By Salawudeen Olawale
The Senate, on Tuesday, disagreed with the amount quoted for the vehicle the Senate was said to have bought.
The vehicle, it was reported, was meant to be part of the Senate President’s convoy, but was later abandoned when it got impounded by the Customs over controversy surrounding import duty payment.
The Senate, however, disclosed that contrary to the amount quoted in the media as N298 million “the price of that vehicle is N62.5 million.”
The Senate explained that the “price of the vehicle when it was imported in 2015 was $298,000, which at the prevailing rate of N165 to a dollar was about N49,170. The Senate paid N62.5 million for the vehicle in November 2015. This is contrary to the mischief by those who decided to turn the $298,000 to N298 million. For the avoidance of doubt, the price of that vehicle is N62.5 million and not N298 million.”
Senate spokesman, Dr Sabi Abdulahi, disclosed in a statement that the Senate “will appreciate if all reports relating to the legislative institution, particularly on this vehicle matter, are reported with accuracy and all facts put in proper perspective. We urge journalists to avoid sensationalism.
“The Senate is a responsible institution and those who believe that when they have issues to explain before it, the next thing to do is to resort to falsehood, blackmail, muckraking and mudslinging, should know that they are just overheating the polity and undermining our democratic institution.”
The Senate, however, reiterated its total commitment to upholding the rule of law and to work for Nigerians, in accordance with our constitution.
In a related development, miffed by the controversy generated by the now suspended Customs duty payment policy introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), members of the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) are planning to meet with the National Assembly to intimate it with the gains in the policy.
The Customs had initially announced a window period of March 13 and April 12 for motor dealers and individuals with vehicles on which Customs duty were not paid to do so.
The policy led to outcry in some quarters, making the Senate to summon the Comptroller-General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (retd), to appear before it in Customs uniform to explain the rationale behind the policy.
While addressing a press conference in Abuja, on Tuesday, AMDON national president, Mr Ajibola Adedoyin, disclosed that the body would interface with the National Assembly to discuss the importance of the policy, which he said members of the association requested from the Customs.
According to Adedoyin, the proposed meeting with the National Assembly would enable the motor dealers to explain their own side of the matter, with a view to making the country’s lawmakers to know what Nigerians stood to gain from it.
He stated that being the ones at the receiving end whenever vehicles they sold got caught by Customs with its negative consequences on its members, the association approached the Customs in January to plead for a grace period and some rebate.
Adedoyin further disclosed that whenever the association met with the National Assembly, it would discussed the imperative of the immediate suspension and review of the National Automative Policy, which he said was the major cause of the current hardship in the country’s transportation sector.