Why Senate will approve purchase of new presidential jet for Tinubu – Akpabio

Senate President Godswill Akpabio has indicated that the Senate would approve funding for a new presidential jet if President Bola Tinubu submits such a request.

Speaking during a plenary session on Thursday, Akpabio clarified that no formal request for a presidential jet has been received from the President.

Akpabio’s comments came following a closed-door meeting with senators that lasted about an hour.

The Senate had reconvened for an emergency session, cutting short their recess which was scheduled to end on July 2, 2024.

The session was called to consider a bill to amend the 2023 supplementary appropriation act, extending its implementation to December 31, 2024, as requested by President Tinubu.

Addressing the Senate, Akpabio stated, “We will approve things that would improve the living standard of the people. At the same time, we will also take cognizance of the duties of the president. If his vehicle is bad, we will repair the vehicle. If his plane is bad, we will approve money for the repair of the plane. So that is not an issue. There is nothing before us. I don’t think you should worry about it.”

He underscored the importance of ensuring the President’s safety by maintaining or replacing defective vehicles and aircraft, citing instances where faulty planes led to the deaths of high-profile figures like the vice president of Malawi and the president of Iran.

Akpabio assured that the Senate and the National Assembly are responsible and will deliberate on any future requests for a presidential jet if necessary. He noted, “Irrespective of anticipatory blackmail, because those people know very well that something like that might come in the future. And if it’s a necessity, the Senate will look into it. But there is nothing like that before us now.”

Echoing Akpabio’s statements, Senate Leader Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) confirmed that no such request has been made by the President.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Yemi Adaramodu (APC, Ekiti South), reiterated this point to the press, stating, “What is not before the Senate, the Senate can’t deliberate on it. The issue of aircraft has never been deliberated on. So the issue of aircraft has never come up. If the issue comes up, we will consider it on its merit, we will debate it.”

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