– Former presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, has revealed why impeachment plot against President Buhari will fail
– Some members of NASS had last week called for impeachment process of Buhari over withdrawal of $496 million from the Excess Crude Account
– Abati, however, described the efforts as exercise in futility
Former media aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reuben Abati, has said that the move by the National Assembly to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari is an impossible mission.
Vanguard reports that Reuben Abati made this known in an article titled: ‘Buhari’s impeachment: Mission impossible’, saying that that the 1999 Constitution grants the President of Nigeria, enormous, if not excessive powers, but the framers of our Constitution did not extend such powers to cover indiscriminate spending of public funds.
NAIJ.com gathered that the combined effect of Sections 80 – 85 and Sections 162 is to provide checks and balances against the possibility of anyone no matter how highly placed spending public funds, in a manner other than has been provided by the Constitution, no matter how well-intentioned he or she may be.
The statement read in part: “The chairmen of the committees on public accounts in the National Assembly – Kingsley Chinda (House of Representatives, PDP Rivers, Obio/Akpor Constituency) and Mathew Urhoghide (Senate, PDP Edo south) – have both had cause to ask the respective Chambers of the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the withdrawal of $496 million from the Excess Crude Account, without prior approval of the National Assembly and/or appropriation.
“This has caused much partisan rowdiness in the National Assembly and an aborted clash between PDP supporters of Mathew Urhoghide and pro-Buhari APC stalwarts at the Benin Airport in Edo state.
“Impeachment is a serious and sensitive political process that could lead to the removal of the affected political leader from office. The primary issue is whether or not President Buhari has indeed committed any offence, any violation of the Constitution that should warrant his impeachment?
“What constitutes the ground for impeachment is defined in Section 143 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution as “gross misconduct” and further in Section 143 (11) as (a) “a grave violation or breach of this Constitution”, or “a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.”
“The first ground for impeachment is literal and unambiguous and it would only need to be proven. The main allegation for now is that the President caused to be spent a sum of $496 million without the National Assembly or appropriation. Section 80 of the Constitution dealing with “power and control” over public funds refers.
“Section 80(1) establishes a Consolidated Revenue Fund into which “all revenues or other moneys raised or received by the federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into, but the more relevant reference is Section 80(2) which states that: “No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by the Constitution or where the issue of those moneys has been authorized by an Appropriation Act, Supplementary Appropriation Act or an Act passed in pursuance of Section 81 of this Constitution.”
“In other words, the government is not allowed by the Constitution to spend any money that has not been duly appropriated for, or without due authorization. The inherent and oversight role of the National Assembly is clarified in Sections 80(3), 80(4) and Section 83 (1 -2).
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“Section 80(3) is clear enough: “No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation unless the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Act of the National Assembly.“ Section 80(4), for sheer emphasis it seems, reiterates the same point.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Charles Udo Udeogaranya, cautioned the National Assembly against commencing impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari following the rift generated by the over $496 million unapproved spending on 12 Tucano aircraft.
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