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$1bn security cash: National Assembly’s approval required, say Reps

The $1 billion approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle insecurity in the country may require parliamentary seal before its release. Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Army, Hon. Rimande Shawulu, gave the indication yesterday in Abuja, in an interview with journalists. “When the president says he’s going to spend money, there’s a process that must be followed before the money is spent.

 

“So, I want you to understand that, it’s not as if money has gone out,” Shawulu said. Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan- Ali (rtd) had, shortly after a security meeting with President Buhari on Wednesday, told State House Correspondents, that the sum of $1 billion had been approved to fight crimes and criminality across the country. “I can inform you that of recent, our leader,President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1 billion,” Dan-Ali was quoted to have said.

 

Speaking on the sideline of the Second Procurement Awareness Seminar, organised by the Directorate of Procurement, Army Headquarters, where he was the Special Guest of Honour, Shawulu, who represented Donga/Ussa/ Takum/Special Area Constituency of Taraba State, said there were conditions precedent to the spending of funds from the Federation Account. According to him, until such procedures provided for in the constitution were followed, it could amount to an aberration. He said:

“The fact of the matter is that there are processes for money coming into the federation accounts and for the money being used.

 

“And the point too that we must note is that a lot of times, pronouncements are policy statements and the policy statements are not just executed, it’s not as if as at yesterday, when the announcement was made, the federation account was debited. No, it doesn’t happen that way.

 

“When the president says he’s going to spend money, there’s a process that is followed before the money is spent. So, I want you to understand that it’s not as if money has gone out. “However, if money has gone out without parliamentary approval, that’s a problem, it’s a very serious problem if money went out without parliamentary approval.”

 

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt- Gen. Tukur Buratai, yesterday underscored the importance the force attached to procurement processes. Buratai, who noted that the operational capacity of the Army depended heavily on availability of requisite equipment, hardware and highly-trained personnel, saying that the Army “has no doubt taken robust steps and emplaced policies in enhancing its procurement plans and processes with a view to meeting its overarching constitutional roles.” According to the Army Chief; “The security challenges facing our dear country manifest in the forms of terrorism, insurgency, separatist movements and banditry, among others.”

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