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No evidence Akpabio said Nigerian Senate ‘will approve plans’ for new presidential plane

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Claim: An X user claimed that the Nigerian Senate president Godswill Akpabio said they would approve plans to buy a new presidential plane despite hungry Nigerians. 

No evidence Akpabio said Nigerian Senate ‘will approve plans’ for new presidential plane

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In recent years, Nigerians have battled significant hardships, including poverty, insecurity, and a struggling economy. Against this backdrop, some comments by Nigeria’s political elites have been met with outrage, with some accusing the government of being insensitive and out of touch with the daily realities of Nigerians. 

Most recently, in June 2024, a House of Representatives committee urged the federal government to purchase new aircraft for the president and vice president. It said it was in the country’s interest to procure two additional aircraft, considering unforeseen mishaps that may arise due to the operational requirements of the Presidential Air Fleet. 

Prominent Nigerians and groups have since knocked the move to procure a new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and his deputy, Kashim Shettima, despite the downturn in the nation’s economy.

As these proposals continue to be debated in the public space, on June 22, 2024, an X user, Franklin Ekechukwu, posted a tweet claiming that the Nigerian Senate president said they would approve plans to buy a private jet for the president. The tweet reads: 

“We know Nigerians are hungry, but that will not stop us from approving a private jet for Mr. President. His life is more important now than ordinary citizens. We have to do that as fast as possible– Godswill Akpabio. What an arrogant, voluminous statement!”

As of June 26, 2024, the post had been viewed over 713,000 times, generating over 4,900 likes, 3,800 retweets, and 2,900 comments on the social media platform X.

It has also received reactions from users, who expressed outrage and disbelief. 

An X user, @addel_cares, wrote: “If he truly said that,  it shows that all Nigerians deserve this kind of leadership because such a man should not be occupying such an important position.”

While @mavisikpeme wrote, “Knowing how he talks, he definitely said this and more. May God help us.” 

Another user, @emrayiam, expressed disbelief and wrote: “Until there’s video evidence of him saying this, for now, I’ll not accept this is truly coming from him.”  

Having observed the various reactions and engagement generated by the post and its virality among other platform users, DUBAWA decided to fact-check it.

Verification

DUBAWA contacted Mr Franklin via his X account to request evidence for the claim made in his X post, but no response was received as of this publication.  

We also conducted a Google search to discover if there is any report on Mr Akpabio’s alleged statement that the Senate plans to buy a new presidential plane. Still, no credible news media platforms reported it. Instead, we discovered that during an interview with the press on June 24, 2024, Mr Akpabio said the rumours were the work of detractors. 

“I never said that. I was actually in Zanzibar, Tanzania. So this is the handiwork of propagandists and people who never see anything good in what we are doing. Just be rest assured, pray for the government, have patience, and be assured that the combination of Tinubu and Shettima will bring wealth and prosperity to all.” Mr Akpabio said.

Conclusion  

Despite Nigerian economic hardship, no evidence corroborates Mr Akpabio’s claim that the Senate would approve plans to buy a new presidential plane. Hence, the claim is false. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Diamond 88.5 FM Nigeria, to enrich the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

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