Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North - APC), says the public outcry over the N5.5 billion budgeted for the purchase of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) for senators is an insult to lawmakers.

Many Nigerians have condemned the planned purchase as further proof of the Senate cornering public funds to benefit themselves to the detriment of the nation.

However, while speaking to journalists in his office on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, Abdullahi said the SUVs are befitting of a senator's status, according to The Punch.

He said, "What is the problem there? It is an insult to say that a senator of the Federal Republic cannot ride a jeep in Nigeria. It is an insult. 

"The N5.5 billion is from the National Assembly fund and it is budgeted for every year, which they will pay back at the end of the tenure.

"I was a permanent secretary. I know what ministers get; we cannot even compare ourselves to ministers because we are higher than the minister(s).

"For you to say that a senator of the Federal Republic cannot drive a jeep today. Come on, that is an insult."

Last month, a group of civil society organisations filed a suit in the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the Senate from purchasing the luxury vehicles.

The petitioners described the Senate's plan to spend N5.5 billion on cars as unjust, unfair and unconstitutional, and urged the court to restrain the release of the fund until there is a downward review.