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Nigerian president undeterred by impeachment move

Posted by From AFR on 6/13/2002 6:35:48 AM | Views: 272 |

Nigerian president undeterred by impeachment move

LAGOS: Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo is undeterred by a move by parliament to commence impeachment proceedings against him for failing fully to implement the federal budget, an aide said on Wednesday.

The Nigerian Senate said last week it would start a debate on Wednesday over the possible impeachment of Obasanjo.

The upper house of parliament is accusing the president of breaching the 1999 constitution by not fully implementing past federal budgets.

But on Wednesday, the senators postponed by 24 hours proceedings on the impeachment move, reporters who covered Senate session said.

The deferment followed the declaration by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Idris Abubakar, that his report which he needed to tender before the session was not ready.

Abubakar, who sponsored the impeachment motion, said that he was still waiting for input from the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to complete the report.

The Senate then adjourned action on the matter till Thursday.

Earlier, a parliamentary aide to Obasanjo, Kassim Ibrahim-Imam, said in a statement here that Obasanjo, who is a on four-nation tour of Europe and Africa, was not worried by the impeachment move.

"I am not afraid of the probe because I have nothing to hide," Obasanjo was quoted as saying.

The senate last week passed a resolution to begin a debate on the implementation of the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 budgets to determine the areas that Obasanjo failed to fully implement.

"The debate will determine the transgressions, determine the implications of those transgressions on our nation and consider whether the only option available to correct the situation is by the process of impeachment," Abubakar said.

Abubakar said the debate is aimed at checking the president's penchant for ignoring parliament's advice on approved budgetary provisions.

Obasanjo, who came to power in May 1999, have clashed with parliament over the planned 1.3-trillion-naira (11.96-billion-euro / $11.22-billion) 2002 budget, which was approved by lawmakers in March.

The president said the implementation of the budget as approved by parliament would cripple the economy.

On Tuesday, an attempt by lawmakers loyal to the president to have the debate suspended was defeated on the floor of the senate.