Members of the House of Representatives yesterday threatened to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari for expending $496 million on military ware without approval by the National Assembly.
The lawmakers were angered by content of a letter President Buhari sent to the House, which was read at plenary session yesterday.
In the letter, titled, ‘Supplementary input to the 2018 Appropriation Bill: Purchase of Super Tucano Aircraft from the United States Government,’ Buhari said he granted an anticipatory approval for the amount, believing that the Legislature would not object to it.
But soon after Dogara read the letter, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) raised a constitutional point of order, saying there is nowhere in the Constitution that provides for anticipatory approval.
“Is this National Assembly a rubber stamp? Let’s even say there’s something like anticipatory approval, what if we fail to approve. This is an impeachable offence. There’s no misconduct that is bigger than this kind of action,” he said.
However, chairman of the Rules and Business Committee, Emmanuel Orker-Jev (APC, Benue) said based on the provisions of the House rules, the president’s letter was in form of a bill, which just passed first reading and that it could not be discussed immediately until when it was listed for debate.
But his colleagues shouted him down, demanding that a decision should be taken immediately. At some point, there was rowdiness on the floor of the House.
At this point, Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) cited Section 1 of the Constitution, which he said provides that the content of the Constitution shall be binding on everybody and that any other law inconsistent with it is null and void.
Contributing, Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi) noted that “Mr President has accepted that he breached the Constitution and he should be ready to face the consequences.”
After long debate on the matter, Speaker Yakubu Dogara ruled that Buhari’s proposal should be presented for second reading and that members have the right to express whatever views at that point.