The recent lavish presents given by the Nigeria Government to Afghanistan and the Niger Republic have shocked Nigerians both at home and abroad, and for good reason.
The National Assembly’s failure to stop these unauthorized expenditures and force the president to defend his decision is more revolting, though.
This regrettable circumstance confirms a trend showing how unable the nation’s 109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives members are of managing and overseeing the national budget.
Considering the words of the great thinker Edmund Burke, who once said that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
The civil society views this tendency and its escalation early this month when the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of N1.145 billion for the purchase of ten luxury Toyota Land Cruiser V8 cars for the government of the Niger Republic.
The fact that many Nigerians have recently grown sluggish, divided by ethnic and sectarian attitudes, and weakened by widespread poverty caused by the political class and poor governance is also concerning.
People who dare to care about what happens in government and have taken it upon themselves to keep officials on their toes are branded as idle, lazy, and even saboteurs.
The citizens are too busy scraping by to have time for the government.
The self-defeating attitude of the legislators and many other citizens, who prefer to turn a blind eye instead of confronting the issues and demanding financial accountability from the government
Is not shared by all activists and civil society organizations, according to those who spoke with Saturday Vanguard.
They contend that the current administration’s construction of a $1.8 billion railway line to the city of Maradi in the Niger Republic, a nation dear to President Buhari
And the donation of $1 million four months ago to the Taliban-controlled government of Afghanistan reflect a culture of support for friends and proponents of extreme religious ideologies.
Dr. Zikirullahi Ibrahim, executive director of Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED)
Condemned the Federal Government’s propensity to play “Big Brother” with the country’s funds without following the proper procedures
And warned that the nation’s ailing economy may never recover unless the Buhari administration rids itself of this trait.
We are troubled by the Federal Government’s recent $1 million donation to the Taliban government in Afghanistan, he stated.
“That misguided donation disregarded the Taliban’s leadership, which includes militants who disrespect women, prevent women from attending school, and repeatedly violate Afghan civilians’ rights.
It is challenging to comprehend how the Buhari administration came to support the terrorist Taliban regime in Afghanistan with financial contributions.
In particular during these challenging times, “We firmly oppose this indiscriminate use of the nation’s wealth.
Such a gift shouldn’t come from a government that professes to be battling terrorism within its borders, he said, in addition to making little to no economic sense.
When two governors from the Niger Republic attended President Buhari’s re-election rally in Kano three years ago, many Nigerians expressed concern.
Even though the pre-independence Eastern rail network is still paralyzed, the Federal Government approved a $1,959,744,723.71 contract for a rail line that would connect Nigeria to the Niger Republic barely a year after President Buhari won the election.
An executive order to build a rail line to the Niger Republic was followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the meager importation into Nigeria of 15,000 barrels of petroleum daily from the French-speaking nation.
The oil importation agreement between Nigeria and the Niger Republic was signed after N81 billion reportedly went into the Kaduna, Warri, and Port Harcourt refineries without any return.
Unfortunately, no one has been detained for misleading the public and wasting such a huge number of money in the guise of restoring the nation’s oil refineries.
Comrade Deji Adeyanju, a human rights activist and leader of the pro-democracy group Concerned Nigerians, blasted the National Assembly for failing to uphold its constitutional duty to check the executive branch of government’s wasteful spending.
He urged citizens to be more concerned about the caliber of candidates running for federal legislative seats in 2023.
In an interview with Saturday Vanguard, he asserted that the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives played the ostrich in regards to the Federal Government’s wasteful expenditures on other sovereign states because they had been imposed as first among equals by the executive and the ruling party’s power brokers.
“It’s terrible that the President bought vehicles for the Niger Republic worth N1.145 billion when the ASUU is on strike.
“Nothing else in any way explains this; this is a caricature of the country in which we live.
The irony of the Federal Government donating $1 million to Afghanistan without appropriation “crowns it all, showing the degree of impunity in the nation.”
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