Buhari’s Impeachment, NASS And the Doctrine of Necessity
Nigeria News takes a look at the purchase of fighter jets by Federal Government and the questions by the NASS.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives may have got the opportunity to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari in his purchase of $496 million fighter jets from the United States Government without their approval.
The constitution expects Mr President to seek approval from the National Assembly before he could procure the jets. Recalled that the National Economic Council had approved $1 billion for security a few months ago of which $496 has been taken to procure the fighter jets.
As if the NASS was waiting for the president to act, the Senate and the House of Representatives described Buhari’s action as gross misconduct and an impeachable offence.
To Human Rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo, the president had not committed any offence but had acted under the doctrine of necessity to provide what the country needs so urgently at present.
Keyamo defends President Buhari’s approval for the purchase of the $496 Million fighter jets without Parliament’s approval.
As he put it, the National Economic Council is made up of all the governors in Nigeria. They agreed on how the money should be spent. He said that it is not all constitution infractions that would amount to gross misconduct that could lead to the impeachment of the president.
“There is what is called in law the doctrine of necessity. It is wide enough to accommodate all instances where the president may bypass constitutional provision. To compromise constitutional provision in order to achieve a greater.
To achieve something that will make the country survive. Something that ensures the security and survival of the country.
He explained that the doctrine of necessity should not be given a narrow interpretation to include only the overture of the constitution. It encompasses any infraction of the constitution done to achieve the greater goal.
The president acted under necessity and in this case, there is justification for what the president did because it is found under the doctrine of necessity.
Those airplanes, according to Keyamu were supposed to have been brought before now but due to the country’s bad record of human abuse, the United State government refused to sell it to Nigeria.
“We have been struggling to buy them since the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan. The airplane that is required in modern time to fight the insurgency. We don’t have access to that kind of airplane.
If you don’t know, United States denied Nigeria the opportunity to buy those airplanes under President Jonathan because they raised concern about the abuse of human rights. Their claim at that time was that the military had killed 8, 000 civilians,” Keyamu said.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP had kicked against the purchase, including public commentators who were of the views that funds allocated for security might be diverted to All Progressives Congress, APC campaign towards 2019 polls.
That was what happened during ex-president Goodluck Jonathan regime in which $2.1 billion arms fund was diverted to the political campaign to ensure the election of Jonathan.
The money, which was put in the care of the Office of National Security Adviser, headed by Col. Sambo Dasuki was allegedly squandered by the Peoples Democratic Party on 2015 election.