The House of Representatives has accused the Nigerian Navy of buying the controversial N5 billion presidential yacht captured in the 2023 supplementary budget without the approval of the National Assembly.
It was earlier reported that the Navy had confirmed the delivery of the presidential yacht, saying that the sailing boat had been in the country since June 2023.
In an interview with The Punch on Friday, the spokesman for the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, said the procurement was done during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the defunct presidential yacht, insisting it was for training.
But the Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, has denied knowledge of any budgetary allocation for the procurement of the presidential yacht.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on Saturday, the Plateau lawmaker stated that the Committee will investigate the infraction committed by the Navy.
He said: “Yes, I’m not aware of it.”
Gagdi, who expressed concern over the development, argued that there were no provisions in the approved budgetary provisions for the Nigerian Navy over the past four years.
The lawmaker stated that the procurement of the sailing boat is out of place, stressing that it must be provided for the 2023 budget.
He said: “It is, it must be provided for unless if it is a special intervention which we can oversight, even if it is a special intervention, we can oversight.”
While responding to a question on any other subheads provided for among the N62 billion supplementary budget proposed for the Nigerian Navy that he considered as unnecessary, Gagdi said the Navy has been treated unfairly.
He said: “Navy has been treated unjustly. If the Army has over N200 billion, the Air Force will have N112 billion, and the Navy will have only N62 billion. It means they didn’t consider the Navy as one of the Armed Forces agencies that protects the national assets.
“You want revenue, you don’t want crude oil theft, you don’t want piracy, you don’t want oil bunkering, instead of strengthening the Agency that is vested with the responsibility of defending the country by sea, in terms of our natural resources, you’re giving money to other sister Agencies beyond the Agency that’s is responsible for the economy prosperity of the nation.
“I don’t think that that supplementary budget is even fair to the Nigerian Navy, I can say that any day, any time.
“But I equally see that the presidential yacht in the budget is equally not supposed to be there.
“It can’t be provided for in the budget. There’s nothing wrong with the appearance of the budget, but again, if the Yacht is already been in our water.
“Who provided for the logistics, you paid for the yacht and the yacht was supplied. What is the arrangement with the Nigerian Navy? I don’t have answers to these until we investigate what is going on.”
When asked about the possible time to commence the investigation into the procurement of the presidential Yacht, he said: “I don’t want to be under pressure, I can’t say anything until I go back to the House, call Committee members, sit down and study the nature of things before we commence investigation.”