Niger Republic has denied receiving vehicles worth N1.15bn from the Nigerian government, stating that it has only received 5 vehicles from Governor Bello Matawalle (Zamfara-APC).
Earlier reports had stated that the Federal Government had budgeted the sum of N1.15bn for the purchase of vehicles for the Nigerian government.
In reaction to the uproar from Nigerians, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, defended the allocation, placing the buck at the desk of President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said, “Let me just say that, over time, Nigeria has had to support its neighbours, especially immediate neighbours, to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us.
“This is not the first time that Nigeria has supported Niger, Cameroon or Chad, and the President makes an assessment as to what is required, based on the request of their president and such requests are approved and the interventions provided is to enhance their capacity to protect their own territory as it relates to security also to Nigeria.
“Nigerians have a right to ask questions, but also the President has a responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interests of the country. And I cannot question that decision.”
But in a surprising turn of events, the Nigerien Minister of Defence, Alkassoum Indatou, denied the claim, stating that the West African nation received only 5 Toyota Hilux vans from the Zamfara state government, who made a donation to the Maradi region of the country.
Indatou said, “It is only the State of Zamfara which has given five vehicles to the Maradi region, four of which have already been received, it is not the federal government as the Minister of Finance of Nigeria Zainab Ahmed declared.
“The population of Zamfara who are on the border with Niger call more on the Nigerien soldiers who respond to the minute than even those of their own country,” he added.