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Reps to summon NSA over state of presidential fleet

  The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Rep. Satomi Ahmed, Wednesday said his panel will summon the National…

 

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Rep. Satomi Ahmed, Wednesday said his panel will summon the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, to clarify the status of the presidential fleet.

He stated this while addressing journalists regarding his decision to withdraw his motion during Wednesday’s plenary session.

The budget for the Presidential Air Fleet falls under the Office of the National Security Adviser, with substantial annual appropriations from the National Assembly to maintain the fleet.

Rep. Satomi expressed concern about what he termed a national embarrassment regarding the state of the presidential fleet. He clarified that he withdrew the motion not because it lacked support but because he already possessed the authority to summon the NSA and the commandant of the Presidential Air Fleet, as outlined in the motion.

He cited recent incidents, such as Vice President Kashim Shettima encountering aircraft problems, leading to the use of commercial flights for official trips.

Rep. Satomi emphasised that Nigeria should have the capacity to maintain its aircraft, especially considering past achievements like Nigeria Airways.

During the plenary, Rep. Satomi highlighted the security risks posed by faulty aircraft in the presidential fleet, which sometimes necessitate the president and vice president to opt for commercial flights.

He referenced media reports detailing instances where official trips were disrupted due to technical faults in the presidential jet.

Other lawmakers weighed in on the matter, with Rep. Ali Isah suggesting that such investigations could also give leaders insight into the state of the country’s road infrastructure.

However, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu expressed concerns about exposing the president to potential dangers on long road trips.

House Minority Leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda, said leaders using commercial flights occasionally, similar to practices in other countries like Britain, should not be seen as a problem.

He lamented Nigeria’s lack of a national carrier, which could alleviate such embarrassments.

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