As Nigeria’s insecurity and economic challenges bite harder, STEPHEN ANGBULU examines how the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), prioritises international applause over local victories
On August 3, 2022, Nigerians were irked to their bones when it became public knowledge that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) splurged another N1.15bn to procure exotic SUVs for the government of Niger Republic. A report published in June by an online news outlet, Sahara Reporters, revealed that the Buhari-led regime approved N1.15bn to purchase 10 Toyota Land Cruiser V8 Sports Utility Vehicles for the Nigerien government.
The record which was sourced from the ‘appropriations’ page of the Federal Ministry of Finance’s website showed that in July 2022, N1,145,000,000 was approved for payment to Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited to supply the SUVs. It also revealed that the President okayed the disbursement since February 2022. In its defence, the Federal Government justified the purchase, saying the vehicles would enhance Niger’s capacity to maintain its territorial integrity.
Responding to queries from State House Correspondents on the issue, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, argued that Nigeria’s assistance to Niger was a way of securing its territory from terrorists. She explained that it was only one of several donations from the Federal Government to neighbouring countries.