The National Assembly is in crisis over Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker Tajudeen Abbas’ rapid looting of the N500 billion in palliative funds meant to help poor Nigerians cope with fuel subsidy removal, sources told the People’s Gazette.
Affair lawmakers gave The Gazette the documents on Saturday.
According to a preview of the N500 billion subsidy palliative expenditure that The Gazette saw over the weekend, Mr. Akpabio ordered four Lexus L600 VIP 2023 models for N1 billion to upgrade his garage, and Mr. Abbas plans to renovate the Zazzau guest house and other Kaduna villages for N9.5 billion.
Mr. Abbas allocated N500 million for the “construction of a block of three classrooms with furniture and toilets” in 12 wards and N200 million for the “reconstruction and refurbishment of Zazzau Emirate guesthouse” in Kaduna.
Emboldened by Mr. Akpabio’s order for the latest Lexus vehicles, Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin allocated nearly N4 billion for solar streetlights in certain Kano local governments, a project deemed inconsequential for Nigeria’s poverty capital, where over 10 million people live.
How the streetlights and guesthouse remodeling will improve the lives of millions of underprivileged Nigerians in those states is unclear, especially since Bola Tinubu said the N500 billion taken from the supplementary budget was to alleviate the economic hardship caused by subsidy elimination.
However, the important parliamentarians, sworn in two months ago, have begun cornering billions of naira through frivolous projects that may undercut Mr. Tinubu’s efforts to improve the lives of the poor and make them hate his administration.
Lower-ranking legislators have expressed outrage over the palliative budget and expressed concerns that it might not accomplish its intended goal if it were already being plundered from the top. They have questioned the wisdom of allocating such large sums to non-priority expenses.
If the national parliament embezzles the palliative without public notice, angry and destitute masses may mutiny against Mr. Tinubu.
Akpabio, Abbas, and Jibrin did not respond to requests for comment.