians to be patient with us, and not jump the gun, or rush into conclusions, particularly when no decision has been taken. The way the issue is being presented is as if we have ordered the car or have paid for it,” Abdullahi stated.