The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the National Assembly to commence impeachment processes against President Muhammadu Buhari for violating his oath of office by illegally withdrawing and spending $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without the constitutionally required legislative appropriation.
PDP made the charge in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan on Monday.
According to Mr Ologbondiyan, President Buhari is aware that his unilateral spending of $496 million (N151.374 billion) from the ECA, without recourse to the legislative approval of the National Assembly, is a gross violation of the laws and constitution of Nigerian and a direct affront to our statutory order as a democratic state.
The statement continues:
By this action, President Buhari has technically suspended the 1999 Constitution (as amended), plundered the inherent powers of the National Assembly as the principal institution of democratic rule, while re-enacting a sole administratorship in governance as if our nation is operating a military regime.
More disturbing is the revelation that President Buhari paid the $496 million for the purchase of military aircraft from the United States, ignoring allegations of overprice and issues concerning due process, just to achieve a political expediency of currying President Donald Trump’s support for his 2019 re-election bid.
The PDP states that President Buhari’s action amounts to a gross misconduct and betrayal of public trust because in the bid to push a personal agenda, he deliberately side-stepped statutory legislative scrutiny and acted in clear breach of section 80 (3) (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
While section 80 (3) states that “no moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation unless the issues of those moneys has been authorized by an act of the National Assembly”, section 80 (4) provides that “no moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the federation except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”
It is shocking that President Buhari, whose administration prides on claims of transparency and zero tolerance for corruption, elected on a platform that lay claims to the height of progressivism, who boasts of the highest standards of integrity, can mundanely resort to a violent abuse of our constitution just to suit a desperate passion of seeking re-election.
It would be recalled that following the public outcry over the announcement that President Buhari had unilaterally approved the withdrawal of $1 billion from the ECA, the Presidency, through his Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, on April 9, 2018, stated that no such approval has been made.
He added that the President would never act in breach of section 80 of the constitution; yet they were aware that payments have been made.
The resort to falsehood, deception and secrecy in the withdrawal from the ECA and the reported $469 million payment for the military aircraft raises very serious issues regarding the integrity of the Buhari Presidency.
While we have nothing against any effort to ensure adequate security in our land, we insist that such must be done within the ambits of due process of our laws and the constitution.
The PDP urges President Donald Trump, as the President of the world’s biggest democracy, to note that the $469 million paid for the purchase of military aircraft, forms part of proceed for illegal activities of our President, who has violated statutory provisions of our constitution to pursue a selfish agenda.
We therefore charge the National Assembly to investigate the whereabouts of the balance from the $1bn ECA fund and the purposes for which it has been taken, as well as save our democracy and constitutional order by invoking appropriate legislative processes against President Buhari for this violation, before it becomes too late.