Bailout: Buhari Didn’t Breach The Constitution – Ekiti NBA Chief

PMB-GOVSThe Chairman, Ikere Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Bunmi Olugbade has said President Muhammadu Buhari did not breach the laws of the land by giving financial aid to some states to pay workers’ salaries.
Olugbade, who is a former member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, in a telephone interview with reporters in Ado Ekiti on Monday, said the Constitution empowered the President to respond in time of emergency to the needs of Nigerians.
It would be recalled that a PDP member of the House of Representatives has gone to court to challenge Buhari’s financial bailout for states on the grounds that the action was unconstitutional.
But the lawyer described as mere misrepresentation of facts, the arguments in some quarters that the president breached the constitution by not deferring to the National Assembly to appropriate such money before ordering the payment of over N700 billion to the states.
Defending Buhari’s action, the NBA chief stated that Section 5(1) of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that, “the executive powers of the Federation shall be vested in the President. And Buhari enjoys this privilege because Nigeria is a federating state and operates presidential system.
“Under Section 13 of the 1999 Constitution, government of the federation has statutory objectives to carry out State policies. Sections 16 and 17 even state that the State shall protect the rights of the citizens.
“Section 16 ( 2 ) went further to say that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that the material resources are harnessed, managed and distributed for the common good of the citizens.
“So, the social responsibility of government also stated that government shall direct its policy to ensure provision for public assistance in deserving cases or other conditions of needs.
“The combined effects of all these provisions lent credence to the fact that President Buhari has not breached the Constitution. What he did was in the best interest of Nigeria and within the law”.
Olugbade added that Section 164 of the Constitution also empowered the Nigerian President to make grants to States to supplement their revenues subject to some terms and conditions, as described by the National Assembly.
“President Buhari can give financial bailouts to States, even without consulting the National Assembly. He has the right to act based on exigency of needs. He has the duty to ensure that Nigerians don’t suffer.
“Aside that, government can begin to run expenditure six months before the passage of the budget into law depending on the exigency of moment. All the president can do is to later present a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to take care of such expenditure”, he explained.