A group, ActionAid Nigeria has voiced its disapproval of the recent acquisition of luxury vehicles by the National Assembly. This act of ostentatious spending, according to the organization, contradicts the very principles that the monetization policy was designed to uphold.
Andrew Mamedu, the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, expressed deep concern over the matter, emphasizing, “The decision to purchase 2023 Toyota Landcruisers worth over ₦70 – ₦100 billion, amidst the backdrop of economic hardship faced by millions of ordinary Nigerians, is nothing short of a betrayal of public trust.”
In a time when the nation’s citizens are grappling with financial instability, the National Assembly’s display of extravagance, shrouded in secrecy regarding the actual amount, has drawn sharp criticism from ActionAid Nigeria. This, they argue, is a stark contradiction to the principles of fiscal responsibility and accountability that should guide Nigeria’s leaders and is a disservice to the very citizens they were elected to serve.
While the necessity of functional vehicles for public officials is acknowledged, the choice of luxury vehicles in this case raises questions about priorities. ActionAid Nigeria sees the justification citing the condition of Nigerian roads as a feeble attempt to rationalize what they describe as an act of fiscal recklessness.
The lawmakers’ decision to overlook Innoson Motors, a proudly Nigerian brand known for manufacturing quality vehicles, has raised concerns about their misplaced priorities. By opting for foreign-made vehicles, they not only disregard an opportunity to support local industries but also undermine the promotion of self-sufficiency and economic growth in the nation. This choice reflects a glaring inconsistency between their rhetoric and actions, and questions arise about their commitment to Nigeria’s industrial development.
ActionAid Nigeria emphasizes that the monetization policy was introduced to curb reckless spending and promote responsible stewardship of public resources, not to provide a smokescreen for the purchase of extravagant vehicles. They call for immediate accountability across all tiers of government and urge a halt to the acquisition of these vehicles, suggesting that the allocated funds could be redirected toward more essential needs.
Furthermore, the extravagant entourage accompanying governors and ministers on official and private travels has become a matter of great concern, straining public resources and sending a message of excessiveness. ActionAid Nigeria calls for a reassessment of these practices and urges all branches of government to lead by example, embracing a more modest approach to official travels.
The organization implores the government to prioritize the prudent allocation of public funds, redirecting resources toward initiatives that directly benefit the citizens they serve.
They also call for a more strategic approach to infrastructure development to address the persistent infrastructural challenges, rather than allocating significant resources toward vehicles without a comprehensive plan to address road conditions.
ActionAid Nigeria equally calls on the National Assembly to revisit its decision, stressing the need for elected representatives to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the well-being and prosperity of the citizens they serve, rather than an outright show of opulence.