Defence Minister of Niger Republic, Alkassoum Ndatou.
Admin with Agency Reports / August 18, 2022
The Defence Minister of Niger Republic, Alkassoum Indatou has debunked the news of his country receiving 10 vehicles from the Federal Government of Nigeria, said to be valued at about N1.15 billion.
It will be recalled that investigative journalist, David Hundeyin had reported in a viral news that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, had approved the purchase of 10 exotic vehicles for Niger Republic, not minding the lingering ASUU strike that could do with such humongous donation to enable Nigerian universities to re-open.
Following the uproar that greeted the disclosure on why such “charity should begin abroad”, the Nigerian Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, in a public remark, affirmed Hundeyin’s report, saying that the money was approved to purchase the vehicles and that, it was President Buhari’s prerogative to do so.
However, in a report by This Day, Niger Republic Defence Minister Indatou rebutted the claim and said that they have only received five vehicles from Zamfara State which shares a border with their country. He said that the act was cooperative support mainly because the Nigerien forces use the vehicles for patrol and emergency response operations aimed at safeguarding the country’s territory and the border communities against terrorists.
Indatou, who spoke on behalf of the President of Niger Republic faulted Zainab’s claimed and reiterated that vehicle donations were only received from Zamfara State, Governor Bello Matawalle and they were five Toyota Hilux trucks.
According to him, “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,” said a translation of the French statement of a top Nigerien official.
The Defence Minister’s clarified the matter further saying, “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.”
As it stands now, the Federal Government will need to clear the air on the status of the controversial donation