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Nigerian Lawmakers Push for New Presidential Aircraft Amid Economic Crisis, Sparking Public Outrage

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Nigeria Niger Tinubu

Amid Nigeria’s deepening economic crisis and widespread suffering among its citizens, lawmakers are pushing for the urgent purchase of new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima. This move has sparked criticism for its apparent disregard for the country’s pressing economic issues.

According to an exclusive report by Premium Times, the recommendation came from the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence after a technical subcommittee reviewed the status and airworthiness of the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF).

The report, signed by Committee Chairperson Ahmed Satomi and Clerk Makwe Eric, stated:

Considering the fragile structure of the Nigerian federation and recognising the dire consequences of any foreseen or unforeseen mishap that may arise as a result of technical/operational inadequacy of the Presidential Air Fleet, it is in the best interest of the country to procure two additional aircraft as recommended.

Currently, the presidential fleet comprises six aircraft, three of which are reportedly unserviceable, and six helicopters, two of which are unserviceable. The president’s Boeing 737 is under maintenance, while the vice president’s Gulfstream G550 is operational.

The committee argued that maintaining the aircraft is costly and leads to extended downtime, making acquiring new planes more cost-effective in the long run.

Premium Times quoted them as saying that the new aircraft would provide a “suitable, comfortable, and safe carrier befitting the status and responsibilities of the office of the president and vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

In the past, Former President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to reduce the number of planes in the fleet but did not follow through. Instead, fleet maintenance costs increased significantly between 2016 and 2020.

The recent recommendation, however, follows a motion moved by Mr. Satomi in March to investigate the breakdown of planes in the presidential fleet. The lawmakers used incidents where the president and vice president faced aircraft malfunctions to argue for the necessity of the new planes. After heated deliberations, the House’s Deputy Speaker, Ben Kalu, instructed Mr. Satomi to proceed with a committee investigation.

Adding to the public’s frustration, the federal government recently inaugurated a newly renovated official residence for Vice President Shettima in Abuja, costing N21 billion. President Tinubu defended this expense, calling it a symbol of respect for the office. Still, many see it as another example of the government’s disconnect from ordinary Nigerians’ hardships.

Read more: Rangers FC Stumble Against Shooting Stars In Ibadan, Ikorodu FC Three Others Promoted to NPFL

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