We will go straight to the point.
Many say Nigeria does not lead the world in anything but we want to say this: “That is not correct” (in former President Jonathan’s voice).
Nigeria currently lead many countries in the number of planes operated by the first family.
There are 10 planes in Buhari’s Presidential air fleet (PAF).
The last inventory of these fleets are: a Boeing Business Jet (737); a Gulfstream V-SP; a Gulfstream 550, two Falcon 7Xs; two Agusta139; two Augusta 101; and a HS 4000.
They are ten in number!
The combined estimated value of the PAF is about $400m dollars or (N126, billion official rates or N166 billion at black market rates).
As at 2014, cost of maintaining these aircrafts stood at N9 billion naira per annum.
If we factor in a greater than 100% price hike in commodities, then the total cost of maintaining President Buhari’s air planes will be about N20 billion naira!
Let’s put that figure in perspective. Some months ago, President Buhari launched a social intervention program.
According to the President, that program will create 500,000 teaching, 100,000 artisans, and feed 5.5 million children.
The cost of that project is N500 billion naira.
If we express the figures above in ratios, then we readily begin to see that the cost of maintaining Buhari’s fleet of planes is about 4% of Buhari’s social intervention program.
In other words, that amount can provide 20,000 jobs, 4000 artisans and could feed 220,000 thousand children.
So here are some quick questions: what do Nigerians need 10 fleet planes for?
Under the current economic reality, is it humane to fly in 10 planes while more than 200,000 Nigerian children go hungry?
The PAF is the third largest fleet of aircraft in the country.
According to findings, the PAF has a total of 10 aircraft, coming closely behind Aero Contractors Airlines, which has a total of 14 aircraft.
Arik Air, the largest commercial airline in the country, has a fleet of 23 aircraft.
Why not sell off some these planes and keep at most three. Here is our suggestion: Keep the Boeing 737, the Gulfstream 550 and one Agusta139 helicopter.
Japan, the world’s third wealthiest country, maintains only two Boeing 747-400 planes in its Presidential Air Fleet.
Netherlands government operates only two aircraft, one Fokker 70 and one Gulfstream IV.
The wealthiest OPEC member, Saudi Arabia, operates a Boeing 747-300 and a Boeing 747-400. ‘Just two planes!
The PAF has more planes than United Kingdom, Vatican, Norway, Canada and a host other countries.
In the spirit of recession, cost cutting measures and economic austerity, can we sell off some of these toys and use the proceeds to feed the hunger ravaged North-East?
We are begging!