Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project is urging President Muhammadu Buhari to ban the purchase of new vehicles for politicians, including ministers until the end of his administration.

This was included in an open letter to Buhari urging him to use his “leadership position to follow the ‘Namibia example’ by urgently issuing an executive order to ban the purchase of new cars by the presidency, and all ministers for the remainder of the tenure of your administration, that is, until May 2023.”

The money gathered from this, the group stated, would help to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on Nigerians.

SERAP also urged the president to “encourage the National Assembly and governors to ban the purchase of new cars and to use the savings to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements”.

Namibia’s President, Hage Geingobon, had last week reportedly imposed a five-year ban on purchasing of new cars for top politicians and government officials in order to redirect the funds to fight COVID-19 in his country.

According to reports, the presidential directive would save the country about $10.7 million.

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Part of the SERAP letter read, “The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the urgent need for high-ranking public officials and politicians to demonstrate the constitutional oaths of absolute loyalty to the public interest and the common good. As trustees of Nigerians’ public funds, your government, the National Assembly, and governors are accountable to the public for the use of those funds.

“The expenditure of public funds requires the highest degree of public trust. It is the constitutional duty of every public official to protect and preserve the public interest in public spending.

“Imposing a ban on new cars by the presidency, ministers and encouraging the National Assembly and governors to do the same would serve the public interest, and contribute to cutting the cost of governance.

“Copying the Namibia example will also show that public funds will be spent for the benefit of the people, and not as a prerogative for the advantage of the government or the benefit of public officials.

“SERAP also urges you to consider banning spending on generators in the presidency and cutting spending on items like furniture and fittings, refreshments, catering services, and purchase of kitchen and household equipment.”

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