Some of the exotic cars delivered to the members of the House of Representatives have developed faults barely 90 days after the automobiles arrived in Abuja, The PUNCH gathered on Sunday.
The majority of the lawmakers, 240 out of the total of 360, took delivery of the Peugeot 508 cars between June and July this year.
The cars, which lawmakers prefer to call “committee or utility vehicles,” belong to the National Assembly, though the members keep them in their homes.
Each unit costs N17m, which amounts to a total of N6.1bn for the 360 units for the 360 members.
House spokesman, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, confirmed the unit cost of the cars to The PUNCH last July.
“One car is for about N17m; yes”, he said.
Contracts for the supplies were handled by the Chairman, Committee on House Services, Mr. Bashir Baballe-Ila, and officials of the National Assembly.
Investigations showed that members started complaining of faults in the cars just weeks after taking delivery.
“There have been faulty electrical issues and mechanical challenges.
“Some members have complained that they have experienced breakdown as a result of the faults,” a National Assembly official said.
One lawmaker was reported to have abandoned his vehicle at the National Assembly Complex, Annex I, two weeks ago.
It was also gathered another member from one of the South-West states called Baballe-Ila last week and threatened to return the car for a replacement.
The Chairman of a key committee, who is from Kano State, said, “What the members are saying about the cars is true.
“There have been complaints concerning the cars for months and members are calm because the leadership, particularly the Speaker (Yakubu Dogara), pleaded for patience.”
Findings by The PUNCH indicated that some lawmakers were beginning to suspect that the cars were fairly used before the committee bought them from the original owners.
It was learnt that the Baballe-Ila committee had come under pressure in May after members began to protest that two years into their tenure; they had yet to receive their utility cars.
This reportedly happened when a Kaduna-based main supplier, initially contracted to supply the vehicles, couldn’t cope with the “large number of 360 units at a go.”
The supplier was said to have phased the delivery. But, this means that by December, many members will still be without the cars.
It was gathered that in a bid to address the supply delay, the House Services Committee chairman engaged sub-contractors to deliver more cars.
“Unfortunately, that approach too has not taken us far because as of October 27, many members still didn’t get their cars.
“The sub-contracting might have also led to these complaints of faulty cars. The sources of some of the cars are now being called to question,” one member said.
Our correspondent made attempts to get Baballe-Ila to comment on the matter but he failed to respond. Also, text messages sent to him were not replied to.
But, when asked for his reaction on Sunday, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, informed The PUNCH that any faulty vehicle would be returned to the supplier because they came with warranty.
He said, “The faulty cars reported by any member will be returned.
“I am sure the chairman of the committee will handle the issue amicably. He will return the cars.
“You know there must be a warranty. And these are mechanical tools anyway; the chances that one or two cars in a large supply will have issues are not ruled out. The warranty will solve the problem.”
Asked the number of members that had received their vehicles so far, Namdas said, “about two-thirds (240) have their cars.”
This implies that up to 120 lawmakers still have no cars for oversight and other duty tours.
“We can only plead for their patience. Like I have said before, the vehicles come in batches.
“I am sure that in another few days, 50 more units may arrive,” he added.