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Reps explain why Tinubu, Shettima deserve new aircrafts urgently

Some lawmakers in House of Representatives have advised the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, purchase new aircrafts for President Bola Tinubu and his vice, Kashim Shettima.

This was contained in a report by the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence.

Politics Nigeria understands that the report was signed by the Committee’s chairperson, Ahmed Satomi, and clerk, Makwe Eric.

Some lawmakers say the document has since been forwarded to the presidency for action.

The advice was sequel to a hearing conducted by the technical subcommittee on the status and airworthiness of aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF).

“The Committee is of the strong and informed opinion that considering the fragile structure of the Nigerian federation and recognising the dire consequences of any foreseen or unforeseen mishap that may arise as a result of technical/operational inadequacy of the Presidential Air Fleet, it is in the best interest of the country to procure two additional aircraft as recommended,” the report read, according to Premium Times.

According to the report, the presidential fleet has six aircraft: one Boeing 737, a Gulfstream G550, a Gulfstream GV, two Falcon 7Xs, and a Challenger CL605. The committee said three of the aircraft were unserviceable as of the time it conducted its hearing.

In addition, the fleet has six helicopters: two Agusta 139s and four Agusta 189s. The committee, quoting the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Olayinka Oyesola, an Air Vice Marshal, said the two Agusta 139s are currently unserviceable.

The committee states that the president’s 19-year-old Boeing 737 is unserviceable and currently undergoing annual maintenance.

Conversely, the vice president’s 13-year-old Gulfstream G550 is in good condition.

Also, the Gulfstream GV is 23 years old and currently unserviceable. One of the Falcon 7Xs is serviceable, while the other is not.

The Challenger CL605 is 12 years old and serviceable. The Agusta 139 helicopters, classified as unserviceable, are 17 and 18 years old, respectively.

In its recommendations, the committee said the cost of maintaining aged aircraft is high, leading to longer aircraft downtime and higher fleet running costs.

The panel said buying new aircraft for the country’s top leaders is the best option.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to significantly reduce the number of planes in the fleet by selling off some of the aircraft. However, that did not happen.

Instead, the government reportedly increased the cost of running the fleet by 190 per cent between 2016 and 2020.

By 2022, the government stated it was spending between $1.5 million and $4.5 million on each plane’s maintenance.

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