The Nigerian Navy has halted the plan to procure a multi-billion Naira presidential yacht which has sparked widespread controversy.
The suspension of the presidential yacht, it was reliably gathered, followed the intervention by the Senate Committee Chairman on Navy, Senator Gbenga Daniel. Although President Bola Tinubu was not privy to the decision to buy the yacht which was listed under the Nigerian Navy’s proposed capital expenditure in the N2.1 trillion supplementary budget submitted to the National Assembly, authoritative sources revealed yesterday that the procurement plan has been shelved.
According to media reports, a sum of N5.09 billion was allocated for the yacht while N2.9 billion was earmarked for Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for the Presidential Villa. The reports added that a sum of N2.9 billion was proposed for the replacement of operational vehicles for the Presidency.
As the reports continued to generate angry reactions among Nigerians, this newspaper gathered on Thursday that the Senate promptly waded in to douse growing tension.
An impeccable source, who is familiar with the development but not authorised to speak to the media on the matter, confirmed that Senator Daniel actually met with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, to discuss the burning issue. The source stated that it was regrettable that the Presidential yacht, which is an operational boat with specialised security gadgets, was mired in controversy.
According to him, the equipment was ordered by the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The source, however, revealed that the yacht had been replaced with more critical equipment required to support operational efforts against oil theft, oil bunkering, and pipeline vandalism.
He said, “The yacht is an operational boat but with specialised security gadgets suitable for high profile operational inspection, not necessarily for Mr President.
“It was ordered by the previous administration and the equipment delivered though not yet paid for. It was part of the committed obligation submitted by the office of the Chief of Naval Staff to the Ministry of Defence, the total of the submitted requests was in excess of N200billion out which no more than N62billion was graciously approved by the President.
“At a meeting between Senator Gbenga Daniel, as the Chairman Senate Committee on Navy and the Chief of Naval Staff this morning, the priority list was reevaluated and the yacht has been replaced with more critical equipment required to further support operational efforts against oil theft, oil bunkering, and pipeline vandalism etc.”