The Senate has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to withdraw $496 million from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the purchase of military aircraft with the National Assembly approval.
After the withdrawal, Buhari had written a letter to the Senate seeking the approval of the legislature for the withdrawal of $496 million from the ECA.
However, he noted in the letter that the money had been withdrawn and paid to the United States for the 12 Super Tucano aircraft, ahead of legislative approval.
The President said he did this to beat the deadline for the arms deal. The planes are expected to be delivered in 2020.
The President’s letter read in part, “Recently, approval was granted by the United States government, but with a deadline, within which part 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 is 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.”