The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi, has lambasted President Bola Tinubu for allocating more funds to himself, Vice President Kashim Shettima and their aides for trips than the amount allocated to Police Trust Fund in the 2024 budget.
The former Anambra State governor lamented that President Tinubu approved the allocation of N15.961 billion for trips for his aides and the Vice President’s aides, adding that by all indications, the President and VP will be spending about N30 billion on trips from the budget.
Obi said that Tinubu also approved the sum of N20 billion for the office of the Chief of Staff for the renovation of the President and the Vice President’s offices in Lagos and Abuja and their full ‘digitization’, making a total of about N65 billion for trips and renovation, while a total of N57 billion was allocated for Police Trust Fund to secure over 200 million Nigerians.
He said that this is despite the rising insecurity in Nigeria with half of over 5,000 police stations across the country operating without functional vehicles. He noted that police stations that have functional vehicles receive only N5,000 daily for fuel, compelling them to always demand fuel money to attend to emergency issues.
Expressing his disappointment and criticism of the budgetary allocations, Obi wrote on his X handle on Friday, “While I am still waiting for the receipt of the full details of the 2024 budget for examination and to ensure the prioritization of the items for growth, I wish to comment on some of the items that are already in the public domain.
“The sum of N15.961 billion has been budgeted for trips for the aides of the president and the vice president. If the aides are spending this much, one can extrapolate that their principals, the President, and the Vice President, will spend twice as much which will be about N30 billion.
“This means that in 2024 the office of the President and Vice President, and their aides will be gulping over N45b for trips alone.
“Furthermore, the office of the Chief of Staff budgeted N20 billion for the renovation of the President and the Vice President’s offices in Lagos and Abuja and their full ‘digitization’.
“If you add N45 billion, being the least that will be spent on transportation, and N20 billion earmarked for renovations, it comes to about N65 billion, which is more than N57 billion, being the amount passed by the Senate last week for the Police Trust Fund, to secure over 200m people.
“Join me in figuring out the alternatives of what this amount can do in real productive terms for our dear country, especially in a critical area like internal security.
“We have over 5,000 Police stations and operations, across the country. Half of these police stations have no functional vehicles. Even those that have are given less than N5,000 for fuel in a day, which is why if you are lucky, for prominent people like me, to call the police for any intervention in an emergency, the first thing they tell you is – ‘we have no fuel’.
“Assuming we decide to prioritize our lists and use these resources as most of the trips and the renovations are of no value to our growth and productivity, we can approach local manufacturers like Innoson and others and order 2,500 4×4 trucks which as of today cost about N30 million.
“We will be able to get a 20% discount because we are buying in large quantities and paying them upfront. It will amount to N25 million each, which will be N62.5 billion for half of the police stations that do not have operational vehicles today, and which will be taken care of by the money we save from the budgeted travel and renovations.
“The N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President can be used for fuelling police operational cars by tripling their fuel allowances from about N5,000 presently to N15,000 per day, which will come to N13.687 billion.”