The Senate has dismissed public condemnation of its planned purchase of Spors Utility Vehicles (SUV) amounting to N5.5bn for the senators, describing it as an insult on the Senate.
Leader of the Senate, Abdullahi Yayaya representing Kebbi North said this in an interview with journalists in his office in Abuja.
He said the status of a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not undeserving of a sport utility vehicle.
There are 109 Senators in the upper legislative chamber all of whom will be entitled to one SUV which the leader said will be paid back at the end of their legislative assignment.
According to him, the burden on the shoulder of the Senator is not a mean task and a sport utility vehicle for their work is not too much and the hue and cry over the matter were unnecessary.
Yahaya said: “What is the problem there. It is an insult to say that a senator of the Federal Republic cannot ride a jeep in Nigeria. It is an insult.
“The N5.5bn is from the national Assembly fund and it is budgeted for every Assembly which they will pay back at the end of the tenure.
“I was a permanent secretary, I know what ministers get, we cannot even compare ourselves with ministers because we are higher than the minister.
“For you to say that a senator of the Federal Republic cannot drive a jeep today, come on, that is an insult.
“Go and tell the people that the work that we do, is more than the work of ministers. The weight that is on me today there is no minister of the Federal Republic that has it,” the Senate leader stated.
The leader of the Senate said the collapse of the local government across the country has placed so much burden on Nigerian Senators who carry loads ordinarily outside their purview.
He said the Ninth Senate will ensure the independence of the local government structure to boost national development and stability of the grass root economy.
It would be recalled that there was a public outcry over the planned purchase of sport utility vehicle and the rejection by Nigerians was elevated by some Non-governmental organization through legal action against the planned expenditure.
The concerned group of activists who sought legality or otherwise of the matter in Court were led by the social Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).