Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari may face impeachment if found guilty of illegally dipping his hands into the Federation Account and spending money without authorisation by the National Assembly.
The president has severally given out monies to state governments across the country to help them solve their financial challenges outside the purview of approved national budget since he came on board in 2015.
The constitution forbids the president from spending any money accruing to the federation account without appropriation by the National Assembly.
Doing so is considered an impeachable offence.
At Thursday’s plenary, the issue of the bailout funds given to state governments by President Buhari as well as the disbursement of the Paris Club refund came up on the floor of the Senate, with a unanimous decision taken by the lawmakers that the next legislative day will be set aside to look into the action which majority of them considered as an infraction of the constitutional provision.
Totally, the president is said to have disbursed about N1.9 trillion to state governments without seeking approval of the National Assembly.
Senator Samuel Anyanwu at Thursday plenary, raised a point of order to draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that President Buhari has been dipping his hands into the nation’s treasury without getting the permission from the National Assembly.
Aside querying the legality of the funds given out by the president, Anyanwu also raised the question on the identity of the parliament or individual who gave approval to President Muhammadu Buhari to spend money from the federation account.
Senate President Bukola Saraki noted that the point of order raised by Anyanwu was germane and therefore sought the permission of his colleagues to grant the permission to Anyanwu to consider a substantive motion on the issue in the next legislative day which was unanimously accepted.
The parliament is expected to reconvene on Tuesday for plenary business.
Records showed that the president has released about N243.7 billion as Paris Club Refund to states, while his government has given out about N1.75 trillion since 2015 as bailout under different guises since 2015.
The refund is in respect of over-deductions on Paris Club, London Club loans and multilateral debts between 1995 and 2002.
Records show that in 2015, a salary loan of about N338 billion was disbursed to states. The term of the loan was 20-year and the purpose of the loan was to help states facing fiscal strain meet outstanding salary obligations. Interest rate of 9% was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This was swiftly followed by the N575 billion restructuring programme bond.
The Federal Government negotiated this debt package through the Debt Management Office (DMO) to allow states convert high interest bank debt into a 20-year tenured debt with interest rate set at 14.83%.
Again, in July 2015, the Federal Government remitted approximately N92.18 billion to states from dividends worth $2.1 billion paid to the centre by Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG).
In July 2016, the Federal Government endorsed the allocation of N3.6 billion from solid minerals savings to states as part of the routine monthly FAAC disbursements.
A total of N117.3 billion was also disbursed to states, amount taken from excess revenue generated from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT). The sum, ordinarily, should go into the Excess Crude Account, but it was speedily distributed between the federal and state governments.
Buhari Running A Failed Govt, Says Jonathan
In a similar development, former President Goodluck Jonathan has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of running a failed government anchored on lies and propaganda.
Jonathan made the declaration on Thursday while playing host to one of the chairmanship aspirants of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Tunde Adeniran.
Jonathan noted that those who are writing off the PDP are doing so at their own peril as he stated that the rate at which people are rushing to be associated with the party which just lost election just two years ago is an indication that the ruling party is not doing well.
He stated that the 16 years of PDP in government was a blessing to Nigerians as the people can now see that the APC government has nothing to offer Nigerians.
Jonathan declared that he was proud to say that the PDP did well from May 29 1999 till May 29, 2015 when it handed over power to the APC, saying since then till date the APC administration has been grappling with little challenges in government.
He said the APC administration has nothing to show as achievement in its stay in office, but rather it has been ruling through lies and deployment of hi-tech propaganda to cover up its misrules.
Jonathan, who cited instances to back up his claim, challenged the current administration to a public debate over his submission.
“PDP administration for 16 years did well and will continue to do well. But this administration has done nothing, the administration is full of lies and propaganda.
“In the power sector we did well to revive it. A state governor criticised our government, saying that any serious government should be able to fix the power within six months. Today, APC has been in power for how many years? Fortunately the then governor is in the APC government as a minister of power. What have they done?” He quipped.
Jonathan, however, said that all hope was not lost as the PDP would go all out and put its house in order for it to return to power come 2019 since Nigerians have been able to see things for themselves on the differences between the APC and the PDP.
“With the rate at which people are coming around to associate with a party that lost elections, it shows that the people still believe in the PDP, with the numbers and calibres of the people coming out to vie for the seat of the national chairman and offices of our party, it shows that our party still has another chance”, he said.
The former president, however, warned that for the party to get it right and regain its lost glory, it would need a competent, reliable and courageous national chairman who would then lead the party to victory come 2019.
“The contest for the office of the national chairman is very interesting. This is healthy competition, many of the aspirants have been coming here. This will allow the delegates to choose the best among them at the convention.
“However, for the party to make a head way, we need a national chairman that will oversee selection of credible and reliable candidates for various elective offices at the various levels of governments from the presidency to the councillorship.
“We need a national chairman who will be courageous enough to call the president to order if we win the presidency and the president is going astray. He must not be someone when the party takes position on issues, he will change.
“We need a national chairman who will rule the party democratically and carry others along. In fact, the national chairman is the leader of the party, it is not the other way round.”
He, however, advised party members and the aspirants not to allow the convention to cause another crisis in the party, saying that the contest should be seen as a family affairs.
In his remarks, Professor Adeniran stated that initially he was not interested in the race but the need to rebuild and reposition the party ahead of the 2019 general elections prompted him to join the race.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (politics)