President Muhammadu Buhari is currently facing a difficult some senators have called for his impeachment at their last sitting.
This is as a result of the Senate’s debate on the unapproved spending of $496 million by the federal government on the purchase of some fighter jets from the US government.
Buhari had approved the withdrawal of the money from the excess crude account without the backing of the national assembly.
He subsequently sent a letter to the upper legislative chamber on Wednesday, seeking their approval of the expenses — a move that angered that the lawmakers.
At plenary on Thursday, some senators in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including Mathew Urhoghide and Chukwuka Utazi, described the president’s action as an impeachable offence and called on their colleagues to commence impeachment proceedings again the president.
The call for impeachment generated a mild drama in the red chamber, with some lawmakers advising against the move.
Urhoghide from Edo state said the Senate should invoke section 143 of the 1999 constitution which bothers on the impeachment of the president.
“The objective of the expenditure is very well established but the procedure is wrong,” he said.
“There are serious consequences for violation of our constitution. I want this Senate to resolve that what the president did is procedurally wrong and a violation of our constitution, it must be condemned and of course, the consequences of section 143 of our constitution should be invoked.”
Utazi from Enugu state supported his call for impeachment, accusing the president of undermining the powers of the legislature.
He said: “If we have a chief executive who doesn’t want to behave according to the constitution, we follow the constitution to handle such chief executive. There is no other name to call this than this is an impeachment offence. It’s an impeachable offence and we cannot allow that. We cannot stay here and this assembly will be taken for granted.”
Senators in the All Progressives Congress (APC), however, kicked against it, referring to it as a “PDP conspiracy.”
Abu Ibrahim from Katsina state said Buhari approved for the withdrawal of the money “based on national interest”.
He also said the president’s case is not new as “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,” the lawmaker said.
“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.”
Thereafter, Senate President Bukola Saraki called for caution. He ruled that the matter should be referred to the senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters to “weigh the implications” of the president’s alleged offence.
The committee was asked to report back to the upper legislative chamber within one week.