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Senate refutes proposing new presidential jets claim

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The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said on Tuesday, that the Senate had not approved the purchase of new presidential jets for the use of President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.

He described as malicious a report quoting him to have said the National Assembly would approve the purchase of new aircraft for the President and Vice President, irrespective of the harsh economic situation in the country.

The alleged report comes in the wake of the recommendation by the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence to buy new aircraft for the President and the Vice-President as the existing presidential jets are faulty and unsafe for use.

Last week, President Tinubu flew to South Africa for the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa in a private jet.

The Presidency justified the need to buy new presidential aircraft while reacting to the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, who described the plan as misplaced and insensitive.

In a swift reaction, the presidency described Obi’s comment as insensitive, wondering if he would rather have the life of the President jeopardised by flying faulty aircraft.

“Does he (Obi) want him (President Tinubu) to continue moving around in a rickety plane and die like the VP of Malawi and Iran President? Let him tell us. This is a basic thing any sane government will do. You can’t toy with your President’s welfare”, presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, said.

In a statement by his media aide, Jackson Udom, Akpabio denied that the National Assembly had approved the purchase of new aircraft for the President.

According to the statement, the Senate President disclosed this while speaking to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State, shortly after leading a delegation to pay a condolence visit to Senator Tahir Monguno over the death of his father.

He said, “I want to dispel the rumour that you are hearing that the Senate President said he would buy a new plane for the President and his Vice, irrespective of the fact that Nigerians are hungry or whatever.

“I never said that. I was actually in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is the handiwork of propagandists and fifth columnists, who never see anything good in what we are doing.

“Rest assured, pray for the government, have patience and be assured that the combination of Tinubu and Shettima will bring wealth and prosperity to all”, Akpabio said.

He expressed satisfaction with the security situation in Borno State and urged Nigerians to continue to pray for President Tinubu’s administration.

“I am happy to see that peace has returned to Borno, as a result of the hard work of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I want to tell the good people of Borno to continue to support the administration”, Akpabio said.

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