The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Ali Ndume, on Friday, described as unnecessary and belated public outcry over the controversial presidential yacht because it had already been ordered and delivered to Nigeria.
Senator Ndume, however, said the only challenge was the payment for it that remained outstanding from the last administration of immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari
According to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator representing Borno South; “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.”
Senator Ndume, who was commenting on the Supplementary Budget review on Arise Television’s Morning Show on Friday, added; “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 per dollar.”
Also responding to queries on the N160 million Land Cruiser SUV purchase for each lawmaker in the National Assembly (NASS), the APC Senator said buying vehicles for official use was nothing new in government circles, even as he argued that the vehicle’s value was also affected by Naira’s volatility to dollar rate.
Maintaining that the vehicles are needed for the lawmakers to effectively perform official duties, Senator Ndume further defended the patronage of foreign vehicles, saying; “The reason why we did not choose Nigerian-made cars is because they don’t manufacture their vehicles, but they assemble them. I prefer Nigerian-made products, but the Nigerian car companies are only buying the vehicle parts and assembling them here.”
He said that resorting to the SUVs was because most roads were not motorable in the country, and these vehicles were the only ones that could help the lawmakers undertake their oversight functions without undue stress.