Amidst speculations of a N1.14 billion donation to the Republic of Niger to aid in the acquisition of some operational vehicles, the Federal government on Wednesday justified the approval.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed confirmed the purchase while fielding questions from reporters, shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Following the outrage generated by the approval exposed by a popular social media influencer, David Hundeyin, on Wednesday, the minister argued that even though Nigerians have the right to question the rationale for such donation, President Muhammadu Buhari, who approved the purchase, also has the right to make his own assessment on situations and act accordingly.
The document released by the media influencer showed that the president approved the release of the fund on the 22nd 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 funds, Zanaib 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.
She 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 and 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”
Reports had emerged that the President approved about 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to the Republic of Niger but did not, however, specify the purpose for such approval.