In response to the recent controversy surrounding the N1.5 billion budgeted for vehicles in the 2023 supplementary budget for the First Lady’s office, Chief Whip of the Senate, Ali Ndume, came to the defense of First Lady Remi Tinubu. During an appearance on Arise Television’s Morning Show, Ndume clarified that the First Lady did not personally request the luxurious vehicles.
In his statement, Ndume emphasized, “I don’t think that the First Lady personally requested for N1.5 billion luxurious vehicles because I know her personally. We have been in the Senate for 12 years, I don’t think that the First Lady requested personally for luxurious vehicles.” He further explained that the budget allocated for the Presidency encompassed vehicles used by the First Lady and others within the administration.
The controversy arose when the Federal Government earmarked N1.5 billion for vehicles in the Office of the First Lady as part of the ₦2.1 trillion supplementary budget for 2023, approved by the National Assembly. The detailed breakdown of the budget revealed plans to spend N2.9 billion on Sport Utility Vehicles for the Presidential Villa and an additional N2.9 billion to replace operational vehicles for the Presidency. Ndume’s comments sought to provide context amid public scrutiny over the allocation of funds in the supplementary budget.