The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, has revealed that the controversial N5billion Presidential Yacht initially budgeted for in the 2023 Appropriation Budget, had been delivered to Nigeria in anticipation for payment even before it became a public knowledge.
Ndume made the revelation while speaking on the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Budget on AriseNews’ breakfast show, ‘The Morning Show’ on Friday.
The Borno South Senator said the presidential yacht had been signed and delivered but not paid for before the public outcry, however, adding that the Senate had since added the budgeted payment to the student loan budget instead.
“We queried the amount budgeted for the yacht, but it was signed for a dollar rate, and the new rate isn’t favourable. The budget was predicated on about N435 (to a Dollar), and now it is over N800.
“The Navy also clarified that it is not a new budget. And even the House of Representatives moved the budget to the Students loan. The deal for the yacht has been agreed, signed, and delivered but not paid for,” the lawmaker said.
Recall that the 2023 Supplementary Budget was passed into law by chambers of the National Assembly on Wednesday
It was earlier reported that Nigerians condemned a part of the expenditures proposed in the 2023 supplementary budget, which the President submitted to the National Assembly for approval, including a proposal to spend N5.095 billion on the presidential yacht.
But, reacting, the Presidency said the item named ‘Presidential Yacht’ as found in the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill was not for President Bola Tinubu’s personal use.
This was, as it said, the Naval boat bears such classification “because of the high-level security features.”
“What was named as a presidential yacht in the budget is an operational Naval boat with specialised security gadgets suitable for high profile operational inspection and not for the use of the President,” Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, explained in a statement on Thursday evening.