The Senator representing Edo South senatorial district, Mathew Urhoghide, has denied moving for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over the withdrawal of $496 million from the treasury for the purchase of Aircraft for the military without obtaining the necessary legislative approval.
The senator, while addressing journalists in Benin, said he did not call for the impeachment of the president, contrary to the reports in the media.
Rather, he said he called on the senate to evoke section 143 of the constitution which says: “The President or Vice-President may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.”
He explained that his intention was not to have the President removed, but to force him to do the right thing.
It will be recalled that some senators had on Thursday moved the motion for the impeachment of President Buhari for not getting approval from the National Assembly before ordering the withdrawal of $406m from the Excess Crude Account for the procurement of the fighter jets.
Uroghide who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts led the debate and the call to invoke the impeachment clause in the constitution against the president over the withdrawal of the fund.
While some, especially members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party lauded the Edo lawmaker over the impeachment call, others condemned him.
Supporters of the ruling All Progressive Congress engaged in free for all fights with PDP loyalists who had come to receive the Senator at Benin airport on Friday for daring to moot the idea of removing the president from office.
However, said his aim was to let President Buhari give reasons why he approved the withdrawal of the fund without going through the legislative process.
He explained, “The President had a good intention of buying the equipment but the procedure was wrong. And he too has accepted that it was wrong. We (lawmakers) swore to uphold the Constitution.
“An impeachment, if you check Section 143, is a long process. The first thing is you have to do an investigation and then correspondences will be entered into; the President has to be written by the President of the Senate, who is the chairman of the National Assembly.
“Then, of course, he (Buhari) too will reply and this has to go on for a long time. We have not reached this issue of an impeachment. Nobody on the floor of the Senate mentioned that the President should be impeached.”
He said, “So if the papers said that somebody said that the President should be impeached, it is out of ignorance. I am very proud to be a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Edo South senatorial district.
“As the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, all revenues and expenditure fall on my table. So, this is part of it. So, they (critics) should be proud that this is what it is. The Constitution is above every person. So, we have not reached the point of impeachment.”
“That was why the Senate President said that we should refer it to the judiciary, so that it would advise on what to do. So, an impeachment is not the first thing; if I come and even say that the President should be impeached, I am ignorant.
“Section 143 is a very long section. So, if you look at the processes, you will know that it will take a lot of actions. So, if I moved a motion that the President should be impeached, then I must be stupid.
“I only said, ‘Invoke Section 143’ so that processes will be followed; the President will still explain and the National Assembly will still have to do some enquiries.”