The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday warned the Senate to return the Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs they are currently buying and distributing among themselves, or prepare for war at the hands of the Nigerian people.
In a statement signed by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the Congress said if the cars were not returned, or the Senators prosecuted by the appropriate government agencies for corruption, the legislators must be prepared to kep a date ahead with Nigerian workers and their civil society allies, including market women and students.
They described as “appalling, insensitive and greedy,” the decision of the Senate to acquire the 108 Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps, coming aright after their collection of car "loans" in August 2015 for the same purpose.
“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 the paucity of funds,” the statement said.
“We at the Nigeria Labour Congress equally consider it a willful and grievous criminal act, the inflation of the unit cost of each of the cars by over a 100 percent, as each car supposedly cost N35.1 million instead of N17 million.”
Also, the Congress said Nigerians want to know where the Upper House got money for the purchase of the cars without appropriation.
“The defence offered by the Senate spokesperson, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, is laughable and childish,” the NLC scoffed. “According to him, Special Advisers use jeeps, why not Senators or do Nigerians expect them to trek to work? And in any case, cars are capital projects!”
The Labour group asked whether the funds could not have been put to better uses such as the constituency projects of the same Senators, and whether, at a time with severe economic challenges and deepening poverty in the land, the Senate can afford this level of reckless luxury and arrogance.
Answering in the negative, the NLC said of the Senators, “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.”
Stressing that nobody is above the law, the Congress demanded that the Senators return the cars, be prosecuted for corruption, or face the wrath of the people.
The 108 cars are for each member of the Upper House apart from the Senate President, who is currently facing a slew of corruption charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.