Nothing Controversial About $1bn Military Fund Approval, Says Presidency
The Presidency, on Friday, responded to those criticising the approval of $1billion insurgency fund by President Muhammadu Buhari saying there’s nothing controversial about the approval.
The President’s approval of the fund had earlier sparked criticism from many including the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which asked Nigerians to resist it. The President’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in his reaction on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, said the critics are just ‘blowing hot air.’
“I think a lot of the judgements are hasty. After the Federal Executive Council approval, ministers will go to the President, they will seek approval of the President of the council, the council will approve and then say go to the National Assembly
“The process has begun, it’s not concluded, therefore, everyone will be involved. The President will not breach the constitution of this country. Approval at that level is granted, there is nothing controversial.
“The Attorney-General will bring a draft bill to FEC, the president will approve and then say take it to the National Assembly. The draft budget before it got to the National Assembly, the FEC signed and approved it. I think the people are just blowing hot air.”
One of the critics, Governor Ayodele Fayose, had alleged that the approval was a move by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government to raise funds to finance the 2019 presidential election and the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti State.
Shehu, debunking these allegations, said the fund is to tackle insurgency which is a challenge to the nation. He insisted that Nigeria is at war with Boko Haram, although technically defeated, the nation cannot rest on its oars in the insurgency fight.
“I think they don’t have anything to talk about, that is why they are blowing hot air over this issue. There is a mandate given to elected leaders.
“This is a country that is at war with the insurgency, although technically defeated but the challenges are enormous. 34 of the 36 states have military being deployed to them. People will say when you’ve defeated Boko Haram why do you need funds but if you check around, all over the world, the countries do most spending in peacetime,” Shehu explained.
Shehu explaining how the $1billion fund will be used said it will be evenly spread at various aspect of the nation’s security and restock arms and ammunition of the troops which he said is already depleted.
“There is police and there is also the military. It’s going to touch on every aspect of security in the country. We are not talking about buying footwear or uniforms which is routine. We’ll re-equip the military that has depleted much of its stock fighting criminality, insurgency and terrorism across the country.
“We need this money to restock. The Nigerian Army, the Police, they ought to have arms that they can use in situations where they are needed. It’s not as if we have no idea of what to do with this money, it is also true there is still some finishing jobs to be done to Boko Haram.
There is a lot of attention that needs to be paid to the police, violence in the central sections of Nigeria, challenges in the Delta, the Navy and all of these. There’s a lot to be done with this money,” he said.
‘This is Misnormal’ – PDP Insists
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), disagreed with the Presidency about the procedure of the president’s approval of $1billion for the military.
The Deputy National Secretary of the PDP, Agbo Emmanuel who was also a guest on Channels Television insisted that due process was not followed by the presidency.
“We have stated clearly, without mincing words that this is misnormal. It is a breach of process and cannot be accepted,” he said, adding that presidential approval cannot proceed legislative procedure and process.
Agbo emphasised that, for the fund to be drawn from the excess crude fund, the president must follow due process, beginning with approval from state assemblies.