Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

What the 1999 constitution says about 'impeaching' Buhari

ECA scandal: N/Assembly must probe Buhari for withdrawal of $469 for Tucano aircrafts – Falana Buhari broke the law by withdrawing $462 million without approval
Steve Townsend | 26 April, 2018, 06:59

The Pentagon previous year August notified the U.S. Congress of the sale to Nigeria of the 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593 million, needed for the fight against the militant group, Boko Haram.

According to the president, the helicopters are meant to support the drive to improve the security of the nation.

TENSION rose in the House of Representatives on Tuesday over President Muhammadu Buhari letter requesting National Assembly's approval of $496,374,470 for the purchase of Super Tucano Aircraft from the United States government.

"In the expectation that the National Assembly would have no objection to the purchase of this highly specialised aircraft, which is critical to national security, I granted anticipatory approval for the release of US$496,374,470.00".

The senators who are headed for a stormy session today, were against Buhari over the approval for the payment made without appropriation by the National Assembly. "This was paid directly to the treasury of the United States Government".

This Day newspaper reported that the freakish drama between Senator Dino Melaye and the Nigeria Police entered the second day on Tuesday when the senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly surrendered to the police in the morning.

The party further stated that the President's action amounted to a gross misconduct and betrayal of public trust, adding that in the bid to push a personal agenda, he deliberately side-stepped statutory legislative scrutiny and acted in clear breach of section 80 (3) (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

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The president, in a correspondence to the lower chamber, dated April 13, 2018 and titled "Supplementary input to the 2018 Appropriation Bill: Purchase of Supper Tucano Aircraft from the United States Government", argued that the approval for the procurement was taken by the 36 states governors and the National Economic Council (NEC) on December 14, 2017.

Trouble started after Speaker Yakubu Dogara read the president's correspondence on the expenditure at yesterday's plenary.

After contributions by several lawmakers, Dogara ruled that the letter will be listed for debate where the lawmakers would make more contributions. Right, the house of representatives have a copy of the letter that the money had already been disbursed but then it has not been appropriated.

Emmanuel Orkev-Jev (Benue-APC) called for caution, arguing it was needless "putting the cart before the horse" on the issue since it had not been slated for deliberations in line with the House Standing Rules.

Yusuf particularly wondered why the president gave anticipatory approval for the procurement of the warplanes that would be supplied in 2020, even when he knew that the 2018 budget is yet to be passed into law. There is no language of anticipatory approval.

Buhari said he expected the lawmakers to back the purchase of this aircraft which he said was critical to national security and therefore went on with the approval.

"Since there was no Act of the National Assembly that authorised the spending of this money, it is clear that the president's action is a clear subversion of the 1999 constitution".

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