The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed yesterday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the purchase and donation of vehicles, worth N1.4 billion to Niger Republic.
Recall that on Tuesday August 2, a journalist, David Hundeyin, released a document online indicating that the president approved the money for the contract awarded to IFO Kaura Motors Nig. Limited, to supply 10 units of Toyota Land Cruisers to Niger Republic.
He tweeted that he obtained a document from the Budget Office in Nigeria which showed that the President made the approval for the purchase of the vehicles.
Hundeyin also attached a picture of the document to validate the claim that Buhari approved the release of the money to a company, Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited, on February 28, 2022.
The document reads in part: “Being release of funds in the sum of N1,145,000,000 to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation IFO Kaura Motors Nig. Limited for supply of 10 numbers Toyota Land Cruiser V8 Vehicles to Republic of Nigeria vide Mr. President approval on page 83 dated 28/02/2022.”
Addressing journalists after Wednesday’s federal executive council meeting, Ahmed said the donation was to help Niger address its security concerns.
She said such donations by Nigeria to its neighbours were common.
“Nigerians have the right to ask questions, but also the president has the responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interest of the country and I cannot question the decision myself.
“Let me just say that, over time, Nigeria has had to support its neighbours, especially immediate neighbours, to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us.
“This is not the first time that Nigeria has supported Niger, Cameroon or Chad.
“The president makes an assessment as to what is required, based on the request of their Presidents and such requests are approved and the interventions provided is to enhance their capacity to protect their own territory as it relates to security, also to Nigeria.
“Nigerians have a right to ask questions, but also the President has a responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interests of the country. I cannot question that decision myself.
“I have said this is not the first time that Nigeria has provided intervention to our neighbors, following an assessment that it is in the best interest of Nigeria to do so,” she said.
The minister said she understood the concerns of Nigerians about the matter since it became public.