Yesterday, the Federal Government provided justification for its permission of N1,145,000,000 to buy automobiles for the government of the Niger Republic. This happened when Nigerians expressed their displeasure over the deed.
On February 22 of this year, President Muhammadu Buhari gave his approval for the fund to be released.
Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, defended the choice by stating that while Nigerians have the right to inquire, President Buhari, who authorized the purchase, also has the right to have his own opinions and take appropriate action in light of those opinions.
After the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, which was presided over by President Buhari, the Minister responded to questions by saying she understood Nigerians’ concerns about the situation since it had become public, but that Nigeria has a policy of helping her neighbors, which has a significant impact on the country’s ability to deal with insecurity.
The Budget Office document that was leaked indicated that N1.145 billion had been released to the Federal Office of the Accountant General. The money was transferred to Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited to provide the Nigerien Government with 10 Toyota Land Cruisers V8 vehicles.
Reports have it that the Presidency of the Republic of Niger had requested logistic support from the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vide 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 over time, Nigeria has had to support its neighbors, especially, immediate neighbors, to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us. This is not the first time that Nigeria had assisted the 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.”
She added: “Nigerians have the right to ask questions, but also the President has the responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interest of the country and I cannot question the decision myself.
“It is to enhance their capacity to protect their countries, as it relates to security and also to Nigeria. So, it is in the best interest of Nigeria to do so for our neighbors.”
RECALL that President Mohammed Bazoum of the Niger Republic had months back expressed appreciation to President Buhari for approving the $1.96 billion Kano-Katsina-Maradi railway project during his state visit to Nigeria.
President Buhari had, in February 2021, performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano–Dutse–Katsina–Maradi 284km rail project connecting Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in the Niger Republic.
Commending President Buhari for the project, Bazoum said: “This project is an infrastructure that will integrate the economies of Nigeria and Niger. And so, I’m here to thank President Buhari for his efforts at ensuring that this project has taken off and I hope that it will be sustained because this project will radically change the trading exchange between the two countries.
“We also spoke about the gas pipeline in the sense that gas and oil have now become an issue in world politics, in the world economy.”
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