Buhari’s purchase of $496m aircraft sparks protest in the Senate. The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the plenary on Wednesday, read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking the approval of the legislature for the withdrawal of $496m from the Excess Crude Account for the purchase of military aircraft.
Buhari, in the letter, however, disclosed that the money had been withdrawn and paid to the United States for the 12 Super Tucano aircraft, ahead of legislative approval.
This, he said, was done to beat the deadline for the arms deal.
The planes will be delivered in 2020.
The President said, “Recently, approval was granted by the United States of America Government but with a deadline, within which down payment must be made otherwise the contract relapses. In the expectation that the National Assembly will have no objection to the purchase of these highly specialised aircraft, which are critical to national security, I granted anticipatory approval for the release of $496,374,470. This was paid directly into the treasury of the United States Government.
“I am therefore writing seeking approval of the Senate for the sum of $496,374,470 (equivalent to N151,394, 421,035) to be included in the 2018 Appropriation Bill which the National Assembly is currently finalising. The balance for the requirement for critical operational equipment is still being collated from the different security services and will be presented in the form of a supplementary appropriation bill in due course.”
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