FG monetises N280m cars for Obasanjo, Babangida, Gowon, Jonathan, others

The Federal Government approved N280.1m cash payments to former Presidents and Heads of State in 2017 to buy cars.

Out of the money, N40m had already been released, but final releases would tally at “100 per cent.”

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There is an outstanding balance of N240.1m to be paid to the former leaders.

Vehicles worth N120m were also approved to be purchased for former Vice-Presidents in 2017.

The 2017 budget will still be in operation until May.

In the case of the former Presidents, the vehicles worth N280.1m were to be purchased for them directly by the government.

But, it decided to monetise the purchases by offering cash to them to buy vehicles of their choice.

The beneficiaries include Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.); and Chief Ernest Shonekan.

The former Vice-Presidents include Abubakar Atiku, Mr. Sambo Dasuki, the late Alex Ekwueme and all former chiefs of general staff.

According to a government document containing the information, the procurement of the vehicles for the former VPs is “ongoing.”

For 2018, a proposal of another N96m is made for the procurement of vehicles for the former Presidents, while in the case of former VPs, it is N90m.

The document was presented in Abuja on Tuesday by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Governmental Affairs.

The committee is chaired by Mr. Husseini Suleiman-Kanagiwa.

Mustapha appeared before the committee to review the 2017 budget of his office and defend the estimates for 2018.

The document also indicated that President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, ministers and other political appointees were paid salaries totalling N3.4bn in 2017.

It partly read, “the approved personnel cost for 2017 was N3,408,763,591.00. This covered the remuneration of the President, Vice-President, ministers, political office holders and members of staff of the OSGF from January to December 2017.”

The SGF’ s office had a total budgetary allocation of N9.5bn in 2017.

It was broken into N3.4bn for personnel cost; N3.6bn for overheads; and N2.4bn for capital projects.

For 2018, the SGF office’s total budget proposal is N9.8bn.

It is divided into N3.9bn for overheads; N3.3bn for personnel cost and N2.4bn for capital projects.

In addition to other proposals, the SGF informed the committee that the sum of N65m would be spent in 2018 to build a government website.

As soon as he rounded off his presentation, lawmakers faulted many of the proposals.

For instance, they said they could not comprehend how N18.3m would be used to buy only  27 Mac Book laptop computers in 2018.

Other major expenditure heads in 2018 were N1.7bn for “political officers and standing committees,” N760.2m for “honorarium and sitting allowance,” and N133.4m for “welfare packages.”

Another N995.1m was proposed for the purchase of security equipment, while N64m would be used to buy “monitoring trucks.”

Coming against a barrage of questions from lawmakers, the SGF explained that the laptop computers were meant for the Council Chambers at the Aso Rock Villa.

He claimed that they would be installed to perform specialised functions.

The committee later rose, as members resolved to scrutinise all the proposals before approving or rejecting them.

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