Controversial Nigerian Senator, Dino Melaye, on Thursday declined comments on the source of his wealth to afford his ostentatious lifestyle and knack for luxury cars.
On Thursday, PREMIUM TIMES reported Mr. Melaye to have acquired a 93-year-old Rolls Royce estimated at N180 million.
Mr. Melaye, a first-time senator who represents Kogi West, owns a fleet of luxury and antiquated cars worth billions of naira.
He has at least 28 of the expensive cars parked at his upmarket residence in Maitama Abuja, according to news website, Sahara Reporters.
“I’ve never seen that collection of exotic cars in any single person’s home before,” a journalist who was among several others Mr. Melaye took round his home said.
But when approached in his office in the Senate late Thursday, the lawmaker said the purchase was private to him. He attacked PREMIUM TIMES for its first report on the development Thursday morning.
The report sparked wide condemnation of the Senator.
“Did you talk to me before you did your earlier report?” a visibly infuriated Mr. Melaye queried. “The way you got the other news go, and get another one.”
“I am entitled to my privacy and I should be respected.”
Mr. Melaye was asked how he came by his wealth and what the car actually cost – since he disputed our estimate in the report.
In February, Mr. Melaye, who once led a nongovernmental organisation campaigning against corruption, posed in a 2015 Slingshot estimated to cost about N4.78 million.
In September, he arrived at a Senate function at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, in a Mercedes Benz 190 (1958 Model) and a Hindustan Ambassador, used for his security aides.
The Benz had a customized number plate “KOGI DINO 10”.
The Rolls Royce has the registration number “MELAYE 2” and is believed to cost some $400,000.
A source said the car was purchased in Las Vegas, in the United States of America.
“Senator Dino Melaye is very smart, he actually got the car from Las Vegas two years ago. At that time, he was busy committed with anti-graft crusade as Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) but decided to keep it in secrecy,” the source said.
SOURCE OF WEALTH
If Mr. Melaye had lived only on his legitimate earnings, he may not have been able to afford the exotic cars.
Going by the remuneration approved by Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, the annual take-home (excluding estacode, Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) and some sundry allowances which they are paid as necessary), a Nigerian senator like Mr. Melaye earns 19.66 million annually.
This means Mr. Melaye would have to be in the Senate for at least 10 years, and spend no dime of his earnings to be able to afford just the Rolls Royce.
Before joining the Senate in 2015, he was in the House of Representatives for four years, 2007 to 2011, where he earned even less legitimately.
This legitimate earnings do not, however, include the illegal but hefty allowances lawmakers pay themselves such as the office running cost.
The Kogi lawmaker is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory.