Protests has rocked the city of Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as youths opposed the allocation of Sport Utility Vehicles for members of the National Assembly.
The youths who gathered on Monday in their numbers in the Ikeja area of Lagos held placards and chanted ‘Fund education not SUVs, ‘Pay living wage not SUVs, ‘Return the SUVs Now’ and ‘Fund hospitals, not SUVs,’ among others.
According to the protesters, “Lawmakers buying SUVs with public funds is insensitive when the majority are suffering.”
Speaking to one of the protesters, Juwon Sanyaolu said that “Workers are still battling for a living wage as the N33,000 minimum wage is not sustainable but we have people at NASS taking delivery of exotic vehicles with about N160bn. Students are dropping out of school because of costly fees. It’s insensitive. They must return the SUVs and fund education.”
He continued that, “They’re the ones receiving hardship allowance. What hardship are they facing? What hard work are they doing?”
In Abuja, some youths also gathered at the Unity Fountain to protest.
“This is the right time for Nigerian people to stand up for their rights and say enough is enough.
“Fuel is now N650 per litre but senators are buying SUVs worth N160m while people are suffering,” a protester Emmanuel Larry said in Abuja.
It was reported on Sunday that lawmakers in the Green Chamber had started taking delivery of their SUVs.
Similarly, legislators in the Red Chamber would receive the first batch of the SUVs this week.
It was also gathered that the last tranche of the SUVs for use by the lawmakers would arrive before December.
It was also reported that the leadership of the National Assembly had announced the decision to purchase imported SUVs for each lawmaker and bulletproof vehicles for the principal officers.
The move has generated criticisms among Nigerians, with the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project asking a Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the lawmakers from taking delivery of the SUVs pending the hearing and determination of the applications for injunction filed by the organisation.