Nigeria: $1 Billion Arms Fund - Buhari's Approval Not Final - Presidency

Nigeria: $1 Billion Arms Fund - Buhari's Approval Not Final - Presidency

The presidency has made clarifications on recent announcement that President Muhammadu Buhari approved $1 billion for the purchase of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country.

The presidency said the approval is not final as it marks only a stage in the process of acquiring the fund.

The President's Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made this known while featuring on a programme on Channels Television Friday morning.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Ali, while speaking with journalists at the end of a security meeting chaired by the president on Wednesday, made the announcement.

"Of recent, our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1 billion," he said.

The announcement has been greeted with criticisms from Nigerians who argued that approval for such fund should be exercised by the National Assembly and not Mr President.

Others argued that the fund is too much for terrorists who the federal government have declared technically defeated.

The Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday urged Nigerians to reject the move, while calling on the National Assembly to commence appropriate constitutional legislative actions against President Buhari for gross misconduct in unilaterally approving the release of the funds without recourse to the lawmakers.

Also, a PDP governor, Ayodele Fayose, described the approval as 'pooling of public funds for the purpose of funding President Buhari's re-election as well as the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States.'

In reaction to these, Mr Shehu said the president's approval is only a stage approval as the process is still ongoing.

"A lot of the judgements are hasty. After the Federal Executive Council approval, ministers will go to the President, they will seek approval of the President of the council, the council will approve and then say go to the National Assembly

"The process has begun, it's not concluded, therefore, everyone will be involved. Mr President will not breach the constitution of this country. Approval at that level is granted, there is nothing controversial.

"The Attorney-General will bring a draft bill to FEC, the president will approve and then say take it to the National Assembly. The draft budget before it got to the National Assembly, the FEC signed and approved it."

Mr Shehu could not provide specifics details of what the fund will be used for but said that such will be made open in due course as the National Assembly would not approve without proper detailing.

He added that the usage will cut across all security apparatus in the country.

"This is a country that is at war with insurgency, although technically defeated, but the challenges are enormous. 34 of the 36 states have military being deployed to them. People will say when you've defeated Boko Haram why do you need funds but if you check around, all over the world, the countries do most spending in peace time.

"There is police and there is also the military. It's going to touch on every aspect of security in the country. We are not talking about buying foot wear or uniforms which is routine. We'll re-equip the military that has depleted much of its stock fighting criminality, insurgency and terrorism across the country.

"We need this money to restock. The Nigerian Army, the Police, they ought to have arms that they can use in situations where they are needed. It's not as if we have no idea of what to do with this money, it is also true there is still some finishing jobs to be done to Boko Haram. There is a lot of attention that needs to be paid to the police, violence in the central sections of Nigeria, challenges in the Delta, the Navy and all of these. There's a lot to be done with this money."


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Publish date : 2018-04-06 10:06:21
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