Bukola Saraki, former senate president, said the eighth national assembly approved $1 billion for the purchase of arms to combat insecurity despite the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to follow the right procedure.
Saraki stated this on Thursday while reacting to the claim by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) that the eighth national assembly is responsible for current security challenges because it failed to approve the aforementioned sum.
Ishaq Akintola, MURIC director, alleged that the Saraki-led senate frustrated Buhari’s fight against insecurity.
“Nigerians would have witnessed a drastic improvement in the security situation in the country had that request been granted,” Akintola had said.
However, Saraki, who spoke through his media aide Oluwole Onemola said Akintola’s statement was false and should be disregarded.
Onomela recalled that there was a US ban on the sale of military hardware to Nigeria, owing to human rights abuses.
He said the ban was lifted owing to the intervention of the Saraki-led senate who met with US lawmakers.
“On Wednesday, the 25th of April 2018, the then-President of the Senate, Sen. Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari, which stated that he had granted ‘anticipatory approval’ for the release of $496,374,470. These funds were said to have been paid directly to the Treasury of the US government,” Onemola said.
“Nowhere in our Constitution is the principle of ‘anticipatory approval’ provided for.
“This means that Mr. President did not follow the proper procedure during this Constitutionally-flawed and thoroughly unprecedented ‘anticipatory approval.’
“Still, the national assembly went ahead to approve the money that the executive has started disbursing without approval. Thus, $1billion was approved by the 8th national assembly.”
He said the national assembly under Saraki had “a clear-cut track record of working to tackle issues related to insecurity head-on”.
“The public is hereby advised to disregard MURIC’s utterly biased and factually devoid statement. This is because: Men can lie. Women can lie. But dates, facts, and numbers don’t,” Onemola added.
In April 2018, Saraki had said senators were angry because the executive did not consult them before approving the funds.