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HomeNationalReps panel recommends acquisition of new aircraft for Tinubu, Shettima

Reps panel recommends acquisition of new aircraft for Tinubu, Shettima

The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence has asked the federal government to purchase new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

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The committee’s recommendation is contained in a report released after its investigation into the status of the aircraft in the presidential air fleet.

“The committee is of the strong and informed opinion that, 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 the technical or operational inadequacy of the presidential air fleet, it is in the best interest of the country to procure two additional aircraft as recommended,” the report reads.

This will also prove to be most cost-efficient in the long run, apart from the added advantage of providing a suitable, comfortable, and safe carrier befitting of the status and responsibilities of the office of the president and vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In May, the House of Representatives mandated the committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation” into the aircraft in the presidential fleet to ascertain their airworthiness and technical status.

The house resolution was a sequel to a motion sponsored by Satomi Ahmed, chairman of the house committee.

There was a heated debate on the floor of the house when the motion was moved.

Some lawmakers suggested that the president should travel via commercial aircraft or by road.

Ahmed’s motion followed reports of faulty aircraft in the presidential air fleet, forcing the president to use a chartered plane from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia during his recent trip abroad.

Shettima had also canceled his trip to the United States due to a fault with his aircraft.

The vice-president was to represent Tinubu at the 2024 US-Africa business summit.

On May 20, the committee met with O. Oyesola, commandant of the presidential air fleet, over the matter.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Ahmed said the committee would set up a technical committee to interface with the officials at the presidential air fleet and come up with a resolution.

TheCable understands that the sub-committee, after engaging the presidential air fleet officials, recommended that new aircraft be purchased for Tinubu and Shettima.

The sub-committee’s recommendation was adopted by the committee.

According to the report seen by Gidipoint, the presidential fleet consists of six aircraft and six helicopters.

The aircraft include one Boeing 737 (19 years old, currently unserviceable and undergoing maintenance); one Gulfstream G550 (13 years old, in good condition), one Gulfstream GV (23 years old, unserviceable); two Falcon 7Xs (one serviceable, one unserviceable); and one Challenger CL605 (12 years old, serviceable).

The helicopter fleet includes two Agusta 139s (17 and 18 years old, both unserviceable) and four Agusta 189s (no information on their condition).

The report was signed by Ahmed and Makwe Eric, clerk of the committee.

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