President Muhammadu Buhari has turned down a proposal to buy new cars for his use. He will stick to the vehicles he inherited from former President Goodluck Jonathan, The Nation has learnt.
The proposal from the Aso Rock bureaucracy is for Buhari to approve the purchase of customised armoured Mercedes Benz S-600 (V222) car at about N400 million.
It was learnt that President Buhari rejected the proposal on Wednesday when he received briefings from the Permanent Secretary (State House), Mr. Nebolisa Emodi.
The President has been receiving briefings from permanent secretaries since the beginning of the week on the activities of the ministries.
He directed that the proposal, which was first made to ex-President Jonathan, be dropped.
Jonathan had advised that the plan be left for Buhari to approve since it was made in the twilight of his administration and the cars would be due for delivery till after he might have left the office.
Buhari, according to a sources, told the permanent secretary that the cars he inherited from the Jonathan administration were good enough for him.
“I don’t need new cars. The ones I’m using now are just fine,” the source reported the president as saying.
He however approved the plan of the Permanent Secretary to reduce the operating costs of the State House and strengthen its Finance and Accounts Internal Control Mechanisms.
Buhari told him to capture all State House expenses within the approved budget, to avoid the frequent recourse to “Presidential intervention funds,” as it was rampant in the last administration.
When he visited the United Kingdom in May, shortly before his inauguration, the then president-elect rejected the exotic cars made available for his use by the Nigerian High Commission.
When he arrived at Heathrow Airport, he turned down the Rolls Royce brought by the High Commission by telling High Commissioner Dalhatu Tafida, that his visit was strictly private and he had made arrangements for all his needs in the UK.
A presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu said “in keeping with his commitment to prudence in the management of national resources, President Buhari will continue to use the cars left behind by President Jonathan.”
Permanent secretaries in the ministries of Works, Justice, Trade and Investment, also briefed the president at the Aso Villa yesterday.
The Justice ministry’s Permanent Secretary Alhaji Abdullahi Ahmed told reporters at the end of the briefing that his ministry will work closely with others to facilitate trial of those found wanting.
“If the ministry receives investigations concluded by the responsible agencies, we will play our part.
“We will play our part in the prosecution of whoever has been found wanting and the security agencies have concluded their investigation on them.
“At the moment, the ministry is not in receipt of any report concerning anybody in that regard.“
Ahmed said the ministry would continue to cooperate with the President to ensure that all the promises he made to Nigerians relating to the Rule of Law were kept.
“We have briefed the President on how we conduct ourselves concerning the maintenance of the Rule of Law in the country.
“As you know, Rule of Law is one of the cardinal policies of this administration and we have given him a rundown of what we have been doing from 2011 till now.
“We also pledged to him our continued cooperation to ensure that all the promises he has made to Nigerians – as far as they relate to the Rule of Law are achieved.“
Amb. Abdulkadir Musa of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment said his meeting with Buhari centred on job creation.
Musa said the administration was working assiduously to attract more investments to Nigeria and encourage business.
According to him, the President has given him the mandate to discuss with the relevant people that will assist in driving the agenda.
Mr. Dauda Kigbu of the Ministry of Works, said the Federal Government was considering funding road construction outside the annual budgetary allocations with the Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
He said: “I took the President through the activities of the Ministry of Works. As you may be aware, 90 per cent of the ministry’s mandate is mainly on roads.
“I went through all the major projects across the country and I emphasised the need of seeking other windows of funding outside of the national budget, particularly looking at PPP model as well as looking at various support, like multilateral supports from agencies, such as the World Bank.” He said