The row was over the ‘unconstitutional’ payment of $496 million to the United States Government by the Buhari administration for the much needed 12 Super Tucano fighter jets.
According to News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the rowdy session followed the reading of President Buhari’s letter to the House of Representatives, by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Members of the chambers of the National Assembly have been spoiling for a fight over the payment, which they contended was done in breach of the constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter
In the letter which caused rancour at the floor of the Lower chamber of the National Assembly on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari said his government had given anticipatory approval for the withdrawal of the said sum from the ECA and transferred it to the U.S. Treasury in February 2018 without recourse to the National Assembly.
The President said there is need to do so in order to meet the payment deadline.
“It would be recalled that, for a number of years, Nigeria had been in discussions with the United States Government for the purchase of Super Tucano Aircraft under a direct Government-to-Government arrangement.
“Recently, approval was finally granted by the United States Government, but with a deadline within which part payment must be made otherwise, the contract would lapse.
“In the expectation that the National Assembly would have no objection to the purchase of this highly specialized aircraft, which is critical to national security, I granted anticipatory approval for the release of US$496,374,470.00. This was paid directly to the treasury of the United States Government”.
- The Nigerian lower chamber witnessed a rowdy session on Thursday, April 24, 2018, over calls for impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari by a member of the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
Sale of 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons to Nigeria by the U.S.
The Pentagon last year August notified the U.S. Congress of the sale to Nigeria of the 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593 million, needed for the fight against the militant group, Boko Haram.
The package included thousands of bombs and rockets.
The sale was originally agreed by former President Barack Obama’s administration but was put off by the Obama administration after incidents including the Nigerian Air Force’s bombing of a refugee camp in January that killed 90 to 170 civilians.
But on 2 August, the deadlock was broken by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, when it announced that the sale would go ahead.
Super Tucano A-29
The Super Tucano A-29, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer. A second production line is in Florida, in a partnership between Embraer and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp of Sparks, Nevada.
The Super Tucano costs more than $10 million each and the price can go much higher depending on the configuration.
It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 engine.