Godswill Akpabio, President of the Senate, has said no amount of blackmail from fifth columnists will stop the red chamber from carrying out its lawful responsibilities to Nigerians and President Bola Tinubu, including getting the president new aircraft,ThisDay reports.

Akpabio stated this on Thursday at an emergency plenary session while reacting to comments by Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, who drew the attention of his colleagues to media reports on the plan to buy a brand new executive jet for Tinubu and the vice president, Kashim Shettima.

Akpabio’s reaction came as the Senate and House of Representatives, on Thursday, extended the implementation of the capital component of the 2023 budget till December31. 

Akpabio explained that he was not in the country when the news about him broke, and vowed to approve a new airplane for Tinubu, notwithstanding the current hunger in the land.

The senate president stated, “I was in Zanzibar attending to inter parliamentary union meetings when that information went out that the senate president said he would approve a brand new plane for the president, irrespective of whether they are suffering or no suffering. 

“There was never a time such a statement came from me because I’ve never had any correspondence to approve a plan or not approve a plan and I did not want to answer.

“But they went to generate it and then they went around as if I was saying that I did not care about the Nigerian people. I did not do this. 

“We care about the president. We care about the Nigerian people. We will approve things that will benefit the Nigerian people. We will approve things that would improve the living standard of the people. 

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“At the same time, we will also take cognizance of the duties of Mr.  President. If his vehicle is bad, we will repair the vehicle. If his plane is bad, we will approve money for the repair of the plane. So, that is not an issue. There is nothing before us. 

“The purveyors of the story know very well that maybe there is problem with the presidential fleet and that they will go to the parliament. 

“So they are now trying to do anticipated blackmail to tell us if they bring it, we will not look into it. I think that we should ignore them because of what we are doing here. 

“I bring the president’s correspondences to us this morning. There was nothing touching on plane or no plane, but I can tell you that when you hear stories such as the death of the Vice President of Malawi as a result of defective plane. You also hear news such as the death of the President of Iran as a result of defective aircraft. In fact, this time it was helicopter and all that. 

“We shouldn’t ever dream and allow such to be our portion. It wouldn’t be. The senate is very responsible. The National Assembly is very responsible. We will look into issues that will benefit the governance of the country, irrespective of anticipated blackmail 

“They know very well that something like that might come in future. And if it’s a necessity, the senate will be treat it, but there is nothing like that before us now.”

The upper and lower chambers, on Thursday, also extended the implementation of the capital component of the 2023 budget until December 31. 

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The senate also extended the implementation of the N2.17 trillion 2023 supplementary budget until December. 

Akpabio announced the extension of the appropriation bills during the emergency plenary after it was read for the first, second and third times and supported by a majority of the senators. 

The appropriation bills were separately considered at the senate committee on supply. 

The House of Representatives also considered and passed bills seeking to extend the implementation of the 2023 Appropriation Act and the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Act till December 2024. 

This was sequel to the passage into law of the 2023 Appropriation Act Amendment Bill 2024 and the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Act Amendment Bill 2024 by the House.

The executive arm of government presented the two bills via a letter transmitted from Tinubu, which was read on the floor of the House by Speaker, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen.

The bills were titled the 2023 Appropriation Amendment Bill, 2024, and the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Amendment Bill, 2024.

That would be the second time that the lawmakers will be extending implementation of the 2023 budget and its components since beginning of Tinubu’s administration. 

In March, the upper chamber extended implementation of the capital component of the 2023 budget and implementation of the N2.17 trillion 2023 supplementary budget until June.

With the development, the 2023 budget will be implemented for two years, despite the existence of the 2024 budget. 

It also means that the federal government was currently implementing two budgets, 2023 and 2024 Appropriation Acts. 

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