Senate extends implementation of 2023 Appropriation/Supplementary Acts to December 31, 2024

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….says no request for new presidential plane, but will consider if it comes

By Haruna Salami

The Senate has extended implementation of the 2023 Appropriation Act and the 2023 Supplementary Act to December 31, 2024.

The upper chamber also said categorically that there was no request from President Bola Tinubu for approval to purchase a new plane for him, even though the parliament will consider such request if it comes.

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The National Assembly cut short its Sallah break which was billed to terminate on July 2 to resume on Thursday June 27 for the extension of the finance laws whose life was to terminate on June 30, 2024.

The Senate at Thursday plenary had only one item in its Order Paper “A Bill for an Act to Amend the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Act, to further extend its implementation to 31 OCTOBER, 2024 which passed First, Second, Third Readings and was passed same day.

The motion to that effect was moved by the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, (Ekiti Central).

After passing the extension of the 2023 Appropriation/Supplementary Acts, the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele brought the issue of request to buy plane for President Bola Tinubu.

Opeyemi Bamidele said “we are aware of insinuation in some sections of the media to the extent that the Senate President either has at one time said we had a request for purchase of a new plane for Mr. President. Akpabio clarified he didn’t say so. A section of the media said our executive session was to approve such a request.

“There is presence of 5th columnist and propagandists t7y67o destabilize the government and the parliament.

“I say categorically there has been no such request. If the request comes, it is not about Senate President alone, it is about 469 lawmakers, 360 in the House of Representatives and 109 in the Senate”.

In his remarks, Akpabio said there was no need to run the Senate by answering people on the social media because the social media is garbage in garbage out.

“I was in Zanzibar attending to Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) meetings when that information went out that the Senate President said he will approve a brand new plane for Mr. President irrespective of whether there is suffering or no suffering.

“There was never a time such a statement came from me because I have never had any correspondent from the presidency about such request to approve a plane or not to approve a plane. We care about the president and we care about the Nigerian people.

“If the President’s vehicle is bad, we will repair it. If his plane is bad, we will repair it. There is no big deal there .

“This is anticipatory blackmail. I think we should ignore them and focus on what we are doing here. I have read the president’s correspondences to us, there was nothing touching on plane or no plane.

“I can tell you that when we hear stories such as the death of the vice president of Malawi as a result of defective plane and then you hear stories such as the death of the President of Iran as a result of defective craft, this time it was a helicopter, we shouldn’t stay and allow that to be our portion. It won’t be. The National Assembly is very responsible. We will look into issues that will benefit the governance of the country irrespective of anticipatory blackmail.

“They know very well that something like that may come in future, and if it is a necessity the Senate will look into it, but there is nothing like that before us now”, Akpabio said.

After the plenary, the Senate spokesman, Senator Yemi Adaramodu, while briefing journalists covering the Senate said for the umpteenth time that there was no such request from the executive.

“The issue of aircraft has not come at all. We are waiting for the 2024 supplementary budget. If any issue is brought before us, we will look at it soon it’s importance and merit”.

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