Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno South, has disclosed that the controversial presidential yacht deal included in the supplementary budget has already been signed and delivered, though payment is pending.
The revelation comes in the midst of public outcry over the allocation of N5 billion for the purchase of the presidential yacht in the supplementary budget.
The Senate Chief Whip made this known during an interview with Arise Television on Friday.
He said, “The deal has been signed and delivered, but not paid, and that’s what brought the inclusion of the amount (N5 billion) in the supplementary budget.”
The controversial presidential yatch has been met with public outrage as Nigerians have criticized the plan as a waste of money on luxuries considering the economic situation in the country.
President Tinubu had tabled a supplementary budget in the National Assembly for approval, with the planned purchase of the yacht listed under the Nigerian Navy’s proposed capital expenditure of $53 million.
Meanwhile, the presidency has claimed the item named ‘Presidential Yacht, as found in the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, is not for Tinubu’s personal use.
The presidency said the naval boat bears such a classification “because of the high-level security features.”
“What was named as 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, said in a statement on Thursday.
The Presidency’s statement, titled “The facts on the Naval boat in the 2023 supplementary budget,” reads, “The Naval boat was ordered by the Navy under the previous administration.
“President Tinubu has consistently said that government is a continuum, as he inherited both the assets and liabilities of past administrations.
“The payment request for the boat was part of the committed obligation submitted by the office of the Chief of Naval Staff to the Ministry of Defense, the Presidency noted, adding that “the total of the submitted requests was in excess of N200 billion, out of which N62 billion was approved by the President.”