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Reps panel to probe faulty presidential aircraft

22nd May 2024

The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence has resolved to constitute a technical committee to address issues concerning the frequent malfunctioning of the presidential aircraft.

On Monday,  May 20, 2024, the committee met with the Commander of the Presidential Air fleet, Air Vice Marshal Olayinka Olusola, behind closed doors at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja to deliberate on the circumstances that resulted in the use of a chartered plane by President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima recently.

The President had in April flown in a chartered plane from The Netherlands to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend the World Economic Forum.

A fortnight ago, the vice president cancelled his trip to the United States where he was scheduled to represent the President at the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit as a result of a faulty aircraft.

Debating a motion of urgent public importance brought on the floor of the House by the Chairman, House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Ahmad Satomi, the lawmakers resolved to invite the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, and the commander of the presidential fleet to offer explanations on the status of the aircraft in the presidential fleet in view of the huge annual budgetary allocations for their maintenance.

During the debate, the Minority Whip, Ali Isa, had called on the President and the Vice President to consider travelling by road in order to ascertain the true state of road infrastructure across the country.

Briefing journalists after the executive session, Satomi said a technical committee would be set up to interface with the officials at the presidential air fleet to generate a resolution.

“The committee has engaged the commandant of the presidential air fleet, the NSA and a lot has been discussed. It is a very sensitive national security issue that has to do with our President. And looking at our role in the foreign policy position of Nigeria, this is not something that we will come out publicly and discuss. Nevertheless, a lot has been explained.

“The committee resolved to set up a small technical committee to interface with the NSA, commandant, and all the stakeholders within a short period of time to come up with a final resolution that will foster the best for Nigeria,  our President and the entire team of the presidential air fleet.

“So, I think for now the technical team will engage all the stakeholders in the presidential air fleet who have something to say. In the end, we will come up with a final resolution. But for now, we have not taken the decision. But we must have something that will represent Nigeria as a country.”

On whether the planes need to be fixed or replaced, the lawmaker said, “For now, we have not resolved on that.

“The entire presidential air fleet is okay for now. It is not the issue of either to repair or to think of getting new ones. All that we know is that as a country, our position in global policy — we need something that will represent our image because our pride will show how Nigeria is.

“So, we are yet to conclude or finalise but they have explained enough. Some of the incidents are just media propaganda. It is not what we expected or what we thought happened. It is something different.”

Sourcepunch

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