Senate Debates Buhari’s Approval of $496m for Aircraft

  •  Edo senator moves motion seeking commencement of impeachment proceedings against president

By Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Senate Thursday commenced debate into the perceived violation of Sections 80 (1-4) of the 1999 Constitution by President Muhammadu Buhari with the payment of $496 million to the US government for the purchase of 12 Tucano aircraft, without recourse to the National Assembly.

The tone of the debate was set by Senator Matthew Uroghide (PDP, Edo), who moved a motion seeking commencement of impeachment proceedings against the president for approving payment for the aircraft without Appropriation by the National Assembly.

Uroghide prayed the Senate to invoke Section 143 of 1999 Constitution, which deals with removal of a President from office.

While some senators called for Buhari’s impeachment for the violation, others argued that he acted in national interest for national security reasons.

Senate President Bukola Saraki had on Wednesday read a letter from the president where he informed the Senate that he granted approval for the payment in anticipation that the National Assembly would not object to the procurement of the aircraft.

President Buhari, in the letter, said: “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$469, 374, 470.00.”

Senate Committee on Appropriation had on Wednesday met with the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), over the payment. The meeting with Ali which lasted for one and half hours was held behind closed-doors.

More details to follow…