Senate has refuted reports that it bought 108 Prado jeeps for members or other exotic vehicles, admitting that only 36 for which they placed order since January arrived last week.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Senate Services, Senator Ibrahim Gobir while speaking to journalists said the 36 that arrived were given to each state.
He said they had not even paid for them and could not avoid buying more since there was paucity of funds in the Senate, saying even the price reported was also exaggerated.
It would be recalled that a newspaper reported over the weekend that the Senate had bought various brands of exotic vehicles for use by its president, Bukola Saraki, and the108 other senators.
The cars, they said, would cost taxpayers an estimated N4.7billion
That the upper legislative chamber is buying the vehicles at a time millions of Nigerians are facing severe economic hardship, including non-payment of salaries.
The procurement, the paper also reported, is also happening at a time millions of Nigerians are enduring long and humiliating fuel queues across the country because the federal government is too broke to pay importers of petrol several billions of naira in subsidy claims.
Already, it reported that the management of the National Assembly had invited bids from contractors interested in supplying the vehicles.
In an advertisement published in some newspapers, including Blueprint of November 20, 2015, the authorities asked the companies to tender for “Lot 1S, Supply of Utility Vehicles.”
The advert, in what appears a deliberate ploy to conceal details, failed to indicate the number, type and specification of vehicles being bought.
However, obtained detailed copies of tendered documents were discreetly issued to prospective contractors.
In one of the documents, the Senate indicated it was buying 120 units of Toyota Land Cruiser, 2016 model.
Other details of the vehicles included that they must be “American brand, V8, VXR, 5.7, Auto Engine WITH INTELLIGENCE.”
The senators also want the vehicles to come with integrated navigator cruise control, QI-Compatible wireless charging and Kinetic dynamic suspension system, as well as being “full option”.
On November 21, the Senate also put up another advert it labelled “addendum.”
The latest advert under Lot 2S, which was couched to look like an oversight in the first advert, was for the purchase of vehicles for the use of the Senate president’s convoy.
Under Lot 2S and based on the tender document, which we have also obtained, the National Assembly is seeking to purchase a 2016 model Mercedes Benz S550 for its president.
Other vehicles being procured for Mr. Saraki include four 2016 Toyota Prado jeeps, four 2016 Toyota Hilux SS (Auto) as well as a 2016 model Toyota Hiace bus.
The spokesperson for the Senate, Aliyu Sabi could not be reached to comment on these new procurements as his telephone was switched off the several times our reporter called.
The director of Information of the National Assembly, Ishaku Dibal declined to comment on the matter.
He said he was driving and couldn’t comment after our reporter put his question to him while subsequent calls to his telephone failed to connect.
An online medium that carried out a market survey on all the vehicles being bought by the Senate said that the upper chamber would spend over four billion naira of taxpayers’ money to enhance their taste for luxury.
Specifically, give or take, the vehicles are valued at N4.739,515,625.
Although there are 109 senators, the lawmakers are buying 120 Toyota Land Cruisers while it is not clear where the balance of 11 vehicles would go.
We arrived at our figure of N4.7 billion after computing the cost of the vehicles, 35 percent duties to be paid with another 35 percent levy.
There is also the expected 35 percent profit margin to be made by each supplier based on the requirements of Nigeria’s procurement act.
Our checks revealed that a Toyota Land Cruiser, 2016 model, goes for $84,000, and at the current exchange rate of N250 to the dollar, it amounts to N21 million.
If 75 percent of cost is added, being duty, levy and profit margin (translating to N15, 750,000) each vehicle would cost Nigerian tax payers N36,750,000.
Given that the senators propose to buy 120 units of the vehicles, the total figure is expected to be N4.41billion.
As for the convoy of the Senate president, we found that Mercedes Benz S550 2016 model goes for $95,650, which translates to N23, 912,500 and addition of 105 percent (duty, levy and profit margin) takes the total cost of the car to N49,020,625.
For the Toyota Prado SUVs, we were able to determine that each unit costs $73,000, which equals N18,250,000, while a 105 per cent addition of levy, duty and profit would put the cost of each at N37,412,500.
The total cost of the four (4) Prado jeeps being acquired for Mr. Saraki is N149, 650,000.00.
Equally proposed for the Senate president’s convoy are four Toyota Hilux SS, Auto, vehicles each costing $50,150.
At N250 to the dollar, each Hilux van would cost N12,537,500 and an additional 75 percent would skyrocket the price of each unit to N25,601, 875.00.
The total figure for the four being proposed amounts to N102,407,500.
It was reported that the last vehicle under consideration is a Toyota Hiace bus 2016 model, which by our findings goes for $65,000 or N16,250,000.
An addition of 105 percent, being duty, levy and profit, put the cost of the bus at N28,437,500.

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