Members of the House of Representatives did not mince words on Tuesday when they said President Muhammadu Buhari committed an “impeachable offence” by authorising the purchase of $462million jets for the military without appropriation by the National Assembly.
Buhari is buying 12 Tucano aircraft from the US with the money.
The planes will be delivered in 2020.
The lawmakers became angry as soon as the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, read a letter from Buhari, informing the House that the expenditure was done in “anticipation of approval” by the National Assembly.
They noted that the letter was a “mere afterthought”, as the expenditure had been done already.
The anger caused a brief rowdiness on the floor, forcing Dogara to intervene in a bid to calm down the lawmakers.
The eventual decision on Tuesday was that the letter should be properly tabled for debate on another date by the House so that it would take a position on the next line of action.
But, before the resolution, it was the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, who raised a point of order to draw the attention of members to the alleged “constitutional breach” by Buhari.
He said both the 1999 Constitution and other laws in the country did not recognise spending by the President in “anticipation of approval” by the legislature.
Chinda stated, “This matter ($462m) came up last week. Today, Mr. President has admitted that the expenditure has already been incurred.
“We are supposed to be a watchdog, but as it is, we cannot bite. This is an impeachable offence and there is no misconduct that is more serious than this.
“I propose that we commence the impeachment of Mr. President, based on this infraction.”