Nigeria Senate to Decide If Buhari Breached Constitution

(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian lawmakers asked a Senate panel to determine whether President Muhammadu Buhari breached the constitution when he agreed to buy 10 A-29 Super Tucano attack planes from the U.S. without consulting the National Assembly.

The judiciary committee must report back by May 2 “whether the circumstances justify the breach in any way,” Senate President Bukola Saraki was quoted as saying Thursday on the chamber’s official Twitter account.

In a letter to the Senate obtained by Bloomberg, Buhari said he gave “anticipatory approval” for $496 million to be withdrawn from one of the nation’s oil savings accounts and paid to the U.S. Treasury. He asked lawmakers to approve the inclusion of the amount in this year’s budget after it had already been paid to beat a deadline.

Buhari wants to use the aircraft, scheduled for delivery in 2020, in the fight against the militant group Boko Haram, which waged a violent campaign since 2009 to impose its version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of almost 200 million people.

Buhari, a 75-year-old retired army general, is running for re-election in February. His spokesman, Femi Adesina, declined to comment on the senate probe.

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