Reps to Create Committee for Faulty Presidential Aircraft

The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence has decided to form a technical committee to tackle the persistent malfunctions of the presidential aircraft.



On Monday, May 20, 2024, the committee held a closed-door meeting with Air Vice Marshal Olayinka Olusola, the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja.

The discussion focused on recent incidents where President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima had to resort to chartered planes due to the presidential aircraft’s issues.

In April, President Tinubu used a chartered plane to travel from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia for the World Economic Forum. More recently, Vice President Shettima canceled his trip to the United States, where he was supposed to represent the President at the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit, due to aircraft problems.

During the session, initiated by a motion of urgent public importance from Ahmad Satomi, the Chairman of the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, the lawmakers decided to summon the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, and the commander of the presidential fleet.

They are to provide explanations on the status of the aircraft, given the significant annual budget allocations for their maintenance.

Minority Whip Ali Isa suggested that the President and Vice President consider traveling by road to assess the condition of Nigeria’s road infrastructure.

After the executive session, Satomi briefed journalists, announcing the formation of a technical committee to engage with the presidential air fleet officials and develop a comprehensive resolution.

“The committee has engaged the commandant of the presidential air fleet, the NSA, and a lot has been discussed. It is a very sensitive national security issue that has to do with our President. And looking at our role in the foreign policy position of Nigeria, this is not something that we will come out publicly and discuss. Nevertheless, a lot has been explained.

“The committee resolved to set up a small technical committee to interface with the NSA, commandant, and all the stakeholders within a short period of time to come up with a final resolution that will foster the best for Nigeria, our President, and the entire team of the presidential air fleet.

“So, I think for now the technical team will engage all the stakeholders in the presidential air fleet who have something to say. In the end, we will come up with a final resolution. But for now, we have not taken the decision. But we must have something that will represent Nigeria as a country.”

When asked about whether the planes need repairs or replacement, Satomi said, “For now, we have not resolved on that.

“The entire presidential air fleet is okay for now. It is not the issue of either to repair or to think of getting new ones. All that we know is that as a country, our position in global policy — we need something that will represent our image because our pride will show how Nigeria is.

“So, we are yet to conclude or finalise but they have explained enough. Some of the incidents are just media propaganda. It is not what we expected or what we thought happened. It is something different.”

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