N1.14bn SUVs to Niger shows where Buhari's patriotism lies - HURIWA

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari reads a document during the African Union summit at the palais des Congres in Niamey, on July 7, 2019. - Heads of state meet for an African Union (AU) two-day summit in Niger. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP)
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari reads a document during the African Union summit at the palais des Congres in Niamey, on July 7, 2019. - Heads of state meet for an African Union (AU) two-day summit in Niger. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP)

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, has questioned the patriotism of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), to Nigeria following his donation of 10 SUVs worth N1.15bn to the Republic of Niger.

In a statement signed on Thursday by HURIWA's National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group flayed the President over the gesture which it described as "actions that are pushing Nigeria towards destabilisation of constitutional democracy by anarchists."

The group said the action like many others is antithetical to the oaths of office sworn to by President Muhammadu Buhari because he has allowed his personal interest to undermine National interest.

Recall that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Wednesday, argued that Buhari has a responsibility to approve N1.15bn to purchase 10 Toyota Land Cruiser V8 vehicles for the Nigerien government “in the best interests of the country”.

The statement said, "A retired army colonel, Tony Nyiam, who worked with Buhari whilst in Army had also publicly revealed he is from the Niger Republic.

"Whilst justifying the construction of the $1.96 billion Kano-Maradi railway project which many condemned last year, Buhari had said the Fulanis in the Niger Republic are his brothers.

"Also, in June 2021, during an interview, Buhari revealed thus: “I have first cousins in Niger. There are Kanuris, there are Hausas, there are Fulanis in the Niger Republic.”

Reacting further, Onwubiko said, “The fresh donation of SUV vehicles to the Niger Republic where President Buhari has cousins is evidence of where his allegiance, patriotism and loyalty lie. Any wonder then that terrorists from the Niger Republic come into Nigeria in droves to kill, maim, destroy and cart away billions of cash as ransom back to develop the Niger Republic and the President does next to nothing.

“Buhari must clear his patriotism amidst allegations of helping to build up the Niger Republic whilst accusations of Niger's involvement in terrorism in North West heightens.

“It is condemnable that whilst Nigerians grapple with so many challenges including poverty, unemployment, terrorism, amongst others that need financial intervention, President Buhari finds his priority in the Niger Republic, even at a time when the Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike for over six months with students of tertiary institutions at home. And to think that ASUU’s demand is N1.1trn and Buhari splurged what would have been part of the money on the Niger Republic.

“The romance of the Niger Republic and Nigeria is more evident as President Mohammed Bazoum honoured the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawall, with a national award on security in the Niger Republic. What an irony!

“According to the United States Department of State, ‘Niger is the only country in the world with ISIS-affiliate presence on three borders.’”

The report states thus: “Niger Republic’s efforts to fight terrorism are constrained by budget shortfalls and continuing instability in Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, and the Lake Chad Basin. Terrorist groups active in Niger included ISIS in the Greater Sahara, Boko Haram, ISIS-WA, and JNIM.”

HURIWA warned that the government of President Buhari must be compelled to stop actions that are pushing Nigeria towards destabilisation of constitutional democracy by anarchists who may cash in on his doubtful patriotism to the Nigerian fatherland to cause a regime change which is absolutely non-permissible.

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