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Saturday, 5 May 2018

Unapproved $496m jets: Buhari presents documents to National Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari has presented documents and a letter from the United States Government to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Legal Matters on why he decided to pay $496 million for 12 Super Tucano fighter jets in anticipation of approval by the National Assembly.

The Nation reports that the presidency also gave a list of precedents by past governments which embarked on similar purchases or expenditures due to exigencies.

One of the document reportedly presented was a letter from the US government giving Nigeria a deadline of February 20, 2018, to purchase the jets or renogiate after two years.

A top source in the presidency said: "The payment of the $496 million for the Super Tucano jets was not ill-motivated or scandalous as being painted.

"It was effected in the interest of the nation's security and not an attempt to undermine the National Assembly in any form.

"If you go to Section 82 of the 1999 Constitution, it says the president may authorise withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Revenue of the Federation for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government of the Federation for a period not exceeding six months until the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act.

"There were also past precedents by some ex-Presidents, including Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Mallam Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan."
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