Tucano Fighter Jets: House of Reps Calls for Buhari’s Impreachment

Some members of the House of Representatives have called for the impreachment of President Mahammadu Buhari over $496m payment to the US for 12 super Tucano fighter jets.
This is as plenary Tuesday became a rowdy session with calls for impeachment of the President.
The impreachment calls followed the reading of President Buhari’s letter to the House by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, to intimate members of Buhari’s action.
Following the reading of President Buhari’s request in a letter by Speaker informing the House that $496m had been spent for the procurement of military aircraft, lawmakers could not hide their disdain for what they called breach of the constitution by the President.
According to Buhari, the expenditure was made in anticipation that the Green Chamber would approve it, as part of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, currently before the National Assembly.
The letter titled ‘Supplementary input into the 2018 Appropriation Bill: Purchase of Super Tucano Aircraft from the United States Government, dated April 13, 2018 reads in part: “In the expectation that the National Assembly would have no objection to the purchase of this highly specialized aircraft, which is critical to national security, I granted anticipatory approval for the release of US$496,374,470.00. This was paid directly to the Treasury of the United States Government.
“I am therefore writing, seeking approval of this House for the sum of US$496,374,470.00( equivalent to N151,394,421,335.00)to be included in the 2018 Appropriation Bill, which the National Assembly is currently finalizing…”
Kingsley Chinda, (PDP, Rivers) in a a point of order said the President’s action was an infraction against the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that should not be treated with levity, saying that an impeachment proceedings should be initiated against President Buhari.
He added, “There is no where in our law that talked about anticipatory approval. We cannot seat down and allow this to take place.
“You are talking about anticipatory approval, is this House a rubber stamp? It is an impeachable offence. There is no infraction that is worse than this. Let us not continue to sleep.
“I propose that we commence impeachment on Mr President”.
Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi) said the President should be ready to face the consequences of impeachment, “This is the time to tell the President that we have been elected to serve our people.
“There is need for this house to reply him and tell him that he has breached the constitution and should be ready to face the consequence,” he added.
Sergius Ogun (PDP, Edo) said “Chuba Okadigbo was impeached for anticipatory approval. We are not a lame duck House”.
Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyeama (PDP, Anambra) said: “It has been established that there is a breach of the constitution. What we should be talking about now is to reply the Executive.”
However, the Chairman, House Committee, Emmanuel Orker-Jev (APC, Benue) said the President’s letter must go through second reading as stipulated by the House rules but he was greeted with disapproving shouts of no.
Also, Aliyu Sani Madakian (APC, Kano) said House rules should not be applied on the matter as Section 1 of the constitution provides that the constitution shall be binding on everybody, and that any other law inconsistent with it is null and void.
Deputy Majority Whip, Pally Iriase (APC, Edo) expressed the view that two wrongs could not make a right while Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno) said: “I concur with the submissions of the chairman rules and business. It is the same constitution that gives us the right to come up with our rules.”
However, Speaker Yakubu Dogara ruled that the House would go by its rules and the letter would go to second reading before a decision is taken on it.
Members of the both chambers of the National Assembly have been spoiling for a fight over the payment, which they contended was done in breach of the constitution.
The Pentagon last year August notified the U.S. Congress of the sale to Nigeria of the 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593m, needed for the fight against the militant group, Boko Haram.
The package included thousands of bombs and rockets.
The sale was originally agreed by former President Barack Obama’s administration but was put off by the Obama administration after incidents including the Nigerian Air Force’s bombing of a refugee camp in January that killed 90 to 170 civilians.
But on 2 August, the deadlock was broken by the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency, when it announced that the sale would go ahead.
The Super Tucano A-29, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer.
A second production line is in Florida, in a partnership between Embraer and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp of Sparks, Nevada.
The Super Tucano costs more than $10m each and the price can go much higher depending on the configuration. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 engine.

Author: News Editor

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