Senate C’ttee Fails to Submit Report on Buhari’s $496m Expenditure

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Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Senate Committee on Judiciary thursday failed to submit its legal advise on whether President Muhammadu Buhari violated the constitution by paying $496 million to the United States Government for the purchase of 12 Super Tucano aircraft without approval from the National Assembly.

The report, which was supposed to be ready in one week from yesterday was neither laid nor listed on the order paper.

The Senate thursday had mandated the committee to provide legal advice on the president’s action and directed that the report be submitted in one week.

This had followed calls for impeachment of the president by some senators who argued that the expenditure which was made in hope of an anticipatory approval was in violation of the constitution.

Some of the senators, however, argued that the president’s action was borne out of necessity of the security situation in the country and was therefore not a violation of the constitution.

While Senators Matthew Uroghide (Edo PDP) and Samuel Anyanwu (Imo PDP) had maintained that Buhari violated Section 80 of the constitution by spending public funds without appropriation, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah said the president acted in line with Section 83, bordering on contingency expenditure.

As the debate heated up, Na’allah advised that the matter be referred the committee for legal advice.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, in his ruling, had backed Na’Allah’s position.
“If we all agree, I will put it to vote and refer the matter to the judiciary committee and give them a short period of time, that by Wednesday next week, they submit it,” he ruled.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Chairman of the Committee, Senator David Umaru, on why the report was not submitted, were unsuccessful as he did not respond to a text message sent to him.

The spokesman of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, at a press briefing last Wednesday had however said the report was not ready.