Buhari leaves for London, denies approving release of $1bn arms fund

President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria, yesterday evening, for London, the United Kingdom.
He left through Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport after the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where he declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019.

While in London, Buhari will hold discussions on Nigeria-British relations with Prime Minister, Theresa May, prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings scheduled for April 18 to 20.
Meanwhile,  Buhari has denied approving the release of $1 billion for the procurement of security equipment to fight Boko Haram in the North East.
The denial came one week after the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, told State House Correspondents that the president had approved the funds.
Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, told newsmen at the Presidential Villa, yesterday, that Buhari has not approved the release of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), to procure equipment to fight Boko Haram.
Senator Enang explained that the approval given to the Federal Government, by the National Economic Council (NEC), to spend $1 billion from the ECA is undergoing the normal legislative processes before the National Assembly.
The approval was given at the 83rd NEC chaired by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, had distanced himself from the request and subsequently dragged the federal government to court over the matter.
Enang said the release of such money could not have been approved by president Buhari, as reported, and stressed  that the president follows due process in the running of the affairs of the country.
“In response to several issues raised about the security fund sourced for at source, from the ECA, to combat security challenges in the country and the several misreadings attending same, may l state as follows: the said sum has not and cannot be approved for spending by Mr. President.
“In accordance with best practices, Mr. President, having received approval of the sum from the NEC, made up of all the governors, now had a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, among others, to collate the need of each of the services and the money available for appropriation; Mr. President and the meeting 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.

“This may be done, as usual, upon Mr. President consulting prior with the leadership of the National Assembly, through the Body of Principal Officers or the presiding officers of each chamber 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.
“In summary, the said sum can only be spent upon, and in the manner as shall be approved by the National Assembly, and assented to, in the Appropriation Act or Supplementary Appropriation Act.”
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