The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has urged the Niger Republic to refund the N1.14bn approved by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammdu Buhari(retd.), for the purchase of 10 SUVs.
SERAP made the demand while reacting to the development which triggered outrage from Nigerians who slammed the government for misplaced priority amid the spate of insecurity, economic challenges, and the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities strike due to the government's inability to meet its demands.
“The Buhari administration must immediately ask Niger Republic authorities to refund the N1.14 billion approved for them to buy vehicles, and use the money to offset the funding for ASUU, so those poor children can go back to school,” SERAP said.
After the leaked document exposed that the FG approved the sum of N1.14billion for the supply of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser V8 vehicles to the Republic of Niger, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said it was not the first time Nigeria is supporting her neighbours.
Reacting to questions from State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Buhari, Ahmed stated that other neighbouring countries have benefitted from Nigeria's support, including Cameroon and Chad.
She however stated that the President had a responsibility to make such decisions “in the best interests of the country”.
The minister added, “Let me just say that, over time, Nigeria has had to support its neighbours, especially immediate neighbours, to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us.
“This is not the first time that Nigeria has supported Niger, Cameroon or Chad, and the President makes an assessment as to what is required, based on the request of their president and such requests are approved and the interventions provided is to enhance their capacity to protect their own territory as it relates to security also to Nigeria.
“Nigerians have a right to ask questions, but also the President has a responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interests of the country. And I cannot question that decision.”