Civil society organisation:- Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has carpeted the Federal and Lagos State governments for attempted budgeting of five billion Naira for a presidential yacht and N18 million for Christmas chickens.
The Rights group also decried the lacklustre manner in which both the Presidency and the Senate handled the scandalous consequences of the attempt to spend a whooping sum of five billion to procure a presidential yacht.
According to HURIWA, the decision by President Tinubu to push for the procurement of the N5billion Yacht and the admission by a ranking Senator Mohammed Ndume that the Presidential Yacht was already in the possession of the Nigerian Navy even before the budgetary proposal was tabled, made the matter shady, suspicious and absolutely ludicrous.
HURIWA recalled that earlier this November, during a review of the supplementary budget, the Chief Whip of the Senate, Ali Ndume, clamed to have clarified the issue bordering on the controversial Presidential yacht said to be worth about N5 billion.
The group recalled that the All Progressives Congress Senator representing Borno South said the presidential yacht had been signed and delivered but not paid for before the public outcry, adding that the Senate had since added the required payment fee to the student loan budget.
Ndume said, “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 predicted to be about N435, and now it is over N800.
“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.”
On the part of the office of the President, the Presidency denied originating the idea but asserted that it was an idea by the Navy under the immediate past administration.
In a statement, the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, stated that the Rights group had waited for days to see if some characters in the last administration that authorised the delivery of the Yacht even before a legally permissible payment approval from Parliament has been made, but the group expressed shock that the central government has decided to let the matter slide.
“HURIWA is convinced that the decision on the Presidential Yacht has an incurably inherent corruption motive because the procurement process failed the test of transparency in such a way that it was never implemented in compliance with the 6 principles of public procurement under the extant procurement Act of 2007 which are accountability, fairness, reliability transparency, ethical standards and economy.
The Association called on the president to identify, arrest and prosecute government officials who authorised the acceptance of the Yacht worth N5 billion in which a part is to be paid in dollars, noting that the act was unconstitutional since Nigeria’s national currency is the Naira.
HURIWA also lambasted the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for reportedly approving the sums of N7.5 million to replace liquid fragrance in his office and N3 billion to purchase rechargeable fans for the office of his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
The Rights group quoting media report credited to Funsho Doherty, a chartered accountant and former governorship candidate in Lagos state, disclosed that other contracts purportedly awarded by the state’s Public Procurement Agency (PPA) in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2023 included approval of over N440 million for the purchase of a new Lexus LX 600 Bulletproof Sport Utility Vehicle for use in the pool of Office of Chief of Staff.
The office of the Chief of Staff also got N18.5 million for the supply and distribution of 2,000 Noiler chickens across the local government areas and wards in the state.
HURIWA condemned the Lagos state government for this profligacy of purchasing multimillion Naira chickens for politicians at a time a greater percentage of the good people of Lagos state are confronted by mass poverty given that the National Bureau of Statistics had said over 133 million Nigerian households are multidimensionally poor, just as the Rights group called the attempt by the federal government to spend N5 billion on a yacht and the Lagos state administration is spending N18 million for Christmas chickens and N2 billion on rechargeable fans, irresponsible, irrational, insensitive and absolutely outrageous.