• ‘It’s renewed attempt to loot funds’
• Why action is illegal, by lawyers
• Senate to debate matter next week
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday urged Nigerians to reject what it called “a renewed attempt by the presidency to loot $1billion from the national coffers to finance President Muhammadu Buhari’s interests in the All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention and the 2019 campaigns.”
Also, the party urged the National Assembly to commence appropriate legislative actions against President Buhari for alleged gross misconduct in unilaterally approving the release of the funds without allowing the application of a legislative instrument.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, PDP said its investigation revealed that “the presidency willfully sidestepped the National Assembly so as to avoid legislative scrutiny and accountability and pave the way for the diversion of the money for selfish partisan purposes.”
The opposition party alleged that the presidency and the APC had been plotting to loot the $I billion from the “heavily depleted” Excess Crude Account (ECA) since last year, using the guise of a fight against insurgency.
Also, religious leaders under the aegis of the United Christian Leaders Eagle Eye Forum (UCLEEF) faulted the decision to approve the $1 billion for the purchase of security equipment.
The National Chairman of the group, Pastor Aminchi Habu, who briefed reporters in Abuja alleged that the money would be diverted to the ruling APC to prosecute the 2019 general elections.
Some lawyers, including an Abuja-based lawyer, Abubakar Sani; Chijioke Okoli (SAN), Prof. Allswell Osini Muzan and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu (SAN), who spoke on the issue, described the action of President Buhari as unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the approval by President Buhari for the release of the $1 billion may generate serious debate by the Senate next week. A motion to that effect, it was learnt, is being prepared by some lawmakers from the APC and the opposition PDP.
Senate sources said a motion would point out the legal defects in Buhari’s action.