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No Yatch for Tinubu

Nigeria’s lower house of Parliament has rejected a government proposal to acquire a Ksh 907 Million presidential yacht for Head of State Bola Tinubu, diverting the funds instead to double the allocation for student loans.

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This decision came after widespread criticism of the extravagant expenditure in a nation grappling with an economic crisis.

Read also: HELB Loans to be Disbursed Next Week

Nigeria is currently facing economic challenges, with the National Bureau of Statistics reporting an annual inflation rate surge of 26.72 percent in September, primarily driven by a 30.64% increase in food inflation.

Ironically, President Tinubu had pledged to reduce extravagant government spending and ease the financial burdens of the Nigerian population when he assumed office in May.

Nigerian Head of State Bola Tinubu [PHOTO/COURTESY]
Nigerian Head of State Bola Tinubu [PHOTO/COURTESY]

The proposed Ksh 907 Million yacht purchase was part of a supplementary budget presented to the House, falling under the Nigerian Navy’s planned capital expenditure of approximately Ksh 8 Billion.

This allocation raised concerns among Nigerians, who questioned the appropriateness of such an expenditure in the midst of economic difficulties.

Human rights activists strongly criticized the proposal, arguing that it lacked sensibility while millions of Nigerians were living in extreme poverty.

Shehu Sani, a former lawmaker and human rights activist, aptly summarized the sentiment, saying, “the poor can’t be struggling for survival in a canoe while their leader is yachting.”

In response, President Tinubu’s spokesperson, Temitope Ajayi, clarified that the request for the yacht originated from the navy and was based on operational requirements.

Ajayi said, “From what I know, the request for a yacht, however it is named or couched in the budget is from the navy, and they must have operational reasons for why it is required.”

Abubakar Bichi, chairman of the influential House Committee on Appropriation, confirmed that lawmakers rejected the allocation for the presidential yacht, a move that reflects the public’s concerns and signals a shift towards prioritizing student welfare over luxuries.

In addition to the proposed yacht purchase, the budget earmarked $36 million for State House expenditure, including the acquisition of luxury vehicles and the construction of a presidential office complex. The government also planned to spend $15 million on the presidential air fleet.

This decision comes at a time when President Tinubu is facing mounting pressure due to rising living costs and a significant devaluation of Nigeria’s currency, the naira, against the dollar. In September, Nigeria’s annual inflation rate surged to 26.7%, as reported by official statistics.

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Advocacy groups, including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), have emphasized that the purchase of a presidential yacht cannot be justified when a staggering 137 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty.

They argue that this hardship intensified after President Tinubu abolished a fuel subsidy in his inaugural speech, leading to price hikes in fuel and essential commodities.

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