On Wednesday, the Federal Government defended the payment of N1.
15 billion for the purchase of 10 SUVs for the Republic of Niger, stating that the action was taken to help the nation secure its territory for the benefit of Nigeria's security.
After the Federal Executive Council meeting, which was presided over by President Buhari, responding to inquiries from State House reporters, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Zainab Ahmed said that Nigeria had supported her neighbors before.
According to her, the President had an obligation to act "in the best interests of the country" when making such decisions.
According to a Sahara Reporters report from June, President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) gave the go-ahead for the purchase of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser V8 vehicles for the Nigerian government for N1.15 billion.
According to the document, which was obtained from the Ministry's website's 'appropriations' page, N1,145,000,000 was authorized for payment to Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited in July 2022 for the supply of the SUVs.
Not that Kaura Motors will also supply 25 operational vehicles to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission at the sum of N810.53m, as revealed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday.
It was also revealed that the President had okayed the disbursement in February 2022.
The news has sparked outrage amongst Nigerians who argue that funding a foreign entity should not be the government’s priority amid the 5-month ASUU as well as the harsh economic realities.
But speaking on Wednesday, the finance minister said Nigeria’s assistance to Niger is a way of securing its own territory.
She also noted that it is only one of several instances where Nigeria has supported her neighbors.
According to her, “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 aided Niger, Cameroon, or Chad, and the President makes an assessment as to what is needed, based on the presidents' requests, and such requests are approved. The interventions provided are to strengthen their ability to defend their own territory as it relates to Nigeria's security as well.
Nigerians have the right to ask questions, but the president also has a duty to determine what is best for the nation. And I cannot question that decision. "
As the nation of Niger celebrates its 62nd anniversary of independence in the capital city of Niamey, President Mohammed Bazoum has recognized six Nigerians.
Mohammad Badaru, the governor of Jigawa State, Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara State, Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu, the state chief of protocol, Lawan Kazaure, and Saiki Abba, the senior special assistant to the president on domestic matters, are among them.