By Emmanuel Nduka
The Federal Government of Nigeria has confirmed that it spent a whooping N1.4bn to purchase 10 Toyota Land Cruser V8 jeeps for the Government of Niger Republic.
A Budget Office document dated July 22, 2022, and detailing how President Muhammadu Buhari approved the said sum, found it’s way into the Nigerian social media space, after it was leaked by David Hundeyin, an investigative journalist and government critic, on his Twitter handle, late on Tuesday night.
Responding to the leaked document on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed explained that providing intervention to the neighboring Niger Republic is not new and it is the prerogative of President Buhari who approved the purchase.
According to her, President Buhari, whose actions she cannot question, has the right to make his own assessment of situations and give directives accordingly.
She added that the financial support, which is primarily for the purpose of enhancing capacity to protect their territory, based on a request by the Nigerien Government, is also in the best interest of the country.
Meanwhile, Buhari’s generosity comes at a time when the country and its citizens are battling with the worse economic situation in the nation’s history.
It would be recalled that in June 2021, President Buhari publicly justified his regime’s decision to spend $1.9 billion on a rail project to the Niger Republic, saying he has family members there.
Buhari, while speaking during an exclusive interview broadcast on Arise TV explained that his regime’s decision to build rail lines from Kano to the country was to allow his Nigerien relatives easily have access to Nigeria.
“I have cousins, family members, in Niger Republic. I shouldn’t just cut them off,” Buhari had said.