The presidency has again denied that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of $1 billion to Nigerian security agencies for the purchase of equipment without National Assembly’s authorisation.
The initial announcement of the approval generated heated arguments among Nigerians as many posited that approval for such fund should be exercised by the National Assembly and not Mr President.
First to offer clarification on the approval was Femi Adesina, who said the president will soon communicate to the National Assembly on the issue.
In another clarification, the President’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Mr Buhari’s approval is not final as it signifies only a stage approval while the process is still ongoing.
Despite the clarifications, criticisms continue to trail the president’s approval, the latest coming from the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Mr Saraki on Saturday said senators are angry about President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to properly communicate his administration’s plan to spend $1 billion on arms procurement.
In reaction to this, the presidency on Monday released a statement to again state that Mr Buhari would necessarily seek the National Assembly’s approval before accessing the fund.
The statement signed by Ita Enang, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters-Senate, gave the assurance that Mr Buhari will abide by the provision of the constitution.
Read the full statement below:
SECURITY FUND NOT SPENT WITHOUT APPROPRIATION
In response to several issues raised about Security Fund sourced for at source from Excess Crude Account to combat security challenges in the country and the several misreadings attending same, may l state as follows:
1. That the said sum has not and cannot be approved for spending by Mr. President.
2. That in accordance with best practices, Mr. President, having received approval of sum from National Economic Council made up of all the governors, now had a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, among others to collate the need of each of the Services and the money available for appropriation
3. That Mr. President and the meeting having collated the need of each service and the amount involved may now present same to the Federal Executive Council for detailed consideration, or in exercise of presidential powers may communicate same to the National Assembly for appropriation.
4. That this may be done as usual upon Mr. President consulting prior with the Leadership of the National Assembly through the whole body of principal officers or the presiding officers of each chambers only, before originating the communication to the National Assembly
5. That as at now, the process of approving the money for use is inchoate and still undergoing Executive standard operating procedure before laying same before the National Assembly for appropriation.
6. That the processes now being worked on is to fast-track this procedures so that it may be forwarded to the National Assembly while it is still considering the 2018 Appropriation Bill (Budget) for incorporation as Mr. President’s supplementary request under the 2018 Budget, or if completed, after the 2018 Budget, it may be forwarded as supplementary Appropriation Bill.
7. That succinctly stated, Mr. President has not approved the sum for any release of this procurement or application howsoever
In any case, before any Sum is released from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, there must be
A. Appropriation Act
B. Vote of Charge
C. Warrant which is legally predicated on appropriation authorisation Sub-head under the Act
That the Executive is conscious of the provisions of the Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution which states:
“(3) No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly.
(4) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly
9. We are also conscious of the provision of Sections 4 and 5 of the 2017 Appropriation Act (relating to Excess crude Account) and would not take any action in breach thereof.
10. Just as the Legislature in processing legislation starts with conceptualizing, drafting, scrutiny of the draft, gazetting, First reading, 2nd reading, committal to appropriate committee, public hearing, consideration of the Report by Committee of the whole or supply, passage and 3rd reading in plenary, so also does the Executive have and maintain standard operating procedure, or due process or due diligence in all actions. And at this stage, the matter is ongoing these processes.
Therefore, the matter of the security fund is still undergoing standard processes for laying before the National Assembly for appropriation.
11. In summary, ladies and gentlemen, the said Sum can only be spent upon, and in the manner as shall be approved by the National Assembly, and Assented to in Appropriation Act or supplementary Appropriation Act.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...