Bullet proof Range Rover: Saraki ought to have resigned

*This is the height of insensitivity and abuse of our collective being

*Not paying Customs duties, using fake papers is sad development

That the Nigerian Senate is very insensitive to the economic reality of the nation is true. How on earth did Dr Bukola Saraki or and the Senate bought a N298 million bullet proof Range Rover sports utility vehicle? Why did the Senate or Dr Saraki imported the car into the country allegedly with fake documents?

The armored SUV was impounded by Nigerian customs on the 17th January. This was why the Senate started a campaign of vendetta against the Customs Service, whose boss, Hameed Ali was ordered to appear before the Senate in his official uniform.

Attempts had been made to him but he refused to release the vehicle. Why can an institution like the Senate not pay the right customs dues on a vehicle they imported? Why did the Senate use fake documents? These are the issues the Senate should face and address.

An average Nigerian is today troubled. The worries on their minds are about the basic necessities of life – food, healthcare, quality education, gainful employment and reliable infrastructure, all of which remain hard to come by.

In recent times, there have been actual and suspected suicide (reported). There are so many which are not reported. While the average citizen buckles under the severe yoke of poverty, hunger, homelessness, unemployment and absolute lack, unpaid salaries and the failure of government to discharge its statutory and moral responsibility to the populace, public officials would have so much leeway on profligacy and the mundane, which the bullet proof SUV represents presently.

Monthly, the illegal FAAC keeps reporting dwindling revenue. The economy has been in a free-fall. Insecurity is every where.

The Senate and its President went too far with the acquisition of the bullet proof SUV. Nigerians demand an apology from an insensitive Senate. The amount used to import that Jeep is enough to give hope to children suffering primordial diseases such as cholera and guinea worm.

There are young Nigerians who are suffering to get monies to pay for medical interventions that will give them live. African Independent Television (AIT) publishes these on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). That money would have have many hope.

The persons who approved the purchase of that jeep are inhuman. They do not have the fear of God in their minds. They were intensely individualistic, buoyed by rapacious corruption. Is the safety of the President of the upper legislative chamber at risk? The Senate is not thinking of putting up laws that can ensure the safety of Nigerians.

Our Senate traded away its integrity and compromised its oversight responsibility in order to please its leader. We have lawmakers who conduct themselves as if they are above the law. They are serving themselves than serve the Nigerian people who elected them.

This scandal should not be swept under the carpet. It is fraudulent for the senate to claim she is self-investigating. By all moral or decent standards, Saraki, who is undergoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, ought to have been ushered out of office to allow unfettered investigation by appropriate law enforcement agencies.

This is simply put, an assault on the collective psyche of all citizens. The issues involved include morality, ethics and dignity of office are clear. The Yorubas will say, eni to lori, lori’n fo’ (it is he who has a head that feel head ache).

Dr ukola Saraki’s continued stay in office is no longer tenable. He should do the right thing by using his office to bring pressure on the lawmakers to replace him with another person. The Senate officials involved in the Range Rover deal should also be thrown out of the system.

Meanwhile, the Police or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should open inquiry into the conduct of the culprits with a view to prosecuting them, if necessary. It is time public officials were made to account for their actions.

No government that vacillates in a case so obvious and that smacks of massive moral deficit on the part of the Senate President will be deserving of the respect of its people. If government hopes to get away with this, it will not get away with the harsh verdict of history.

 

NB: I had resisted repeatedly not to write outside of sports as a columnist. Several stakeholder had always looked forward to my comments. When this issue came up and I expressed my opinion, I was accused of not helping public discourse. This is the maiden edition of this column. I am retaining Sports Observatory for sports issues. Thank you folks.

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