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Buhari Senators call for President's impeachment over $496m jet purchase

Senators want Buhari impeached over 'illegal' $496m fighter jet purchase.

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Buhari says more people killed in Zamfara than Benue, Taraba combined play Senators want Buhari impeached over 'illegal' $496m fighter jet purchase (AFP)

Some lawmakers in the Nigerian Senate have called for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over the ‘illegal’ withdrawal of $496 million from the Excess Crude Account for the purchase of fighter jets.

President Buhari had paid for the jets for the purpose of fighting insurgency before writing to the National Assembly of his intention. A move, Senators who spoke, largely condemned.

Speaking at plenary on Thursday, April 26, 2018, Senator Matthew Uroghide urged the Senate to invoke Section 143 of the Constitution against President Buhari over his action.

Uroghide maintained that the President had breached Section 80 of the Constitution which stipulates that all government’s spending must be appropriated by the legislature.

“There are serious consequences for violation of our constitution,” he said. “As a consequence, the only thing we can draw from on this is that we call on you, Mr President, to invoke section 143 of the constitution. Because, what it means is that this matter is not to be investigated. It is clear that this offence has been committed by Mr President.

“I want this senate to resolve that what the president did is procedurally wrong and a violation of our constitution, it must be condemned and of course, the consequences of section 143 of our constitution should be invoked. I so move Mr President,” Uroghide added.

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Senator Chukwuka Utazi spoke in a similar vein.

“A time has come when this senate has to rise up and do the job which the constitution has stipulated that we have to do. If we have a chief executive who doesn’t want to behave according to the constitution, we follow the constitution to handle such chief executive. There is no other name to call this than this is an impeachment offence. It’s an impeachable offence and we cannot allow that. We cannot stay here and this assembly will be taken for granted,” he noted.

But Katsina lawmaker, Senator Abu Ibrahim said the call for President Buhari’s impeachment was politically motivated.

“This is a PDP conspiracy. I will like PDP to tell us which of their governors have taken the money released from excess crude oil account to the state assembly for approval. If this is a PDP conspiracy to tarnish the image of Muhammadu Buhari, they will not be able to do it because we are coming out with figures,” Ibrahim said.

But Senator Shehu Sani called for the refund of the monies for due process to be followed.

“I believe that the monies that are spent on security is worth it,” Sani said. “But, we should be calling for the refund of that money and for due process to be followed. We have seen so much bloodshed but there is the need for us not to circumvent the laws of the land. I believe that we should not impeach the president but ask that the money be returned and due process be followed,” he added.

Deputy Senate leader, Bala Na'Allah advised the Senate to refer the matter to a committee to determine weather the President had committed an impeachable offence or not.

The matter was referred to the committee on judiciary and legal matters for further advice after it was put to a voice vote by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

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