The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari on came under heavy criticism over the approval of N1, 145,000,000($2. 7M) for the purchase and supply of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to Niger Republic.
The revelation was made by an investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, who tweeted that he obtained a document from the Budget Office in Nigeria which showed that the President made the approval for the purchase of the vehicles to the neighbouring country.
Hundeyin also attached a picture of the document to validate the claim that the President approved the release of the money to a company, Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited, on February 28, 2022.
Defending the purchase of the vehicles, the Federal Government said that the move was to enable the country to safeguard its territory in the best interest of Nigeria’s security.
Fielding questions from journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said it was not the first time Nigeria was supporting her neighbours.
However, Nigerians had been criticising the Federal Government for disbursing funds to purchase the vehicles for another country amid other pressing needs, including the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the harsh economic realities in the country.
The only reward to Nigeria for its selfless support of Niger was the awards doled out to prominent Nigerians, including those in president Buhari’s cabinet. Six Nigerians, on Wednesday, received the Niger Republic’s highest civilian awards, the Order of Merit of Niger and Great Master of National Awards.
The award was for their roles in the promotion of better relations between Nigeria and the Niger Republic. Those awarded were the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; and the President of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabi’u; Governors Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.
Also awarded were Senior Special Assistant (Household and Domestic Affairs) to the President, Sarki Abba, and the State Chief of Protocol, Lawal Kazaure.
As controversy continues to trail the recent gesture by the Nigerian government amid the current hardship, it’s yet to be seen how the government will respond with a similar gesture in support of suffering Nigerians.