Twenty more exotic cars imported for members of the House of Representatives have arrived at the National Assembly in Abuja, The PUNCH learnt on Sunday.
Findings showed that the additional 20 units brought the total number of cars delivered to 260.
It implies that 100 units are still being awaited to make the vehicles go round all 360 members of the House.
Otherwise known as ‘utility’ or ‘committee’ vehicles, the House is buying 360 units of Peugeot 508 for legislative services.
Each unit is supplied at the price tag of N17m. This leaves the total cost of the 360 units at N6.1bn.
Investigations indicated that the 20 units started arriving at the legislative building early last week and as of Friday, all had been delivered.
The cars were neatly parked at a filling station adjoining the National Assembly Annex I and II premises. The filling station and the premises are separated by a barbed wire fence.
One National Assembly official said, “These additions came after so much pressure was mounted on the Chairman, Committee on House Services, Mr. Nasiru Baballe-Ila, by members.
“You will recall that the delayed supply of the utility cars since 2015 has been a source of friction in the House.
“Many members are disappointed in Baballe-Ila that in almost three years, his committee and the bureaucracy of the National Assembly are unable to supply utility vehicles to members.
“You will recall that as recently as October, about 120 members still did not have cars. With the additional 20, it means that 100 more lawmakers will wait into the New Year (2018) to get cars.”
The PUNCH gathered on Sunday that Baballe-Ila had convinced the leadership of House in 2015 to opt for Peugeot 508 cars with an initial understanding with Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited to supply the units in phases.
However, PAN reportedly later became uncomfortable with the deal, while the committee opened the gates for several sub-contractors to assume the supply of the vehicles.
With the development, The PUNCH learnt that most of the units were not supplied by PAN, but by other contractors, who resorted to importing the units from outside Nigeria, especially Dubai in the United Arab Emirate.
PAN’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Haroun Malami, told The PUNCH that his firm was no longer deeply involved in the supplies.
He stated, “The choice of Peugeot 508 against all other brands was based on overall value offered by the vehicle in terms of price, performance and residual value; the sub-contracting arrangement by the National Assembly was based on financial ease of transaction to the legislative arm.
“We are uniquely placed and committed to meet national and customers’ demand who are committed in meeting their financial obligation.”
Last October, some members had returned their cars to Baballe-Ila after they developed faults under 90 days of being delivered to them.
When he was contacted for comments on Sunday, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, informed The PUNCH that the arrival of the additional units merely confirmed the promise of the House to deliver the vehicles to members in batches.
“The cars will come in batches until all the members have their utility vehicles,” he stated.
Efforts by The PUNCH to get Baballe-Ila’s comments failed on Sunday.
The All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State also did not respond to a text message our correspondent sent to him.