There have been public Outcries over reported plan to spend N400m on the purchase of vehicles for the nation’s former heads of government and their deputies in 2017 by the Federal Government News Punch understands
According to Punch Newspaper, the figure formed part of the N9.882bn budgeted for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for the year.
The details of the 2017 Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly according to Punch Newspaper, N280.099m was budgeted for the purchase of vehicles for seven former Presidents and Heads of State.
Further details showed that N120.090m would be used to procure vehicles for four former Vice-Presidents and ex-Chiefs of General Staff.
The nation’s seven living former heads of government include Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.); Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Shehu Shagari; Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.); Chief Ernest Shonekan; Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (retd.); and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The four living former Vice-Presidents and ex-Chiefs of General Staff are former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme; Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.); Gen. Oladipo Diya (retd.), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
The budget details did not indicate the number of vehicles that would be bought for each of the former leaders. The brands of the vehicles were also not disclosed.
Apart from the leaders, the office of the SGF will also buy N32m vehicles for offices and units in the office.
The government will also spend a total of N170m on the nation’s Independence Day and Democracy Day celebrations.
While Nigeria’s Democracy Day holds every May 29, Independence Day holds every October 1.
Both ceremonies have not been marked lavishly since the inception of the present administration.
The office is also expected to spend N1.322bn on the procurement and installation of security system across selected Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The number of MDAs that will benefit from the procurement is not disclosed in the details.
The office will also spend N104.586m on what it called support and maintenance of e-council document management; it will spend N290m on electronic document and content management system and another N45m on electronic document management and archival system in the OSGF.
Upgrading and maintenance of Council Chambers Conference System will gulp N55m; N35m will be spent on one Xerox D125 photocopy machine; N20.8m on purchase of 52 laptop computers; N54.35m for the purchase of equipment for the production of staff identity cards and installation of file tracking system; and N5m for the OSGF website.
Another N3.8m is budgeted for the purchase of what is called multi-functional photocopy machine for the Procurement Department and N29.5m for archival project Phases I, II and III for cabinet secretariat document and file organisation.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians have condemned the plan by Buhari to buy such luxury when Nigerians are serious hungry amidst the current economic hardship.
Some commenters in the Punch Newspaper expressed disappointment saying the government is insensitive to the plight of common Nigerians.
A commenter identified as NAG1 in Punch Newspaper report of the budget said; “Buhari is a major disappointment and a very insensitive old man. He is equally corrupt like others and lacks ideas to create wealth. This foolish old man should not be returned in 2019.”
Another one Identified as Mdsurgeon said; “Does any of these people really need or deserve this largesse? Each of them is responsible in part for the mess the nation is in, and none of them can particularly be said to be living in penury. They all still draw huge pensions, even the ones who corruptly enriched themselves. I say this is misplaced priorities and it sends a very wrong message to all!”
Oke Okoye another commenter said; “These fat cat ex-presidents, the money they stole from Nigerian people is enough to sustain themselves. Purchasing vehicles for them is like fool again and continue to fool the nation. This BUBU administration is running foul of standard protocol. These ex robber the nation lots”
Gary in his own opinion said; “The country is mired in recession and the people now queue for affordable rice. But the government has budgeted money to buy cars for former leaders through the office of the SFG.
The buyer will get kickbacks from bringing business to the lucky car dealer who will in turn jack up the prices of the vehicles.
Yet another example of official waste and corruption by the “Change” government in Abuja. Another opportunity for Babachir Lawal to make hay in 2017.”
Mathew in his own comment said: “Buhari regime caring for corrupt ex- president whom he accused of looting the treasury. At this point in time this is misplaced of priorities. God please give our leaders wisdom, let all followers see the manifestation of divine wisdom of God in their actions”
Rev. Dr. Felix Nwosu said; “This is another set back for Nigeria . I believe the have enough of vehicles in their garage the should make do with their is recession in the land we don’t need all this now please”
OMOLUABI also commented saying; “This is so out of it, people are suffering everywhere in the country and the Government is talking about buying vehicles for past presidents, misplaced priority is our major problem as individuals and the country at large”