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Imported bulletproof SUV not mine – Saraki

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The President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki has denied allegations that he imported a bullet proof Range Rover Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).

Speaking at an investigative hearing of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Saraki said that the said vehicle was not imported by him neither is the vehicle his.

Last week, the media broke with reports alleging that Saraki imported a Bullet Proof SUV which was seized by the Nigerian Customs Service for non-payment of accurate duty on the vehicle.

The reports further alleged that the action of the NSC was the major reason why the Red Chamber went all out for the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) over his new policy on vehicle duty.

Going by the allegation, Sen. Ali Ndume had urged the senate to investigate the allegations with a view to clearing the name of Saraki and saving the integrity of the Senate.

The matter was referred to the Ethics Committee of the Senate by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu who presided over plenary on Thursday.

Appearing before the committee on Monday, Saraki said that he was proud of the 8th Senate and was appearing before the committee in recognition of the Senate as an Institution and in reverence to the Democracy that is still growing in Nigeria.

“Today is another great day in the history of our growing democracy, as I present myself before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on allegation of non-Payment of customs duty on an Official Vehicle by Senate.

“As the President of the 8th Senate and Senator from Kwara Central, I am proud of the Senate as an institution and its Constitutional role to represent the interests of the Nigerian people.

“Further, I am proud to honor and respect the Senate Rule Book that guides our conduct and activities, which is why today I am presenting myself before the Nigerian Senate Committee.

“We must continue to strengthen all our Institutions so that they can carry out their mandates. This is preferable and beneficial than strengthening individuals.

“We must find ways to guard the institution and ourselves against those who wish to diminish or rubbish institutional and individual’s reputation because of 5 minutes of fame. They try to bring everyone else down while grandstanding.

“I did not import any vehicle, I did not ask anybody to act on my behalf. The vehicle is not my personal car,” he said.

He clarified that the Senate had raised the issue on Customs policy based on the interest of Nigerians.

He however regretted that those who chose to fight the position of the senate decided to do so using false allegations.

“I urge the ethics committee to protect this institution of the Senate so that it is not ridiculed for political reasons,” he said.

Earlier the committee listened to the position of Sen. Dino melaye who was accused of not graduating from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Dino who appeared before the committee presented documents showing his offer and acceptance of admission while also showing his NYSC discharge certificate.

The Senator who could not present his degree certificate from the university said that he had not collected the original certificate.

However, Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Ibrahim Garba said that the Senator graduated from the University in year 2000.

He said that the senator however graduated as “Jonah Daniel Melaye” and graduated with a 3rd class degree in Geography.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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