Published: Wed, April 25, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

PMB Seeks Inclusion Of $496m Aircraft Fund In 2018 Budget

PMB Seeks Inclusion Of $496m Aircraft Fund In 2018 Budget

"It is disturbing that this impetuous act was carried out by the President, who is now asking the National Assembly to include money he already spent in 2018 Appropriation Act under consideration".

There was a heated session in the House of Representatives, yesterday, when lawmakers canvassed for the commencement of impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari; for spending $496.3 million without National Assembly approval.

The lawmakers became angry as soon as the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, read a letter from Buhari, informing the House that the expenditure was done in "anticipation of approval" by the National Assembly.

They were yet to take a position on the letter, or it's content before adjourning plenary to visit Melaye.

"I am therefore writing seeking approval of the senate for the sum of $496,370.470 (equivalent of N151,394,421,035) to be included in the 2018 Appropriation bill which the National Assembly is now finalizing".

Nevertheless, the Rivers lawmakers said the action of the President constituted an impeachment offense, citing Section 80 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria which deals with the withdrawal of funds from the consolidated revenue funds account.

Reading the group's communiqué, its Publicity Secretary Yinka Odumakin said Afenifere "frowned at the anticipatory approval and payment of $496 million to the United States government by President Buhari for the purchase of 12 A29 Super Tucano aircraft".

The presidential aide said Buhari had not approved the release of the money from the excess crude account as claimed by the minister, adding that the approval given to the federal government by the national economic council was undergoing the "normal legislative process" before the national assembly.

The official, who confirmed that the Nigerian government had paid for the war planes, said sale of the aircraft with weapons and services worth over 400 million dollars included bombs and rockets. We can not sit down and do nothing.

"It will be recalled that for a number of years, Nigeria has been in discussion with the United Sates government for the purchase of Super Tucano aircraft under a direct government to government arrangement".

(9) Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report at the House the National Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of each House of the National Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report. I propose that we commenced the impeachment based on this very constitutional infraction that Mr. Speaker has mentioned to the house.

A copy of the letter had earlier been sent to the House of Representatives.

Chairman House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Oker-Jev, cautioned that debate on the subject matter was not appropriate as it was not properly slated for deliberation. "It is the same constitution that gives us the right to come up with our rules".

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