The Federal Government (FG) on Wednesday, August 3, 2023 confirmed and defended a N1.14 billion expenditure on luxury cars for the Republic of Niger.
Following the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed answered questions from reporters and verified the spending.
1st News reports that the purchase sparked outrage among Nigerians after it was revealed by investigative journalist, David Hundeyin on Wednesday.
However, the Finance Minister argued that while Nigerians have the right to question the justification for such a donation; President Muhammadu Buhari, who approved the purchase, also has the right to form his own opinions and take appropriate action.
The document released by the media influencer showed that the president approved the release of the fund on the 28th of February this year.
The contract to supply the 10 units of Toyota Land Cruisers was awarded to IFO Kaura Motors Nig. Limited.
But justifying the approval, Zainab noted that the President reserved the right to take decisions in the interest of Nigeria; insisting that “this was not the first time the country is providing such interventions to her neighbours.
“Let me just say that over time, Nigeria has had to support her 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 had 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.”
The FG added that “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… I cannot question the decision myself.
“I have said this is not the first time and that Nigeria as a country has provided intervention to our neighbours. It is in the best interest of Nigeria to do so.”