The Federal Government, on Wednesday, defended the approval of N1,145,000,000 for the purchase of vehicles for the government of Niger Republic.
This came after an investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, tweeted that he obtained a document from the Budget Office in Nigeria which showed that the President made the approval for the purchase of the vehicles to the neighbouring country.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved release of the fund on February 22, 2022. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, justifying the decision, said while Nigerians have the right to ask questions, President Buhari, who approved the purchase, also has the right to make his own assessment on situations and act on them accordingly.
Fielding questions after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister noted that she understood the concerns of Nigerians about the matter since it became public, but said Nigeria has a policy of assisting her neighbours, a development, which goes a long way to strengthening capacity to deal with insecurity.
The leaked document from the Budget Office showed the release of N1.145 billion to the office of the Accountant General of the Federal. The funds were to be made to Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited, supplier of the 10 Toyota Land Cruisers V8 vehicles to the Nigerien Government via its Fidelity Bank Account.
Reports have it that the Presidency of the Republic of Niger had requested logistic support from the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a letter with Ref. 000104/PRN/DIRCAB, dated January 20, 2022.
The Finance Minister also noted that it is the President’s prerogative to take such decisions after a careful assessment of the situation.
“Let me just say that overtime, Nigeria has had to support its neighbours, especially, immediate neighbours, to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us. This is not the first time that Nigeria had assisted Niger Republic, Cameroon or Chad.
“The President makes an assessment as to what is required based on the request of their Presidents. Such requests are approved and interventions are provided.”