$496m Payment: National Assembly Members Collecting Signatures to Impeach Buhari – Report
Some members of the National Assembly have allegedly started collecting signatures for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over the withdrawal of funds from the national treasury for the purchase of the Tucano Aircraft from the United States Government without the legislative approval.
Some Nigerian newspaper quoted sources as saying some lawmakers had started collecting signatures for the impeachment of the president.
One of the sources quoted reportedly said, “As I speak to you, signatures for the impeachment of Mr President are being collected in both chambers of the national assembly. The lawmakers are very angry and are ready to nail this act once and for all. Don’t forget that this is not the first time that the president would disregard the legislature in taking key decisions… the matter has been referred to the committees (in both chambers) and they will advise them on the way forward as regards the anticipatory approval.”
“But based on the illegality of Mr. President’s action, they have started gathering signatures for his impeachment in both chambers. Buhari had since September 2017 to consult with the leadership of the national assembly leadership over this issue but he did not do so. Last year, a congress delegation met with the leadership of the national assembly based on Trump’s request to sell the aircraft to Nigeria but our president decided to do things his own way.”
Sahara Reporters had reported that Hon. Kingsley Chinda had last Wednesday, asked his colleagues in the House of Representatives to commence impeachment proceedings against Buhari during the debate of on a letter the president wrote to the National Assembly to seek anticipatory approval for the payment.
The President had said he anticipated that the lawmakers would approve the withdrawal.
In the letter, the president had said he took the action because the US gave Nigeria a deadline for payment.
But Hon. Chinda said “There is nowhere in our law that talked about anticipatory approval. We cannot sit down and allow this to take place. 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 the impeachment of Mr President.”
Chinda was also reported to be among those coordinating the collection of signatures in the lower legislative chamber, while some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators are doing the same at the senate.
But Abu Ibrahim, an APC senator from Katsina state, has described the impeachment plot as a conspiracy from PDP.
Senator Ibrahim said that the president approved the withdrawal of the money “based on national interest”.
He said, “This is the first time that money drawn from excess crude account is being brought to the national assembly (for approval). Since they began to operate this account, I have never seen any expenditure that was brought here for approval. This is a PDP conspiracy. I will like the PDP to tell us which of their governors have taken the money released from excess crude oil account to the state assembly for approval. If this is a PDP conspiracy to tarnish the image of Muhammadu Buhari, they will not be able to do it because we are coming out with figures.”
The section 143 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) deals with the removal of the president and vice-president from office and requires support of one-third of members of the national assembly.