The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has demanded urged President Muhammadu Buhari to demand a refund of the N1.4billion given to the Niger Republic for the purchase of official vehicles.
SERAP made the demand on its verified Twitter handle on Wednesday.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed on Wednesday, confirmed and justified the federal government’s approval of N1.4billion for the supply of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser V8 vehicles to the Republic of Niger.
The minister said Nigeria has always been providing such interventions to neighbouring countries including Chad, Cameroon, and many others.
Ahmed explained that Buhari reserved the right to take decisions in the interest of the country and its citizens.
“Let me just say that over time, Nigeria has had to support its neighbours, especially the immediate neighbours, to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us. This is not the first time that Nigeria has assisted the Niger Republic, Cameroon or Chad.
“The President makes an assessment as to what is required based on the request of their Presidents. Such requests are approved and interventions are provided. It is to enhance their capacity to protect their countries, as it relates to security and also to Nigeria.”
Ahmed added, “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.
However, Nigerians have shown disapproval over this disbursement of funds amid the nation’s crises such as the nearly six-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Reacting to this, SERAP tweeted, “The Buhari administration must immediately ask Niger Republic authorities to refund the N1.4 billion approved for them to buy vehicles, and use the money to offset the funding for ASUU, so those poor children can go back to school”.