President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said he did not approve the release of $1 billion for procurement of military equipment.
Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali, had told said last Wednesday that Buhari had approved the release of the fund in order to aid the fight against insurgency in the northeast.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, Buhari said he had not approved the release of the fund.
“The said sum has not and cannot be approved for spending by Mr. President,” Enang stated.
He said the process of approving the money for use was still undergoing executive standard operating procedure before presenting same to the National Assembly for approval.
He noted that the fund could only be spent “upon and in the manner as shall be approved by the National Assembly and assented to in an Appropriation Act or a supplementary Appropriation Act.”
Enang said in accordance with best practices, the president, having received approval of the fund from the National Economic Council comprising all state governors, met with the defence minister and the security chiefs, among others, to collate the need of each of the services and the money available for appropriation
He said after the need of each service and the amount involved had been collated, Buhari “may now present same to the Federal Executive Council for detailed consideration or in exercise of presidential powers, may communicate same to the National Assembly for appropriation.”
He stated: “This may be done as usual upon Mr. President Consulting prior with the Leadership of the National Assembly through the whole body of principal officers or the presiding officers of each chambers only, before originating the communication to the National Assembly
“As at now, the process of approving the money for use is inchoate and still undergoing executive standard operating procedure before laying same before the National Assembly for appropriation.
“The processes now being worked on is to fast-track this procedures so that it may be forwarded to the National Assembly while it is still considering the 2018 Appropriation Bill (Budget) for incorporation as Mr. President’s supplementary request under the 2018 Budget, or if completed, after the 2018 Budget, it may be forwarded as supplementary Appropriation Bill
“The Executive is conscious of the provisions of the Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution which states: ‘No monies shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly. No monies shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.’
“We are also conscious of the provision of Sections 4 and 5 of the 2017 Appropriation Act (relating to Excess crude Account) and would not take any action in breach thereof.
“Just as the Legislature in processing legislation starts with conceptualizing, drafting, scrutiny of the draft, gazzetting, First reading, 2nd reading, committal to appropriate committee, public hearing, consideration of the Report by Committee of the whole or supply, passage and 3rd reading in plenary, so also does the Executive have and maintain standard operating procedure, or due process or due diligence in all actions. And at this 11. stage, the matter is ongoing these processes.
“Therefore, the matter of the Security fund is still undergoing standard processes for laying before the National Assembly for appropriation.”