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Reps Panel Recommends Urgent Acquisition Of New Aircraft For Tinubu, Shettima

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The house of representatives committee on national security and intelligence has asked the federal government to purchase new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima should get new planes, according to a request made to the federal government by the House of Representatives committee on national security and intelligence.

The committee’s report, which was made public following its examination into the condition of the aircraft in the presidential air fleet, included its suggestion.

“The committee is of the strong and informed opinion that, considering the fragile structure of the Nigerian federation and recognising the dire consequences of any foreseen or unforeseen mishap that may arise as a result of the technical or operational inadequacy of the presidential air fleet, it is in the best interest of the country to procure two additional aircraft as recommended,” the report reads.

“This will also prove to be most cost-efficient in the long run, apart from the added advantage of providing a suitable, comfortable, and safe carrier befitting of the status and responsibilities of the office of the president and vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

In May, the house of representatives mandated the committee to conduct a “comprehensive investigation” into the aircraft in the presidential fleet to ascertain their airworthiness and technical status.

The house resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored by Satomi Ahmed, chairman of the house committee.

There was a heated debate on the floor of house when the motion was moved.

Some lawmakers suggested that the president should travel via commercial aircraft or by road.

Ahmed’s motion followed reports of faulty aircraft in the presidential air fleet, forcing the president to use a chartered plane from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia during his recent trip abroad.

Shettima had also cancelled his trip to the United States due to a fault with his aircraft.

The vice-president was to represent Tinubu at the 2024 US-Africa business summit.

On May 20, the committee met with O. Oyesola, commandant of the presidential air fleet, over the matter.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Ahmed said the committee would set up a technical committee to interface with the officials at the presidential air fleet and come up with a resolution.

It was gathered that the sub-committee, after engaging the presidential air fleet officials, recommended that new aircraft be purchased for Tinubu and Shettima.

The sub-committee’s recommendation was adopted by the committee.

According to the report, the presidential fleet consists of six aircraft and six helicopters.

The aircraft include one Boeing 737 (19 years old, currently unserviceable and undergoing maintenance); one Gulfstream G550 (13 years old, in good condition), one Gulfstream GV (23 years old, unserviceable); two Falcon 7Xs (one serviceable, one unserviceable); and one Challenger CL605 (12 years old, serviceable).

The helicopter fleet includes two Agusta 139s (17 and 18 years old, both unserviceable) and four Agusta 189s (no information on their condition).

The report was signed by Ahmed and Makwe Eric, clerk of the committee.

BIG STORY

MOHBAD: Late Singer’s Family Conducts Fresh Autopsy

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The family of late singer Mohbad (born Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba) has ordered a second toxicology test to uncover the truth behind his mysterious death on September 12.

Following his burial the next day, Mohbad’s body was exhumed on September 21 for an autopsy, which was conducted on the same day.

However, in May, it was revealed that the pathologist conducting the autopsy informed the coroner that Mohbad’s body had decomposed by the time the test was performed, potentially compromising the results.

The new toxicology test aims to provide clarity on the circumstances surrounding his death.

The pathologist also said the cause of the singer’s death could not be ascertained.

Mohbad’s autopsy result from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) showed that “no significant gross finding” could be attributed to the singer’s death.

The toxicology “revealed the positive finding of Diphenhydramine, an anti-histamine; however, this concentration was not in a fatal or lethal range”.

Last month, the Aloba family rejected the autopsy result while also demanding an independent post-mortem and toxicology test.

In a statement on Tuesday, Monisola Odumosu, a member of Aloba’s legal team, said a two-part autopsy is being conducted on Mohbad.

She disclosed that the first phase had been carried out last week while the second part involved “a toxicology and histology test”.

The lawyer added that the procedure was witnessed by Joseph Aloba, Mohbad’s father, and a pathologist representing Wunmi, the late singer’s wife.

“The second autopsy as requested by the Aloba family and ordered by the Magistrate of the Coroner Court, Ms. T.A. Shotobi, was conducted on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, 2024. This autopsy is a two-part exercise, with the first part now completed,” the statement reads in part.

“If the cause of death cannot be determined from this initial examination, the second part will proceed, involving a toxicology and histology test on the necessary samples already obtained.

“This comprehensive procedure, conducted last Friday, was witnessed only by Mr. Joseph Aloba, the forensic pathologist appointed by Mr. Joseph Aloba and his team, legal representatives of both Mr. Joseph Aloba and  a pathologist appointed by Wunmi Aloba to observe the procedure.”

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Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Now $37bn, Up By $2bn In 18 Days — CBN Governor Cardoso

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The country’s foreign exchange reserves have surged to $37.05 billion as of July 18 according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso announced this development during a press briefing on Tuesday, following the 296th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

The reserves experienced a significant boost, rising by $2.35 billion from $34.70 billion at the end of June to $37.05 billion in just 18 days.

“As of July 18, 2024, external reserves stood at US$37.05 billion, compared with US$34.70 billion as of June 2024. This represents 11 months of import cover for goods and services,” Cardoso said.

However, according to data published by CBN and seen by TheCable, Nigeria’s foreign reserves stood between $35.93 billion as of July 18, and $36.23 billion as of July 22, less than what Cardoso presented.

On July 18, CBN approved the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to eligible bureau de change (BDC) operators at N1,450 per dollar to meet the demand for invisible transactions.

Days after, CBN said foreign currencies worth $106.5 million were sold to authorised dealers.

CBN said the aim is to improve supply in the FX market in tandem with its price stability mandate.

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President Tinubu Signs South-East, North-West Development Commission Bills Into Law

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President Bola Tinubu has officially signed into law the South-East and North-West Development Commission bills.

The South-East Development Commission bill was sponsored by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, who represents the Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State.

After passing through the Senate and House of Representatives, the bill was transmitted to the President in June for his assent.

With the signing of the bill into law, the Commission will now receive funding to execute various projects in the South-East geopolitical zone.

The allocated funds will be used to address environmental challenges such as erosion, as well as reconstruct and rehabilitate roads in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, and Anambra states.

This move is expected to bring significant development and infrastructure improvements to the region.

In a statement issued by Levinus Nwabughiogu, his chief press secretary, Kalu expressed appreciation to the president for signing the bill into law.

The deputy speaker said the commission will “rehabilitate Igbo land” and foster unity among the people.

Tinubu also signed the north-west development commission bill into law.

Jibrin Barau, deputy senate president and sponsor of the bill, said the signing of the proposed legislation is a “testament” to Tinubu’s “commitment to addressing the challenges facing the north-west geopolitical zone and indeed all parts of the country”.

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