Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, has addressed public concerns regarding the allocation in the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation for a “Presidential Yacht.”
In a statement released recently, he emphasised that the term “Presidential Yacht” was used due to its high-level security features, but the vessel is, in fact, an Operational Naval boat equipped with specialized security gadgets intended for high-profile operational inspection rather than for the President’s personal use.
Onanuga clarified that the Naval boat had been ordered by the navy under the previous administration, and President Bola Tinubu’s administration inherited both assets and liabilities from past governments. The payment request for the boat was part of the committed obligations submitted by the office of the Chief of Naval Staff to the Ministry of Defence, and a total of N62 billion out of more than N200 billion in requests was approved by the President.
“President Tinubu is focused on securing our country and territorial waters. The Federal Government under his leadership is investing more resources to enhance greater economic output from our oil and gas, marine and blue economy,” Onanuga said.
Ali Ndume, the Chief Whip of the Senate, also addressed the issue during a review of the supplementary budget on Arise Television’s Morning show.
“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 for about N435, and now it is over N800,” Ndume said. “The Navy also clarified that it is not a new budget. And even the House of Representatives moved the budget to the Student loan. The deal for the yacht has been agreed, signed, and delivered but not paid for.”
The Borno Senator also mentioned that the Senate has since adjusted the payment to accommodate the fluctuating dollar rate, clarifying that the deal for the yacht had been agreed upon and delivered but not yet paid for.