The Nigerian Navy (NN) says the controversial presidential yacht is in its custody.
On Friday, Ali Ndume, chief whip of the senate, said the yacht had been delivered but not paid for.
Director of naval information Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan confirmed the development in a short interview with TheCable. According to him, the yacht was “ordered” under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and has since been delivered to Nigeria.
“That is correct, it is in Nigeria,” he said.
The federal government had planned to spend N5 billion for the purchase of a presidential yacht in the supplementary budget. The proposed sum was under the capital expenditure of the navy’s budget.
The budgetary allocation to the presidential yacht had elicited outcry from Nigerians, given the prevailing hardship in the country and calls to cut the cost of governance.
The senate and house of representatives passed the N2 trillion supplementary budget on Thursday, but reallocated the appropriation forthe yacht to the students’ loan programme.
Asked what will happen to the yacht now that the national assembly has rejected the line item, the naval spokesperson retorted: “Those are issues that are beyond us”.
“The crux of the matter is that it was ordered under the previous administration and it was delivered. It was approved but there was no cash backing,” he said.
“The navy is not using it at all. It was just delivered. Decisions will have to be taken at all levels. We are just awaiting instructions.”
Meanwhile, Yusuf Gagdi, chairman of the house of representatives committee on navy, said the navy will be investigated over the procurement of the yacht without parliamentary approval.
Gagdi, who was also the chairman of the committee on navy in the 9th assembly, said he was not aware of the delivery of the yacht to Nigeria.
“I am not aware — in the four years that I was the chairman of the committee navy, I was not aware,” he told TheCable on Saturday.
“My committee has expunged that (the appropriation) from the supplementary budget. It is no more in the supplementary budget.
“The house has asked the committee to investigate. Does navy procure a presidential yacht without payment and approval for it only for us to see it on the budget item?
“So we are going to find out what happened that the yacht was in the country without the provision for it. We are going to investigate.”